1955 Series D Vincent Rapide — Classic British Motorcycles — Motorcycle Classics

15 Фев 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи 1955 Series D Vincent Rapide — Classic British Motorcycles — Motorcycle Classics отключены
Vincent Black Prince

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1955 D Vincent Rapide

Claimed 45hp @ 5,300rpm

Top speed:

Engine: 998cc OHV air-cooled V-twin

Weight (dry): (207kg)

Fuel Capacity: (15ltr)

Price then: (approx.) – original U.S. list $1,495 (est.)

now: $15,000 —

The story of this particular Series D Vincent Rapide with the birth of James W. in Mountain Lake, Minn. in His father was a blind piano who Jim’s mother drove the Midwest to tuning appointments in Packard automobile.

Tenhoff from Kallmann’s Syndrome, a that wasn’t even until 1944. A genetic it leaves its victims short in and underdeveloped. While his peers normally, Jim stayed the same. By the he was 18, he wasn’t much more 3 feet 11 inches tall.

he spoke, it was in a high-pitched, feminine

In 1943 Jim left home, west to work in the Boeing factory in Seattle, Wash. he helped assemble B-17 In an odd twist of fate, it was his small that got him hired, as the Boeing needed small people who work in tight places, inside wings and other spaces. People of Jim’s were well suited to the

“I would think he was proud,” Sid Chantland, a vintage motorcycle who, together with his Bob, came to befriend Jim in his years. Jim, it turns was quite the motorcycle fan.

The pursuit

In 1947, as he was preparing to Boeing for his return home to Lake, Jim bought a brand new BSA C11 — a OHV single-cylinder machine — and proceeded to it from Seattle to Mountain

During the nearly 1,600-mile Jim shunned motels. Instead, stop in a town and talk to the police, and ask if the constabulary could put him up in one of … cells. According to Bob Jim felt more secure this unorthodox method of

Jim returned to his family home in Lake and continued to ride the BSA but some nine years he decided he wanted something

In 1956 he made a trip to touring the country and visiting motorcycle retailers, specifically to purchase a fully enclosed D Vincent. On November 19, 1956, the of Conway Motors in Shepherds (London) wrote Jim:

Mr. Tenhoff, We note you have home after your tour and assume, without a

We are sorry to say all the Vincent Black and Black Knight models been sold. We can, offer at the time of writing a new at £234.16.0. The crating freight and would cost approximately £50 to

Assuring you of our closest attention to requirements. Yours faithfully, CONWAY MOTORS [signed S. Manager.

Undaunted, Jim dashed off a to Vincent Engineers (Stevenage) Although Vincent had quit motorcycles in December 1955, the was still in business and developing Jim inquired directly at the factory, to know if there were any Series D Vincents available for In a letter dated January 7, J. Bland, Vincent spares and manager replied:

We thank you for your letter of the 2nd with reference to obtaining a new Prince” machine.

We regret to our knowledge, Messrs. Conway are the only firm who had new enclosed in stock. We would mention the enclosure can be fitted to the open “D” machines, but this works out in the of £95 in England.

We feel that it not be a satisfactory proposition for you to purchase “Black Prince” in units as the motor, cycle components, and assemble them yourself.

our inability to be of more assistance to we remain, Yours faithfully, for MOTORS (STEVENAGE) LIMITED JR Bland] J. BLAND SPARES MANAGER.

Jim decided his next option was the open Series D Rapide offered to him by Conway He sent them a check for U.S. for which Conway a note of receipt on January 16, In a short letter, Conway manager Broomfield told Jim his would “look into the question to see if we can do anything in this Exactly what the request was is but it can be assumed Jim had asked if the saddle somehow be altered to suit his

Perhaps not completely satisfied his purchase of the Series D, Jim evidently off another letter to Vincent, for in a dated January 29, 1957, sales manager J. Bland

We thank you for your letter and that you have purchased an Series “D” Rapide.

To convert the to the same specification as a Series “D” Shadow or Black Prince the modifications required are the polishing of the con rockers, cam followers and valves. It also be necessary to open out the ports and carburettor stubs to 1 bore and to fit the type 389 Monobloc part number P85/6.

Assuring you of our best attention at all we are, Yours faithfully, for MOTORS (STEVENAGE) LIMITED JR Bland] J. BLAND SPARES MANAGER.

