The Vincent Owners Club Spares Company
2007 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow
Registration no. GN07 LVB
Frame no. RE 14000
Engine no. F10AB5/1010
Offered for auction sale by its owners, the Vincent Owners Club, this Black Shadow, has been constructed entirely from newly manufactured parts supplied by the VOC Spares Company.
When manufacture of the original Vincent motorcycle finished in 1955, Harper Engineering continued to supply spares for the many Vincent machines still in active use around the world. When Harpers ceased trading in 1975, the Vincent Owners Club organised an independent spares operation to guarantee availability of quality parts.
Although separate from the Owners Club, a close working relationship exists between the VOC Spares Company and the Club, its largest shareholder. To ensure that modern manufacturing techniques can provide quality parts to fit the original machines, a technical committee of VOC members provided some 1,100 engineering drawings for post-war Vincents. The VOCSC has subjected itself to external audit of its operations, as a result being granted membership of the Classic British Motorcycle Charter QA organisation.
As the range of available parts grew, it became apparent (around 2004) that a complete replica engine could be made. A prominent VOC member sponsored a replica Series-B Black Shadow engine, which was completed and delivered in 2005. Having achieved this, it was decided to complete the circle by producing an entire motorcycle. This, of course, involved the manufacture of a frame and front fork, the principal parts of which had been unavailable new for 50 years. However, the object was never to create a production line for new Vincents, but to make a single machine to prove that the VOCSC could supply any parts that might be needed for a post-war Vincent twin.
The model chosen was that most recognisable of Vincents, the Black Shadow, in as near as possible to 1950 Series-C specification. The VOC Machine Registrar issued frame and engine numbers which fit in with the original series used by the Vincent factory, yet clearly identify the machine as of new manufacture
Because some manufacturers of proprietary items Lucas, Miller, Amal - no longer exist, a few compromises had to be made in terms of the parts used. These are listed below. All the parts originally made and supplied by Vincent Engineers (Stevenage) have been faithfully and accurately replicated. It was obviously essential to use someone with intimate knowledge of Vincents and the ability to assemble everything properly; for this Glyn Johnson, owner and restorer of the works Vincent Grey Flash and restorer of a number of other Vincents, including for the National Motorcycle Museum, was chosen. The machine has the original size wheels (3.00x20 front, 3.50x19 rear) with Avon tyres, lined and balanced as original. Vincent Girdraulic forks and the standard Vincent triangulated rear frame are, of course, fitted also. Within the engine is a new flywheel assembly, with Carillo connecting rods and Alpha big-end. Pistons are standard 7.3:1 low-clearance items. The crankcases are made from original Vincent patterns. Gearbox and clutch are standard Vincent items. The overall finish is black two-pack, obviously of excellent quality. All small fittings are stainless steel, lightly bead-blasted to resemble the original cadmium finish (but obviously much longer lasting). Glyn Johnson is an expert in Vincent detail and has ensured that all small parts are correct and original.
Deviations from original specification are as follows:
Ignition: modern BTH magneto concealed under the magneto cowl.
Electrics: Alton 12-volt alternator fitted in same position as original Miller dynamo. 12-volt battery concealed within replica Exide battery case.
Carburettors: new Amal Type 6 (Rapide size) fitted instead of Type 29s.
The motorcycle was completed at the start of 2007 and officially handed over to its owners, the Vincent Owners Club. It was registered for UK road use as a 2007 machine at the Department of Transport after a comprehensive test by VOSA. Some miles of running in were carried out to bed-in the engine and cycle parts and make the necessary fine adjustments to ensure that the machine rides as perfectly as can be achieved. A new Vincent-type servo clutch has since been fitted in place of the multi-plate type used initially. Part of the reason for creating the machine was to provide publicity for both the VOC and the Spares Company. Following a number of road tests the Black Shadow was featured extensively in the classic motorcycling press: Classic Bike Guide, Real Classics, The Institute of Mechanical Engineers Journal and Motor Cycle News. In the last example, MCNs chief tester Trevor Franklin provided a completely positive (5 stars) report, which surprised even the VOC given the newspapers concentration on modern performance machines.
The Black Shadow was shown at a number of events and rallies during 2007 including the Bristol, Stafford and BMF shows, although most people seeing the bike thought it was just another concours example of a Stevenage-built Vincent! In fact, this machine is unique in being the only new Vincent (as opposed to Eglis and other specials) made since the factory closed its doors over 50 years ago. While it would be possible for another new machine to be made from parts as this one was, to date no one has attempted this due to the difficulty and cost. A full record of its history accompanies the machine, which in addition comes with road fund licence to July 2008 and Swansea V5C registration document. The file contains photographs (including some superb professional studio shots), bills (35 pages from the VOCSC), details of the VOSA registration process, copies of the various published road tests and other correspondence relevant to the build.