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Lot 371: 1952 Vincent 499cc Comet

Sale of Collectors' Motorcycles, Bonhams & Butterfields (12 November 2005)

Effectively a Rapide v-twin minus its rear cylinder, the Series C Vincent Comet built from 1949 to 1954 offered the same degree of refinement as its bigger brother, albeit with reduced performance. Even so, the Comet combined a 90mph potential with excellent fuel economy, and was the ideal touring mount for the discerning rider who placed civility of manners and quality of construction above outright performance. Unlike in pre-war days, when the first Series A v-twin had been created by - in effect - combining two of the existing singles, post-WW2 Vincent’s approach was reversed, with the Series B twin appearing first, in 1946 and the equivalent single, the Meteor, in 1948. When the range was upgraded to Series C specification in late 1949, the single-cylinder model was renamed ‘Comet’. Apart from its Burman gearbox and ‘missing’ cylinder, the Comet followed Series C twin lines, featuring the newly introduced Vincent Girdraulic forks and hydraulic dampers at front and rear. An expensive machine to produce, the single-cylinder Vincent did not sell as well as its maker had hoped, and the Comet was dropped when the Series D range was introduced for 1954.

Vincent works records show that this matching-numbers Comet was despatched new to a Mr. Lawrence in Bristol, England in June 1952. Reported as ‘complete’, the machine was in running condition before its magneto failed, and has recently been fitted with an overhauled unit to restore it to good health.

Lot Details
Auction Sale of Collectors' Motorcycles
Bonhams & Butterfields, Petersen Museum, Los Angeles, CA
TypeMotorcycle
Lot Number371
Estimate$10000-$15000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$16500
Hammer Price (inc premium)$18975
Year1952
Condition rating
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number
Engine numberF5AB/2A/9407
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors