Lot 485: 1952 Vincent 998cc Rapide
Ever since the Series A’s arrival in 1937, the Vincent v-twin has been synonymous with design innovation, engineering excellence and superlative high performance. From Rollie Free’s capture of the ‘world’s fastest production motorcycle’ record in 1948 on a tuned Series-B Black Shadow to the final fully enclosed Black Knight and Black Prince, Philip Vincent’s stress on appearance and performance is legendary. His machines bristled with innovative features: adjustable brake pedal, footrests, seat height and gear-change lever. The finish was to a very high standard commensurate with the cost of the machine, which was virtually double that of any of its contemporaries. But above all else it was the v-twin’s stupendous performance that captivated motorcyclists, whether they could afford one or not. With a top speed approaching 120mph, and bettering it in the Black Shadow’s case, the Vincent v-twin was the fastest road vehicle of its day.
Upgraded for modern road use by Ron Kemp of Vin Parts, this Rapide underwent a complete engine rebuild in 2003. Modifications carried out included fitting an electric starter, 12-volt alternator, Boyer Bransden electronic ignition, BMW switchgear, large capacity battery, indicators, Mikuni carburettors, ‘lead free’ cylinder head conversion, twin front disc brakes, Works Performance suspension units, Akront alloy wheel rims and left-foot gearchange. All the original parts are included in the sale enabling the machine to be returned to standard, including touring mudguards, Black Shadow speedometer and Amal carburettors.
The machine was originally exported to Singapore and in the 1960s returned to the UK where it was used until the 1990s. It was then exported to Germany and came back to the UK in 1999. The machine is offered with restoration invoices, old-style logbook, Vincent Owners Club dating certificate and Swansea V5 registration document.
Bonhams, Classic & Motorcycle Mechanics Show, Stafford
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