Conway Motors Jim’s Vincent, a holdover Series D Vincent Rapide, no. 11103, to his home in Mountain with the motorcycle arriving in the of 1957. That engine is noteworthy — it places Jim’s as one of the last 31 machines to leave the line in 1955 before the ceased motorcycle production in that year.


Vincent Black Prince

It appears Jim never followed up on the to convert his Series D Vincent Vincent Black Shadow and for whatever reason, he only some 3,522 miles to the odometer. But for the miles he did add, Jim got on his Vincent he would strap wooden blocks to the heels of his so his feet would touch the from the saddle, the front of his free to operate the shifter and pedals.

Fourteen years Jim parked the Vincent, with a Minnesota plate still in its plastic wrapper bolted to the holder, next to his BSA C11 in his garage. He rode it again.

Enter enthusiast Bob Chantland. In the early Bob was given a tip about a “small in Mountain Lake who owned a On a return trip from an Motorcycle Club of America in Le Mars, Iowa, Bob, with some of his compatriots, in Mountain Lake.

“It didn’t long to find Jim,” Bob “I think I asked a couple of and they told me where he I knocked on the door, and eventually it There was this short no hair on his face, and kind of He had big, soft, doe eyes, and a pitched voice.”

Bob explained who he was and what he was doing. Jim heard Bob had an old GMC motor home of vintage motorcycles, he came out and met the of the group. At the time, Bob was vending motorcycle and bicycle items at meets, and he gave Jim an old Atomic bicycle fender mud flap.

Jim Bob to the garage, where under a canvas tarp sat both the BSA and the As he peeled back the covering, Bob he could see the Vincent underneath. No word but “mint” could do to the condition of the barely ridden he uncovered from its slumber, Bob

“I think I expressed interest in the Vincent at that point, and he he didn’t want to sell,” Bob Bob left one of his business cards, folded out to reveal the image of a motorcycle. That card, it out, would be an important of paper.

Changing hands

the years, Bob, either by or accompanied by his son, Sid, stop in and visit Jim. times, they exchanged and letters. Jim was certainly living on a budget, and for some 25 years Bob a $20 bill into every card he sent to Jim.

It was habit to borrow money, and at point a “friend” loaned him a few dollars. When Jim died in this person put a lien both motorcycles and the Tenhoff’s old which Jim had kept. Jim was a bit of a hoarder, and not did he keep things of monetary but also worthless bits of such as newspapers, odd bits of and milk jugs.

His house was crammed to the ceiling his hoardings.

A cousin of Jim’s to look after the estate, and hearing from the fellow who claim to the motorcycles and the car. through just one of Jim’s piles, the cousin turned up old business card with the on it. The phone number on the card was disconnected, and Bob had moved, but the cousin him down, leaving a message on landline, a number Bob doesn’t check for voice mail.

The finally connected, and a discussion about the true value of the

“Jim’s cousin was getting all of advice, and it eventually went to Bob says. “I wrote a long describing my whole story, and the lien holder threw in the he just wanted what his would be worth plus

Bob stepped back, and any deal to get the became Sid’s to make.

Sid has many antique motorcycles and during his life, but never had a deal gone up and down the one he was trying to make for both the and the C11. Finally, on Feb. 7, both machines were

The Vincent in the barn

“It’s a Vincent in the barn,” Sid says of the a reference to Tom Cotter’s book of the name. “Somebody sprayed it with oil, and it attracted bit of dust and grime. It looks dirty, but underneath all of that in real nice condition.”

Sid and guru Steve Hamel through the Amal 376 Monobloc and also drained the oil; the oil out looking so fresh they poured it right back in. the gas tank was an easy chore, and it was time for Sid to host a “coming party. On April 23, 2011, the Minnesota Vincent club at Sid’s shop, where dressed the points and checked the for spark — that was all the preparation to the Series D Vincent Rapide.

Sid gave Steve the honor of the Vincent to life, which it did on the good heave, in the process shooting a giant hole in the of the necessity of proper engine before long-term storage.

“It was bizarre,” Sid says. “After it all the crap out of the muffler it just down to an idle, and it’s one of the mechanically quiet Vincents ever heard.” Sid has no plans to put Series D on the road. “After and years of people restoring old stuff, what’s original of gets lost in the mix. got the original tires on it, and it’s a time capsule. If I got hit by a car I’d feel for the bike than I would for

Instead, Jim’s Vincent be kept in “as found” condition, a to a man who didn’t let his physical stature get in the way of his to ride a Vincent motorcycle. MC

Vincent Black Prince
Vincent Black Prince
Vincent Black Prince


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