Category: Vincent

1951 HRD Vincent Rapide C


The 1951 HRD Vincent Rapide C may have been confused with another H D motorcycle manufacture a long while ago, today, it is what it is, and both seller and buyers know what it is. Maybe that is why the seller uses so few words.


From the seller.

Approximate 55 horsepower with a top speed in excess of 100 mph. This very nice example is a numbers matching motorcycle with some personal cosmetic liberties taken such as polished front forks and other components. A very beautiful motorcycle that would be the center of attention at any show or rally. Selling with a clear title.


The Vincent is a Vincent for a reason. Its name invokes awe, envy, praise, and much more. With a design using, ahead of its time, cantilevered rear suspension the Vincent does deserve its praise. The engine suspended from the back-bone frame. Rocker arm actuating the valves from above and below valve guides. And have you heard the one about a plumber and the Vincent. Head on over and take a look at lots of pictures of a 1951 Vincent Rapide C. Oh, and there is this 1955 Vincent D available from the same seller. BB




1955 Vincent engine in Norton Featherbed frame

During the history of motorcycles and motorcyclist, there have always been those that want to make it better. Some times those people actually work in the motorcycle industry. But some times those people work in their own shed. Some of the great motorcycles to come out of the Shed are the Britten, which tragically was as short lived as its designer. There is also the Triton, which are continued to be made. This 1955 Vincent engine has found its way into a Norton Featherbed frame, and you have the beginnings of the NorVin.


From the seller.

This is the beginnings of a Norvin. The frame is a slimline Norton, the forks are Ceriani, the front brake is a 2 leading Norton, the rear is also Norton. The gas tank is a fiberglass one, as is the seat base. Mountings need to be fabricated for the tank and seat. The engine cases are empty apart from an alternator in the primary case, included is a complete Vincent clutch, engine sprocket, and triple row primary chain. also a spare inner primary case and a spare outer timing case. The crankcase halves are a matching pair id stamp is DB10. Apart from the items listed, what you see is what you get. I can do pick up only, I do not have facilities to crate. Sold as is on a bill of sale. No title or registration. $500 deposit required within 24hrs


Now this is not for the faint of heart, or those lacking the skills, tools, or money to finish up this project. What you have here is just the start, the outline of a bike which takes the heart of a Vincent, and the skeleton of the Norton to make something great. Something of legend, something rarely seen. And did you notice that the heart is empty?


The Vincent engine was produced by a pair of Phil’s; Phillip Vincent who’s name is on the tank as the owner of the company, and Phil Irving who’s mind is in the design. The Norton Slimline Featherbed frame was designed by a pair of McCandless brothers from Ireland, who offered up their design as a way to keep Norton relative. The maker of the Manx OHV single cylinder engine, needed a skeleton to keep the power and the bike on the road. The brothers McCandless were able to do both well enough that even the out-dated engine design continues to win.


What is up for sale is a 1955 Vincent and a Norton Slimline frame. But when you finish putting the heart of the Phil’s into the skeleton of the McCandless you will have yourself a NorVin. There will be many more hours and many more dollars needed, but every journey starts with one step. BB

1953 Vincent Rapide

What can be said about the 1953 Vincent Rapide that hasn’t been said? To many people, not only is this the ultimate vintage motorcycle, but the ultimate motorcycle. Yes, it’s not the mythical Black Shadow, and defiantly not the Lightning, but the Rapide is the base line for those two, and not a bad baseline at that.


Pictures sell, not words

1953 Vincent Rapide

Item comes from an estate sale and has been in long term indoor storage for several years.  Show quality restoration completed in 1971. 

