1954 Vincent Black Shadow Model “C” For Sale

The Vincent Black Shadow is a bike of mythic reputation, the sort of machine that even non-bike people have probably heard of, although they couldn’t necessarily tell you what one looked like.  They are innovative, powerful, purposeful, and above all, rare: it’s amazing to me that eBay actually has a “Vincent” category, they come up for sale so infrequently.

Phil C Vincent began Vincent HRD Co., Ltd in the 1920’s, and the first Vincents used JAP and Rudge-Python engines in proprietary swing-arm frames.  Eventually the company designed its own engine, a 500cc single and this was later siamesed into the 50-degree, 998cc V-Twin found in the bike featured here.

1954 Vincent Black Shadow Model “C” For Sale.

Unusually, sales of the famous Black Shadow actually far-eclipsed production of the lower-spec Rapide on which it was based.  The evocative name was inspired by the bike’s sinister looks: in contrast to the bright and shiny style of the time, the bikes swathed in black from head to toe, including the crank case and engine covers, although a few [approximately 15] were made as White Shadows and painted to match the Rapide.

It’s difficult to explain how shockingly advanced these bikes were when introduced, incorporating innovations that would not be adopted industry-wide for decades to come.  The Series B and C bikes lacked a traditional frame, with the steering head bolted directly to the front cylinder and the rear suspension mounted to the gearbox.  The gearbox was foot-operated, with a pedal adjustable for different riders that operated 4 speeds when contemporary bikes generally had 3 or fewer.  Vincents used a cantilever rear suspension when most bikes of the era had no rear suspension at all and were some of the first to use “unit construction,” with the engine and gearbox sharing a single casting.

From the seller:

1954 Vincent Black Shadow C model all original sold new in Los Angeles Ca engine number F10AB/1B/9697,3 owner bike.the first owner passed away in1979 his wife then sold to the 2nd and last owner who kept it in his garage sold once and bought it back, only thing touch on bike was front wheel and tire,which was repaired due to a flat. the Vincent was the the fastest bike of it’s era, Rollie Free set the world record at 150 mph wearing just a bathing suit.very rare bike, and this is one of the last one’s built and still in all it’s original condition

The original ad is pretty spare and contains very minimal information about this specific bike.  Current bid is just north of $72,000 with the Reserve Not Met.  Not sure how high this will go, but these bikes are some of the most collectible motorcycles ever produced.  Given it’s history and “all-original” condition, this may be more of a showpiece than a rider.  But what a showpiece!

-tad

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