Tagged: Rapide

Improving Upon Perfection: 1967 Vincent Egli Vincent 1000 for Sale

1967 Egli Vincent R Front

Today’s 1967 Egli Vincent is a very rare machine, with just 200 ever built. In the 1960s, motorcycle frame design was still something of a black art, and a whole cottage industry sprung up to support the folks looking to make their motorcycles handle better. Companies like Rickman, Spondon, and Dunstall set up shop, sometimes literally in a shed in the backyard, to construct stiffer, lighter frames than the factories seemed able to produce.

1967 Egli Vincent L Rear

Fritz Egli, a former motorcycle racer started out by creating his first re-framed Vincent from his very own racebike. That bike was designed to compete in hillclimbs and was used to win the Swiss Open Class Championship in 1968. Adding a frame to the Vincent Black Shadow might seem like a retrograde step, considering the “C” models were basically frameless. But Egli’s design added stiffness and kept weight down, while allowing the use of a more conventional telescopic front fork.

1967 Egli Vincent R Engine

Girder front forks are theoretically an improvement over a telescopic design, but the original Vincent parts have a reputation for instability, likely because period dampers hadn’t yet reached the required level of sophistication. Certainly, a conventional telescopic unit would allow the bike to be more easily set up for racing and the fitment of more modern brakes, both of which would be priorities for a racing machine like the original Egli Vincent.

1967 Egli Vincent Dash

More than 3,000 Egli-framed bikes were produced in total, but very few feature Vincent’s iconic and very beautiful 50° v-twin. Some of his most stunning creations were based around Laverda and Ducati powerplants but those bikes generally handled pretty well straight from the factory. Like other frame builders, Egli found the most financial success building new frames for the affordable and powerful Japanese fours, although he also built frames for the six-cylinder CBX and even the wild-and-wooly Kawasaki two-stroke triples.

From the original eBay listing: 1967 Egli Vincent 1000 for Sale

A fantastic opportunity to buy an ICON. Fitted with desiderable HRD serie B engine, Black Shadow speedo, touring set up, centre stand for easy starting, this is the perfect bike for the rider. It is just serviced and UK registered as 1967 Egli Vincent.

Ride, parade and collect! Bulletproof investment.

1967 Egli Vincent L Engine

Interestingly, Egli is still in business today, and apparently can still be convinced to knock up a new frame from time to time if you ask nicely and bring a suitcase full of crisp Euros…

There are a couple days left on the auction, with bidding north of $20,000 and the reserve not yet met. This is far less than you’d likely spend on an original Vincent and it possesses all that bike’s character and charm in what is likely a far more usable package, with additional rarity thrown in as a bonus.

-tad

1967 Egli Vincent L Side

It’s In the Name: 1951 Vincent Rapide for Sale

1951 Vincent Rapide R Front

While the sinister-sounding Vincent Black Shadow gets all the headlines, the more basic Rapide has almost all of its more evocative sibling’s impressive technology and speed. In the same way the racing Brittens are almost mind-bendingly advanced considering the era in which they were built, these bikes include features that wouldn’t be seen regularly on mainstream bikes for another ten or twenty or even thirty years in some cases.

1951 Vincent Rapide Bars

The first Rapide was introduced in 1936 and used a 47.5° v-twin with unit construction to fit into the frame which was later changed to an even 50° when Vincent went to a frameless design. That’s right: the second-generation Rapide basically lacked a frame. Similar to Ducati’s radical Panigale, the steering head bolts to the front cylinder and the rear suspension mounts to the gearbox.

1951 Vincent Rapide L Side

And the suspension was just as radical. First of all, it actually had suspension at the rear, and used a set of girder forks up front. And like a modern motorcycle, the gearshift was foot-operated with a hand clutch.

1951 Vincent Rapide Engine

It was one of the very fastest, most exotic bikes of the time, and with 45 torquey horses pushing 450lbs, these have plenty of poke to keep up with modern traffic, and you could always tune yours up to a Black Shadow-spec 55hp.

Vincents that come up for sale these days seem to be either pristine collectibles or barn-find basket-cases. This particular bike falls right in the middle of those two extremes.

From the original eBay listing: 1951 Vincent Rapide Series C for Sale

Recently pulled out of long term storage 

This is a very rare example of a Touring specification Rapide. It has been stored for the better part of the last 30 years inside. The engine turns over and has compression. No attempt has been made to start the bike. It is a matching numbers bike -see photos of the UFM (upper frame member), RFM (rear frame member) and engine being 1900 numbers apart. The right engine case has been replaced at some time during its history. It is missing the speedo and rear stand, and the fenders are incorrect, but it is otherwise complete. The correct Miller generator is included with the bracket-see photo. 

This motorcycle was originally supplied to Indian Sales Corp. of San Francisco in May, 1951 according to factory records. It is a touring specification with raised handlebars, steel fenders, 19″ front and 18″ rear wheel. Tires are a Firestone front and Dunlop rear with lots of tread, however, they are older and must be replaced prior to any road use. 

