Until the late 1950’s a motorcycle was considered large, or Senior if it had 500cc. This has obviously changed now that many wouldn’t consider it a Motorcycle unless it has 1000+ cc on tap. But even when 500cc was huge, this 500cc 1951 Vincent Comet was considered the baby when compared to its twin cylinder brother, the Rapide/Black Shadow/Lightning. Being the lesser of two doesn’t mean it is less by most standards.
From the seller
….Begun in February, 1951, and completed in March of the same year. All numbers match. I bought this bike in England in the early 90’s, rode it for some time, and decided on a complete rebuild when I discovered metal flakes in my oil. I figured that, as the engine had to be out and rebuilt, why not do the whole thing? The whole thing took 13 years! During that time I meticulously collected NOS pieces from Ron Kemp (true, because I hauled tons of stuff home, including the SS silencer and down pipe, from his barn in Wales), the VOC, and a few odds and ends from private sellers. Here’s just how nuts I was in getting this bike restored to better than new:
Developed for Vincent by Phil Irving in 1935, the Comet was very much like the twin cylinder Rapids of the era. The engine design was unique in that the valves used an upper and lower valve guide to insure compliance while moving up and down. The OHV engine itself was a stress member of the Back-bone style frame. Oil was kept in the top tube which connected the steering head, the engine and the pivot point to the special rear suspended sub frame. The front end was controlled by a hybrid girder, hydraulic system called Girdraulic.
More from the seller
1. All of the nuts, bolts, fasteners, adjusters and end caps on the bike are now stainless steel. No rust.
2. The mudguards, exhaust pipe and silencer are also stainless steel. No rust.
3. All support pieces to the frame have been powder coated, as well as the Girdraulic fork blades.
4. All mudguard stays, headlamp supports, foot posts, the headlamp itself, license tag mount, petrol tank, chain guard, and original Craven carrier have been blasted and painted. Tank has correct decals for the time of manufacture.
5. The Altette horn was researched and finally purchased from Taff the Horn, and is the correct horn for the month of manufacture (3/51). Completely restored.
6. New seat, tool tray, shock spring tubes, brake drums, brake pads, dust excluders, all cables, springs, and chain and sprocket. All dampers (fork and seat) are new.
7. Speedometer refurbished by Nisonger and painted with new chrome bezel.
8. Engine blasted and honed. New piston/rings/valves/ and hardened valve seats. Bottom end redone, as well. All bearings on the bike replaced.
9. All electrical components either new or (dynamo) rebuilt.
10. New hand-striped wheel rims/stainless spokes/new Avon tires fore and aft.
11. All chrome hardware polished to show quality or re-chromed.
12. New British license plates–this is the original tag number–LYU645.
Like the larger Rapide, a sporty Grey Flash was derived from the single cylinder Comet. In a special Grey color this sporty single was the starter bike to some well known GP racers. Considered small when compared to the Vincent Twin, the Comet is nothing to sneeze at. If you want to get into a Vincent, it might be half the bike, but I would guess that the price this 1951 Vincent Comet fetches is not going to be that big a discount from what the twins will fetch. BB