$T2eC16R,!ygE9s7HJFs6BQ+Ws8,gMg~~60_12 $(KGrHqF,!lEFDwl5wbzwBQ+W1OHv!!~~60_12 $(KGrHqN,!o8FC1ufpqsWBQ+W64vQzw~~60_12 $(KGrHqR,!i4FCsmhpe!4BQ+W1Ed8-w~~60_12 $(KGrHqR,!q4FDm3rluK3BQ+W0sNEJ!~~60_12 $(KGrHqR,!rYFDe!iwhSeBQ+WtM!GU!~~60_12 $(KGrHqV,!hcFDebvhBg(BQ+W0qn55g~~60_12 $(KGrHqZ,!pgFCp)nq0)MBQ+WsvkOww~~60_12 $(KGrHqZ,!pQFD8e95s+hBQ+W6)h6T!~~60_12 $(KGrHqZ,!qoFDk0+SpffBQ+W1!3W+!~~60_12



The seller used very few word because its assumed that everyone knows whats up for sale. As any vintage motorcyclest know there are hundreds of questions to ask before buying. But in the case of the Vincent Rapide, no mater what the seller’s answers, if you have the means you will buy the bike.

When Vincent’s come up for sale, you know a few things. Lots of people with look, few will buy and the price paid will be high. Like the previous owner, there is a good chance that the next owner will not ride, let alone start this bike. The Vincent use to be the ultimate tool to get down the road, and make fools of anyone who tried to keep up. Now a 1953 Vincent Rapide like this is a work of art, to be displayed safely in-side with neither oil nor gas to ruin the bike. There are people out there that ride their Vincents, and ride them for many miles. But like many expensive things, it is getting hard to rationalized taking the beautiful bikes out on the road were they could get damaged. The Vincent has become and investment, and not a motorcycle. BB

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!


1951 Vincent Comet

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

Instant Vincent collection, just add cash.

We have shown collections for sale before here on CSBFS, but nothing as specific, and valuable. Offered up right now on eBay is a collection of 3 Vincent motorcycles, one each of the single, standard and racer. With 18 bids so far and the reserve on at $118,000 this will be an interesting auction to watch, if it goes to the final day as the seller warns that they are for sale locally and auction may end soon.

From the seller







The Comet is the single cylinder and the oldest of the three. Only 500cc the single was the starting point in which the Rapid and Black Shadow took off from. Designed by the two Phil’s at Vincent, owner Phil Vincent and designer Phil Irving the Comet used the engine as a structuall member, and the Vincent designed rear swing arm assembly pivoted and sprung from under the seat. The seller wonders about the red colored shocks and hits that this might be one of the rare Chinese Red Vincents that were offered for a very short period.

 Next up is the oldest of the three is the 1954 Rapid. This “touring” model was still a fast bike for its time. The 998cc could generate 45bhp and was offered from 1948 until the company closed its doors, and you would be able to tour at a comfortable 110mph top speed . The engine like the Comet were are part of the structure of the motorcycle and the 50 degree cylinders were hung from the oil carrying backbone.


 The final of the three might be the most desirable, with the Black Shadow offered as the factory prepared Sports model which was still street legal. The Black Lightening was one step beyond the Shadow, but did not come with lights. The shadow had the same 998cc engine, but with bigger and better tuning would turn out 55bhp and 125mph top speed. To think that this power and these speeds were offered by a British company to British riders for narrow roadways is surprising. We here in America have the wide open spaces and long flat highways were this power is really suited.

I am not able to distinguish the Rapid from the Shadow, and the seller is letting the pictures and name sell these bikes, so if you can point out which is which let us know in the comments. I would be surprised if this auction goes to the end, but if you, or you and your two friends are serious, call them up, fly out and see if you can make them and offer.  BB

1952 Vincent Comet

The name Vincent moves motorcycle people, but for many of them it only means 1000cc v-twins. But before there was the Vincent Rapids and Black Shadows, there were Meteors and Comets. This 1957 Vincent Comet is available over on, and even though it is only 500cc, its still a Vincent, and its still has that style.

Howard Raymond Davies was the owner of the company that would become Vincent HRD Co Ltd until 1928 when he had to release his company to receivership. When another motorcycle manufacture purchased the company for its manufacturing facilities, Phil Vincent got the name HRD and added his own to take the company to the next level. Having designed and patented his own cantilever rear suspension system, the motorcycle that became the legend only needed a second Phil to bring the engine.