This bike could be used as-is cosmetically, however it would benefit from a restoration. The paint is original on the frame. The red tank and fender paint is shiny but has flaws. The headlight lens is cracked. Sharp eyes may notice the left rear brake drum is from a Black Shadow-no big deal, but I thought I’d point it out. If you have any questions, please ask prior to bidding. 

There is a very reasonable reserve on this auction. This motorcycle is not advertised elsewhere, and this auction is the exclusive opportunity to purchase it. This is a an extremely rare bike and RAPIDLY appreciating.  An opportunity like this does not come along very often, so NOW is the time to buy-thanks and good luck!

1951 Vincent Rapide R Side

This is obviously in serious need of work to return it to concours-ready condition, although it doesn’t sound like much would be needed to make it a rough and ready runner. Considering the way values are headed, a full restoration is certainly an appropriate path, and the bike looks pretty cool, in its current worn and well-used state.

-tad

1951 Vincent Rapide R Rear

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:

Vincent-1955-Black-Prince-2

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.

-tad

1955 Vincent Black Prince Project Engine 2

 

Two in a Row: 1947 Vincent Rapide for Sale

1947 Vincent Rapide R Front

Wow, two gorgeous Vincents up for sale at the same time! Although I’d imagine at this point, given their value, many of them are in this kind of condition. Yesterday’s Rapide had been cosmetically modified to look more like the blacked-out and sinister Black Shadow. This one is a few years older and stays a little closer to its roots but is no less desirable for that.

Based on Vincent’s own Meteor/Comet 500cc single, the 50° twin was powerful, a worthy motivator for a true “superbike.”  It is also one of the best-looking engines of all time: elegant, brutal, and purposeful, but this beating heart is, in some ways, the most conventional part of the bike.

1947 Vincent Rapide Dash

Introduced at a time when three-speed, tank-shift gearboxes and rigid frames were the norm, the Vincent must have seemed shockingly exotic. In addition to the swingarm rear suspension, four-speed foot shift, and unit construction for the engine and gearbox, the Vincent skipped right past the next sixty years or so and basically eliminated the frame entirely with their Series B bikes, with various sub-assemblies bolted directly to the engine and gearbox.

The bike also featured Vincent’s own “Girdraulic” alternative front end. Although girder front suspensions weren’t all that uncommon at the time, Vincent’s resistance to the new wave of telescopic forks was based on the inherent limitations of that design, namely stiction and flex. This is something that modern designers still struggle with and the ubiquity of telescopic forks on modern bikes speaks to the difficulty in designing a simple and effective solution. Bikes like the Britten V1000, Bimota Tesi, and Yamaha GTS1000 have all used effective alternatives, but those designs never took off or became mainstream. Only BMW’s “Telelever” suspension has had any significant success.

1947 Vincent Rapide L Rear

Vincent’s v-twin was offered in two flavors: Rapide and Black Shadow. The bike being offered is a Rapide, not the higher-performance Black Shadow, although significant internal upgrades have likely erased any performance deficit.

From the original eBay listing: 1947 Vincent Rapide for Sale

A ‘regardless of cost’ restoration was carried out with Brampton forks rebuilt by Ray Daniels, the correct Miller headlight and Alton alternator. Central Wheel Components built the English chrome wheels with the correct 20″ front and 19″ rear rims linked by stainless spokes and ribbed brake drums, with period brake plates with no water excluders. Alloy ‘guards were specified with a Koni rear damper. The ignition is by Lucas KVF magneto with a conversion to slack-wire advance system by Barry Basset. The tank was checked, painted and HRD-lined, with a new seat and tool-box assembly.

After the return to the ISDT machine of its original engine, 335, a 1947 twin, was installed. From a Rapide exported to Canada, this engine was fitted to a Norvin built between 1957-60 by one Pat Heardley of Montreal who worked for the Atomic Energy Corporation and had access to special tools and re-finishing equipment. Equipped with 32mm GP Dellortos, 10:1 pistons, special cams and all surfaces anti-friction coated, it was used very successfully for racing by VOC member Dave West at Mosport, Shannonville and Nelson Ledges. For installation in FYG 413, it was enlarged to 1,116cc capacity with 32mm Mark 1 Concentric carbs, Suzuki pistons and flywheels polished and balanced trued to zero run-out. These were balanced by Ken Roseover, a works engineer for Bombardier/Can-Am.

A multiple-plate clutch is fitted, alongside a custom wide clutch-cover. Two big-port heads are fitted with oversize valves, titanium valve-collets and stainless pushrod covers and gland nuts. The crankcases were vapour-blasted and polished and the cylinder muffs were machined from solid billet stock by Trevor Southall. The cost for the UK rebuild of this engine, whose performance is described by the vendor as ‘simply awesome’, was over £6,000, including the machining for the supplied Gosset electric starter. FYG 413 has a V5C, current MOT and Road Tax (free). The engine history, bills for the rebuild and a rebuild CD are included. A ‘state of the art’ Vincent.”

