1951 Vincent Black Shadow Auction – Vintage Motorbike Auctions & Sale – H&H

18 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 1951 Vincent Black Shadow Auction – Vintage Motorbike Auctions & Sale – H&H
Vincent Black Shadow

Sale Date: 9th June 2010

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As the 1940’s drew to a close Vincent HRD were in the enviable position of producing the worlds fastest production motorcycle in the form of the Rapide, however, and despite the Rapide’s performance potential, the company was subjected to requests for a higher performance machine. Enthusiasts studying the specifications of the Rapide power unit recognized that it was endowed with a mild state of tune, if 45bhp and 110mph was available from an engine with a 6.45:1 compression ratio being fed by two comparatively small 1 1/16 carburettors imagine the results that a higher compression ratio and larger carburettors would bring. These thoughts were also held by Phil Vincent, who viewed a machine that was possessed with an abundance of power as being his ideal, allowing the rider to set the pace rather than being constrained by the machines limitations.

The Rapide’s chassis was approaching his ideal and could easily handle higher outputs he envisaged. He therefore concluded that the production of his ultimate motorcycle was a realistic goal; unfortunately other members of the Stevenage hierarchy disagreed, arguing that sales of the proposed machine would be achieved at the expense of the Rapide. Fortunately for enthusiasts PCV was not one to let boardroom opposition stand in his way, he told the press of the imminent release of the new model and authorised the production of prototype machines which used the experience gained with Gunga Din, Cliff and George Brown’s race machine, to achieve the desired level of performance for the new machine, dubbed the Black Shadow.

The increase in performance over the Rapide was achieved with a higher compression ratio of 7.3:1 and 1 1/8th carburettors. Ports were polished and the engine was effectively blueprinted at the production stage ensuring optimum performance. Stronger ribbed front drum brakes were employed which also offered a greater surface area for heat dissipation.

Vincent Black Shadow

A five inch 150mph speedometer graced the top of the forks and the engine cases, primary drive case, gearbox and magneto cowl were finished in high gloss black enamel.

In other respects the Black Shadow followed the Rapide, initially being offered in Series B form with Brampton girder forks before evolving into the Series C fitted with Girdraulic forks and offered alongside the B series machines during 1948/49 before taking over completely from 1950. When tested by The Motor Cycle in August 1949, the new model recorded a maximum speed of 110mph in third gear, the tester stating that no airfield or stretch of road could be found which would allow absolute maximum speed to be obtained in two directions. flash readings of 118 and 114 were obtained, and in neither case had the machine attained its maximum . Handling and braking were also highly praised with the Black Shadow recording a stopping distance from30mph of 26 ft. 6in.

The example offered was dispatched from the works on the 23rd June 1951 to Greens of Newton Abbott. It is described by the vendor as being in good condition both mechanically and cosmetically having been restored a number of years ago, although the vendor does note a little corrosion on the chromed parts. The engine, which has matching crankcase numbers (RR70), is fitted with a set of 15/32 Amal GP carburettors equipped with matchbox floats.

A Swansea V5C accompanies the motorcycle.

Vincent Black Shadow
Vincent Black Shadow
Vincent Black Shadow
Vincent Black Shadow
Vincent Black Shadow
Vincent Black Shadow


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