Rarer Than Rare: 1955 Vincent Black Prince Project

1955 Vincent Black Prince Project Engine 1

Ironically, while the styling of the Vincent Rapide and Black Shadow v-twins is now considered iconic, by 1954 it was starting to look dated to buyers of the period. So an update was needed to stimulate interest. Already one of the fastest bikes on the road, the Black Prince that followed was purely a functional and stylistic upgrade to the already stunningly advanced machine.

1955 Vincent Black Prince Project Bodywork 3

The design brief was “four-wheeled Bentley” and changes were made that would, theoretically at least, allow owners to ride their bikes to work in their natty three-piece suits.

How very John Steed.

1955 Vincent Black Prince Project Bodywork 2

To this end, a small fairing and leg shields were added, along with a conveniently hinged rear cowling that enclosed the rear wheel. A new center stand could be actuated by the rider while still on the bike, improving practicality. Top speed was down slightly from the leaner Rapide, but the bike otherwise performed like a Vincent.

1955 Vincent Black Prince Project Bodywork 1

Built between 1954 and 1955, the bike was not particularly successful, although this has made the bike correspondingly rare and increased values above that of even the famous Black Shadow…

This particular example comes in kit form, with some assembly required. Once finished, it should look something like this:


From the original eBay listing: 1955 Vincent Black Prince Project for Sale

The motorcycle has undergone a complete Mike Parti engine rebuild and many other items are completed and ready for assembly. The motorcycle is a recent restoration project that the owner lost interest in bike and wantes to move it along in it’s current condition and state of affairs. 

The Prince is an all numbers matching motorcycle with the VOC documentation as well as an earlier British registration booklet. I also sent off all information to the leading authority on the D Series bikes in the UK and he has also authenticated the bike as well as sending us some past history on it. This bike was actually the eighth motorcycle built in 1955 and the fourth Black Prince off of the line. 

This bike was sent over to the US about twelve years ago all in one piece needing a full restoration. As mentioned, the motor just came out of Mike Parti’s shop and is completely done at the tune of $16k invested to make it right. The frame sections are restored as well as a number of sub components such as newly painted forks and the like. The wheels are restored and relaced new with stainless steel spokes. The fiberglass body components are in very good to excellent shape. They have not been painted as of yet. Since the work has been halted, I am now offering it up for sale in its current condition or it can be completed by us on a time and material basis contracted separate from the auction sale. 

With regard to the price of the bike, I see no down side at the reserve set, it is a very good deal especially when you compare it to the shoddy basket case Prince that recently sold at the Bonhams auction in the UK for $157k USD.

The listing also includes a comprehensive list of the included parts and their condition.

Bidding is active and up to $29,000 with two days left on the auction. Considering much of the heavy lifting appears to have been done, this could be a great opportunity for someone to get a serious investment at a relative bargain.


1955 Vincent Black Prince Project Engine 2


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3 Responses

  1. Jess says:

    “Built between 1954 and 1955, the bike was not particularly successful, although this has made the bike correspondingly rare and increased values above that of even the famous Black Shadow…” Isn’t the thinking of collectors amazing. Because this Vincent was a marketing flop it is rare because nobody wanted one back in the day. Due to its relative rarity in the Vincent world, today it is worth more than a Black Shadow!? I would be considered a neophite in the collector world as I would rather have the less rare Black Shadow. Look through ebay’s motorcycle offerings and there are a number of bikes in all price ranges where the seller is claiming said motorcycle is valuable today because of its rarity. Actually it is rare because it was a P.O.S. nobody wanted to buy when it was introduced. Heh, Heh.

  2. Jess says:

    Continuing with my rant. Two prime examples are the Triumph TSS and TSX. Today some people consider them valuable because they are rare. Back in ’83 Triumph couldn’t give them away because there were much, much better offerings from other manufacturers at lower selling prices.

  3. tad says:

    Agree completely. So many of the machines I post up here that command big-dollars were long-in-the-tooth dinosaurs being propped up with new bodywork and superficial changes to help stave off looming financial disaster at the hands of faster, more reliable machines from Japan. At the time, they were obsolete. Now? They’re rare and collectable.

    Me? I’d actually prefer a nice Rapide to the Prince or the Shadow. But I’d also be fine owning a V7 Sport or SFC replica as long as they felt authentic to ride, so what do I know?