To simply, this is a non matching numbers bike. The performance of the machine is greater than that of a standard Rapide and may be greater then a Black Shadow.

The electric starter is not installed. I will supply all that is needed to install the starter motor if you wish to do so. 12 volt system uses a larger battery- most likely to fire the starter.

I have always started the bike the traditional way. It is indeed a thrilling machine to ride.

At 450 pounds motivated by 45-55 very torquey horses, the Vincent is a vintage bike that needs make no apologies or concessions to modern traffic, assuming you’re wary of the bike’s period drum brakes and infamously unforgiving handling.

1947 Vincent Rapide Clocks

As you may have noticed in the listing, the bike is available with the choice of two different speedometers. The larger, pie-plate sized item is a very iconic look for a Vincent, but I think I actually prefer the underhand sweep of the smaller, more conservative 120mph item. Luckily, you have a choice!

It’s obviously not a numbers-matching machine, and the reserve hasn’t been met yet, but the bidding is still at pretty bargain Vincent levels. I’m curious to see what this one goes for.

About the only downside I can see to owning one is the fact that some people will see that “HRD” badge and assume it’s some sort of Harley Davidson…

-tad

1947 Vincent Rapide L Front

1952 Vincent Rapide For Sale

1952 Vincent Rapide R Side

Thanks to reader Jess for pointing this one out. In the minds of motorcyclists of a certain age, no motorcycle can really match the aura and mystique of a v-twin Vincent. Expensive, powerful, dripping with exotic technology, and produced only in muted colors that were either serious or sinister, depending on whether or not you’d had one try to kill you or not…

1952 Vincent Rapide L Front

Hunter S Thompson referred to the Vincent Black Shadow in his writing, using the iconic name as shorthand for everything mysterious and dangerous about motorcycles: “It is like riding a Vincent Black Shadow, which would outrun an F-86 jet fighter on the take-off runway, but at the end, the F-86 would go airborne and the Vincent would not, and there was no point in trying to turn it…”

Even if you’ve never seen a Vincent, the picture in your head is probably pretty close after reading that.

1952 Vincent Rapide Dash

Phil C Vincent began making motorcycles during the 1920’s by slotting other manufacturer’s engines and transmissions into frames he designed. His enterprise met with some success, and this allowed the burgeoning company to design its own powerplant. The 500cc single formed the basis of the v-twin that Vincent’s Rapide was literally built around: while the original 1936 “Series A” used a traditional frame, the later “Series B” model was almost completely frameless, with the steering head bolted directly to the front cylinder and the rear suspension to the gearbox.

Which sounds an awful lot like a Ducati Panigale, except that the Ducati uses a less advanced style of front suspension…Unhappy with the flexing that plagues telescopic forks to this day, Vincent used a variation of the girder front end. This girder front end was advanced in theory, although limited damping of the era did lead to notoriously unforgiving handling.

1952 Vincent Rapide Controls

Quite literally, there was nothing on the road like it at the time, and you could argue that there hasn’t been anything like it since.

The v-twin came in two performance flavors. The bike being offered is the lower-spec Rapide, not the evocatively-named Black Shadow, although many of these have been improved to the point where performance differences are irrelevant. In this case, it looks like it’s been cosmetically updated to match the sinister black of the Shadow as well…

From the original eBay listing: 1952 Vincent Rapide for Sale

Up for grabs…Here’s a very nice 1952 Vincent Rapide 1000.  Has been given a light custom treatment with many smart and usable upgrades.  Has black engine with two front cylinder heads (a la Lightning).  Fitted with Lightning front brakes and center pull brake cables; acentuated with extended cam arms in the front.  Extended intake manifolds with Amal Concentric carburetors.  Magneto has been replaced with points and coil, generator replaced with Alton alternator.  All 12V electrics.  Rare 5″ 150 mph Smiths chronometric speedometer.  Numbers on frame headstock are “RC/1/5878”.  Numbers on rear frame section are “RC 8835C”.  Engine case halves match (both stamped “XX 59”), engine number is “F10 AB/1/8128”.  Altogether, an excellent road going package.  Feel free to call or email with any questions.  Good luck!

1952 Vincent Rapide Carb

I’m a big fan of “artistic” photography, although I’d prefer clean, unretouched shots when you’re using those pictures to sell a $50,000 motorcycle. We’re just north of that now, with active bidding and the reserve not yet met. It’s not a real Black Shadow, but it’s pretty clear this is a gorgeous bike, one of the most desirable and collectable and technically interesting machines ever built.

-tad

1952 Vincent Rapide R Front

Reader’s Ride: Very Original 1950 Vincent Black Shadow for Sale

1950 Vincent Black Shadow R Side

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.

1950 Vincent Black Shadow Dash

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…”

1950 Vincent Black Shadow R Engine

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.

1950 Vincent Black Shadow Headligh Bucket

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.

-tad

1950 Vincent Black Shadow L Side