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Vincent Classic Motorcycles

Introduction

Howard R Davies founded the marque HRD in 1924 and won the 1924 Senior Isle of Man TT on his own-make machine but his firm failed in 1927. In 1928 Philip Vincent, a wealthy undergraduate, bought the HRD name and designed a new motorcycle with his own spring frame and marketed it as Vincent HRD, with a choice of mostly JAP or Rudge engines.

In 1934, Phil Irving designed a 500cc high-camshaft ohv single Vincent engine that doubled up to make a 1000cc V-twin, which in 1937 became the Rapide model. Redesigned for 1946, the Rapide became lighter and faster. The letters HRD were discontinued in 1950. Falling sales of expensive motorcycles caused closure in 1956. Vincent motorcycle history.

Bike Image Description
1939 Vincent Meteor 500cc 1939 Vincent Meteor 500cc
1950 Vincent onbekend, 500cc 1950 Vincent onbekend, 500cc
Vincent Comet 500cc VINCENT COMET 500cc
1949 Vincent HRD Series C with Steib S501 Sports Side Car 1949 Vincent HRD Series C with Steib S501 Sports Side Car Picture kindly provided by - www.roncobb.com
1949 Vincent Rapide Series C
Vincent Rapide Series C

Phil Vincent sought to produce a machine with a shorter wheelbase than the Series A twin capable of sustaining a 100mph for high mileages with exceptional handling and braking, a high level of rider comfort and good accessibility for maintaince. That he achieved those goals with the introduction of the Series B is now a matter of historical fact and the innovations employed to achieve them still influence motorcycle design today. In order to reduce the wheelbase and retain the vee-twin engine configuration with its attendant advantages, Phil Vincent dispensed with a conventional frame and utilised the engine and gearbox unit as an integral part of the structure mounting the headstock directly to it. A steel oil tank formed the backbone of the machine and provided a mounting point for the cantilever rear forks suspension units.

Image provided by www.classic-auctions.com.

Vincent 1000 Series C Vincent 1000 Series C
  • Engine - 998cc, OHV Vee-twin
  • Power - 55bhp @ 5500rpm
  • Top Speed - 125mph
  • Transmission - 4-speed
  • Frame - Backbone box-section, engine as stressed member
  • Brakes - Double drum/double drum
  • Vincent Black Prince Vincent Black Prince
  • Engine - 998cc, 47.5 degree v-twin ohv four-stroke
  • Bore and Stroke - 84 x 90 mm
  • Compression Ratio - 6.8:1
  • Power - 45bhp @ 5500rpm
  • Launched - 1936-1939
  • Wheelbase - 56in
  • Weight - 430lb
  • Carburettor - 1 1/16in Amal
  • Top Speed - 105+ mph
  • Vincent Black Shadow Vincent Black Shadow

    In 1951 the Black Shadow cost £402, the same as a terraced house in Darlington, it was sold as the fastest production motorcycle in the world. The mudguards were made of stainless stell because owner Philip Vincent hated crome.

  • Engine - 998cc, air-cooled pushrod V-twin
  • Power - 65bhp
  • Launched - 1948-1955
  • Top Speed - 125 mph
  • 1950 Vincent Black Shadow Series C 1950 Vincent Black Shadow The Vincent Black shadow is perhaps the best-known classic high performance motorcycle of all time. The C Series was introduced in late 1948 by Vinceent HRD, a Biritish motorcycles manufacturer. Every one of the Black Shadow built (roughly 1500) were hand-assembled, and one can only guess how many are still intact.
    1950 Vincent Comet, 498cc Vincent Comet
    1949 1000cc Vincent Black Shadow Series B 1949 1000cc Vincent Black Shadow Series B The Shadow featured a mildly "breathed on engine" with larger carburettors and a higher compression ratio which resulted in a top speed in excess of 120mph. The brake drums were ribbed and the engine and gearbox were finished in black enamel whilst a 5 inch 150mph speedometer dominated the riders view. As with the Rapide the Series C Black Shadow benefited from the adoption of Girdraulic forks. Shadowised Rapides, whilst not common, are a relatively familiar sight, offering the performance and appearance of a Shadow for a little more than a Rapide.
    Vincent Rapide - 1937 Vincent Rapide
  • Engine - 998cc, 47.5 degree v-twin ohv four-stroke
  • Bore and Stroke - 84 x 90 mm
  • Compression Ratio - 6.8:1
  • Power - 45bhp @ 5500rpm
  • Launched - 1936-1939
  • Wheelbase - 56in
  • Weight - 430lb
  • Carburettor - 1 1/16in Amal
  • Top Speed - 105+ mph
  • 1950 Vincent Comet Series 3 1950 Vincent Comet Series 3 Image provided by www.BuyVintage.co.uk.
    Vincent Rapide Series C 1953 Vincent Rapide Series C 1953  
    Vincent Rapide 1950 Series C with Steib Sidecar VINCENT RAPIDE 1950 Series C with Steib Sidecar  
    1951 Vincent Rapide Series C
    Vincent Rapide Series C

    The pre-war Series A Rapide offered a level of performance unrivalled by the vast majority of its rivals, however the vee-twin engine configuration resulted in a long wheelbase endowing the machine with slow, albeit stable, handling. The Stevenage based company promised a revised model in their wartime advertising that would address this issue together with the cluttered appearance of the engine due to the external oil lines that gave it the "plumber's nightmare" nickname. The result was promised to be fast, capable of cruising at 100mph, with exemplary handling and braking, a high degree of rider comfort and easy maintenance.

    Image provided by www.classic-auctions.com.

    1952 Vincent Comet with Steib S500 sidecar 1952 Vincent Comet with Steib S500 sidecar  
    Vincent Series C Comet 1954 Vincent Series C Comet  
    1953 Vincent Rapide, 1000cc 1953 Vincent Rapide, 1000cc  
    1954 Vincent Firefly on Royal Enfield Cycle 1954 Vincent Firefly on Royal Enfield Cycle

    Vincent, however, made hand-built motorcycles that were exclusive and expensive. This was a big problem. Only 11,000 of their superb machines were sold between 1945 and 1954. The company had to try different ideas to revive their fortunes. In 1954, they built NSU Fox motorcycles and NSU Quicklys under license for sale in Great Britain. More info..

    1955 Vincent Black Knight 1955 Vincent Black Knight 998cc.
    1956 Vincent Firefly on Phillips Gents Cycle


    Vincent Firefly

    The Firefly was marketed at the same time as Vincent imported and sold the NSU Quickly. The Quickly was so successful that Firefly sales suffered as a result. It was a well-built machine, still very useable over 50 years down the road. These days the model is highly sought-after by Vincent afficionados and cyclemotor enthusiasts alike.

    Image kindly provided by www.BuyVintage.co.uk.

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