From the Seller



When Phil Irving joined the company in 1931 he brought with him a design idea that would become the Vincent engine. He started out with a single cylinder engine with a unique double valve guide head which used a forked rocker arm between an upper and lower valve guide. He placed this in a frame which used the engine as a stress member, and put the oil in the large back bone under the tank. The 500cc engine would produce 28hp at 5800rpm and was produced from 1935 until 1955. They would come in the basic Meteor, the sporty Comet, and if you wanted to go racing you could order the Grey Flash with its race tuned engine.

The single cylinder may have come first but will always be the “also ran” in the Vincent line up, but just because they have half the volume doesn’t mean that they are half the bikes. They are still Vincent’s, and personally I am leaning more towards the Comet for my imaginary garage and will put my imaginary bid in here on BB

New York Vintage Motorcycle Show

As an inveterate car and bike geek, maybe the single most difficult thing for me when I moved from Los Angeles to the East Coast was getting used to the lack of easy-access to weird and wonderful car-culture.  I mean, it’s here, but you have to work way harder to find it.

On any weekend in LA, you can drive around and see 1960’s Ferraris parallel-parked with the meter running down in Hollywood, Porsche Carrera GT’s slipping like beads of mercury along the Pacific Coast Highway, Vincent Black Knights and Bimota V-Due’s ticking as they cool at the Rock Store next to a race-prepped 1961 SWB Ferrari 250 that’s been relegated to parking in the dirt.  If you don’t see anything worth seeing on the road, you can just swing by The Garage Company, with its showroom full of well-used classics and a back lot full of works-in-progress, the walls covered with shelves and glass cases full of random bike parts, vintage helmets and racing posters.

The Wednesday-night Ducati bike night in Venice was full of characters of all ages and styles.  They had diverse backgrounds and jobs, strafed the canyons on weekends, and loved to talk about their bikes: modding bikes, riding bikes, bench-racing…  We had a couple of 916 Superbikes, Monsters of all years, the occasional Aprilia RSV, a Kawasaki Z1000 (later traded for a Speed Triple), an old 860GT painted all tricolore-y, and a 1980’s Honda Magna ridden by a guy whose Monster 800 was waiting for a new crank.

I went to a few bike nights in Central Jersey when I got back to the East Coast, looking for the same sort of vibe, the same sort of enthusiasm, a sense of history, but was sorely disappointed. While burnouts, wheelies, neon lighting kits, and chrome spikes screwed into perfectly nice sportbike fairings are amusing distractions, that sort of laughing-at-you thing gets old pretty fast.  And dangerous.

I filed conversations like, “We just got back from a group ride for my buddy’s funeral.  Good guy, but maybe he shouldn’ta run from the cops on that stolen R1.” And, “Yeah, the cops threw down a spike-strip, but I wheelied over it” away for later retelling to my friends.  I worked with a guy who rode his nearly brakeless, battered Yamaha R6 in flip-flops, claiming that wearing protective gear made you more likely to crash: “If you think you might crash, you will crash,” sort of an inversion of my “hope for the best, plan for the worst” philosophy.  I met a bunch of nice guys at those bike-nights, but none I wanted to ride with.

Then I nearly got clipped by some TapOut tank-top, shorts, and cross-trainer wearing jackass blasting through the parking lot and I started thinking, “Maybe this isn’t my scene.”

Which was followed quickly by, “Where hell is my scene, anyway?”

Brooklyn, it turns out.

I managed to trip over a flyer for the New York Vintage Motorcycle Show at the end of the first summer I moved east and have made it a point to show up every year since.  It reminds me that there are people who ride that don’t worship the latest and greatest plastic-bodied road missiles or the most globe-trottingist techno-tourers or pointless, chrome-encrusted cruisers, people who ride even though they don’t have a ton of money and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, rewiring a rattle-can 1970’s Honda twin in the street with a grungy printout of a Haynes Manual they found on the internet.

The photos below don’t include year and model information, since I generally didn’t make good notes.  Or any notes.  Most of the images are from this year, but I threw in a couple from last year as well.

Really nice Yamaha ‘tracker and a Honda CB350 racebike.







