Vincent Motorcycle Auctions
Recent Auction Results –
What does a pile of vintage motorcycle parts goes for these days?
$152,000 and $38,000!
Single family ownership for over 50 years
1955 Vincent 998cc Black Prince Project
Registration no. WCV 870
Frame no. RD12988B/F (see text)
Engine no. F10/AB/2B/11088
Ever since the Series-A’s arrival in 1937, the Vincent v-twin had been synonymous with design innovation, engineering excellence and superlative high performance. So in September 1955 when it was revealed that production of the Stevenage-built machines would cease, the news stunned the motorcycling world. It had been decided that the firm’s future lay in more profitable lines of manufacture, and just 100 more of the fabulous v-twins would be completed. By the time its demise was announced, Vincent’s final twin – the Series-D – had been in production for just six months.
It had been Philip Vincent’s belief that provision of ample weather protection combined with enclosure of engine and gearbox, would make the Vincent Series-D the ultimate ‘gentleman’s motorcycle’, though delayed delivery of the glassfibre panels – plus continuing demand for traditionally styled models – resulted in over half the production leaving the Stevenage factory in un-enclosed form. The enclosed Rapide and Black Shadow were known as Black Knight and Black Prince respectively. Other Series-D innovations included a new frame and rear suspension, a user-friendly centre stand, plus many improvements to the peerless v-twin engine. When production ceased in December 1955, around 460 Series-D v-twins had been built, some 200 of which were enclosed models.
First registered in June 1956, this Black Prince comes with its original logbook recording one William Noble of Falmouth as first owner followed by three others, the last of whom, Roy Drawater (the current vendor’s brother-in-law) purchased it in 1963. Around 1967 the Vincent was taken off the road for restoration but the project never got beyond disassembly and the machine has remained in dry storage for the last 47 years. Apparently virtually complete, the only noticeable deviation from standard being the ‘DMD Streamliner’ front fairing, ‘WCV 870’ is offered for sale for the first time in 50 years and is sold strictly as viewed. The engine and frame numbers match but it should be noted that, due to a clerical error, the logbook records the latter as ‘FF401.638585’, which is actually the casting number on the front forks! Expired in May 1967, the last tax disc (still in its holder) is included in the sale together with a selection of Vincent books and manuals, motorcycle waxed overalls and gauntlets.
c.1952 Vincent 998cc Rapide Project
Frame no. RC/11265
Engine no. F10/AB/1/268
Ever since the Series A’s arrival in 1937, the Vincent v-twin has been synonymous with design innovation, engineering excellence and superlative high performance. From Rollie Free’s capture of the ‘world’s fastest production motorcycle’ record in 1948 on a tuned Series B Black Shadow to the final fully enclosed Black Knight and Black Prince, Philip Vincent’s stress on appearance and performance is legendary. His machines bristled with innovative features: adjustable brake pedal, footrests, seat height and gear-change lever. The finish was to a very high standard commensurate with the cost of the machine, which was virtually double that of any of its contemporaries. But above all else it was the v-twin’s stupendous performance that captivated motorcyclists, whether they could afford one or not. With a top speed approaching 120mph, and bettering it in the Black Shadow’s case, the Vincent v-twin was the fastest road vehicle of its day.
In 1948 the Vincent range began to be up-dated from Series B to Series C specification. The most significant changes made concerned the suspension, there being a revised arrangement at the rear incorporating curved lugs for the seat stays and an hydraulic damper between the spring boxes, while at the front the new models boasted Vincent’s own ‘Girdraulic’ fork: a blade-type girder fitted with twin hydraulic dampers. These advances began to find their way onto production models during 1948 but it would be 1950 before all Vincents left the factory in Series C specification.
This Series C Rapide was purchased by the current vendor’s brother-in-law over 30 years ago. It is believed that the machine was purchased complete and subsequently dismantled for restoration. Dry stored since and never restored, it is believed to be relatively complete and is offered for sale as a non-matching numbers restoration project. There are no documents with this Lot, which is sold strictly as viewed.Vincent Motorcycle Auctions continue to amaze us.