Reader’s Ride: Very Original 1950 Vincent Black Shadow for Sale
The very name “Vincent Black Shadow” is mythic, evocative. Even if you’ve never actually seen a Vincent, you’ll probably picture one pretty accurately just from hearing the name. Vincent twins are handsome beasts, in either Black Shadow or Rapide guise. Big, but athletic. Sporty, but relaxed about it, they have a timeless quality about them that’s especially shocking when you consider that this particular machine was built in 1950! Looking at other machines of the era, with rigid frames, pre-unit construction, and tank-shifted, three-speed boxes, you’d be forgiven for thinking this bike was from the late 1960’s.
Series B and C bikes didn’t even have a traditional frame, with the steering head bolted directly to the front cylinder and the rear suspension mounted to the gearbox, something not done on a production motorcycle until Ducati’s Panigale. I’m not counting the Britten V1000 as a “production motorcycle…”
From the original eBay listing: 1950 Vincent Black Shadow for Sale
This motorcycle is a very nice 1950 Vincent Black Shadow. I’ve owned it for about 11 years, and believe it to be very original including the paint. I’ve ridden it a little over 3,000 miles during that time including at number of VOC and other vintage meets in the Western US and Canada. While it has been very carefully mechanically maintained, I have done everything I can to keep it cosmetically as original as possible…
…As you can see from the pics, the bike has a few period upgrades including OEM vented racing front brake plates, a period Koni front shock absorber (rebuilt), a Dave Hills “Tread Down” center stand and a very nice original Craven rack and panniers (see the pic of the panniers off the bike). The front fork springs have also been replaced with a set of Vincent Works springs when I rebuilt the front fork a few years ago. It also comes with the factory tool kit (Jenbro spanners, etc. – see pics) and a Britton air pump (in need of rebuild). The bike still retains its original paint and decals on the gas tank, Dunlop wheel rims, and frame/subframe.
Bidding is up over $70,000 and the reserve has not been met.
The external bits appear worn, and some even have surface rust. But the seller has kept the important bits in tip-top shape and the patina is intentional. It is, as they say, “only new once…” and this machine looks to be about as unmolested as you’d ever want. I’ve certainly seen some beautiful Vincents, but this might be the most original. And while perfectly restored machines may be prettier, all original machines, with some blemishes and faded paint, have an undeniable appeal to collectors.