Salty old guy on a BMW and a very unconventional two-stroke mongrel that featured on some cafe TV show or other…







Below, we’ve got the world’s least comfortable BMW (yeah, he really rides it like that) and a Yamaha bobber.











Suzuki RG500 two-stroke and a Triumph chopper.







BMW racing sidecar rig and a trio of small-displacement Italians.







A cafe Honda with a very polished tank and a gorgeous custom Triumph chopper.













Vincent twin and a vintage beer-cozy.







Another Triumph and a very cool, very loud Yamaha one-lunger cafe.







Very nice Enfield Bullet and an MV Agusta single.











Nice, clean bobber and a couple guys looking at a very home-brewed cafe.











They run this thing rain or shine in late August: it poured last year, but the turnout wasn’t much different than the previous year.  It happens at the end of August and I recommend it: the vibe is casual and run-what-you-brung.  There’s music, performance art, beer, and a roast pig.  Moto-gear and tchotchke vendors.  Lots of tattoos, skinny jeans, and hipster Grizzly Adams beards.  Gorgeous restorations, ratbikes, and well-used classics ridden in from New York, Pennsylvania, Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

If you’re within two hundred miles of Brooklyn, you should put it in your schedule for next year.


1948 Vincent Rapide For Sale

Vincents are really the ne plus ultra of vintage sportbikes: dark and sinister in an age of bright colors, the bikes were mysterious, extremely rare, and dangerous.  Vincents are surrounded by a mystique few other machines can match, with a reputation for engineering excellence, raw speed, and sometimes lethal handling.






Phil C Vincent began the company in the 1920’s, buying the name of the defunct HRD [founded by Howard Raymond Davies] marque to start Vincent HRD Co, Ltd.

Vincent used established engines in his proprietary swing arm frames, but eventually the company designed its own engine, a 500cc single known as the Meteor or Comet, depending on the state of tune.

The story goes that Phil Irving, one of Vincent’s talented engineers, saw two sets of blueprints for the company’s Meteor single on top of each other, overlapping, and this inspired his design for the company’s v-twin motor.  Released in 1936 The motor in the Series A used a 47.5 degree angle between the cylinders to fit it into the company’s existing frame, but this was later changed to 50 degrees when the nearly frameless Series B was introduced.






They were extremely advanced for the time and incorporated many features found on modern machines.  Really, you have to look at something like one of Britten’s V1000 racers to find a bike that incorporated so many innovative design components in a single machine.

The 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, unusually for the time, foot-operated, with a pedal adjustable for different riders.  That foot pedal operated 4 speeds when contemporaries generally had 3 or fewer.

All 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.







Phil Vincent disliked the flexing that especially plagued the telescopic forks of the day and developed his version of the girder front fork.  Unfortunately, his “Girdaulic” suspension, while innovative, may have lead to the bike’s dangerous predilection for “tank-slappers”, due to the limited damping devices available at the time.

In spite of the suspension’s limitations, he may have been on to something: modern designers still struggle with the limitations of the telescopic fork.  John Britten, Bimota (Tesi), and Yamaha (GTS 1000) have all tried, with varying degrees of success, to find new alternatives to the proven but flawed design.

The Rapide and Black Shadow produced 45 and 55 hp, respectively and the bikes weighed in at about 450 pounds giving a power-to-weight ratio that allows them to keep up with modern traffic.







The bike being offered here is a Rapide, not the higher-performance Black Shadow.

1948 Vincent Rapide

From the seller:

Michael Parti rebuilt and balanced this #670 engine and runs faster and smoother than a Black Shadow, front tire had to be replaced by an Avon, original tire was rotten, rear is original Dunlop.
original Birmabrite fenders, Burgess muffler,rebuilt alternator by certified Lucas mechanic, Miller fluted 8 inch,original tailight w logo, original amp meter, whiskey dent tank unrestored, original wiring
original rims, original front rear 276 carbs jetted to 180 and ferrule hoses etc…….

The original ad doesn’t contain much information, and seems to assume lookie loos are familiar with the bike.  I’d assume you don’t get too many tire-kickers when you’re selling a $54,000 motorcycle.

That’s where the starting bid sits currently.