c.1949/51 Vincent-HRD 998cc Rapide
Registration no. KYV 587
Frame no. RC/1/9743/C
Engine no. F10AB/1/2422
The motorcycle offered here consists of a Rapide engine that formed part of a complete machine despatched from the factory in November 1949, while the main frame is that of a Comet produced in October 1951. The Vincent was purchased by the current owner in October 1965 with the idea of using it as a fast road bike and sprinting it in the standard machine class. With this in mind, in 1966 the bike was stripped and the crankcases split, with the following work undertaken (much of it by Chas Mortimer):
An Alpha caged roller big-end was fitted to the flywheels and balanced. The con-rods were polished, a second fast cylinder head was acquired and ported, blended and polished to accept Amal 10TT9 carburettors. The four main bearings and four gearbox bearings were replaced and the timing chest spindles, steady plate MkII cams and followers, and a steel idler fitted. High-compression pistons (9.0:1) replaced the old standard components. New upper and lower valve guides were fitted together with rocker bearings, push rods and valve springs.
The standard clutch was adapted to take one-piece Ferodo disc with modified clutch drum (Lightning practice). The selector cam plate was modified to Lightning specification and the primary chain, tensioner blade and a set of engine shock absorber springs fitted. The magneto was rebuilt in this period and the fuel tank stove-enamelled. For personal preference the original Series-C Girdraulic forks were replaced with Series-B Bramptons.
All the above engine parts (and many more) were purchased from marque specialists, Harper Engines or dealers holding stocks of original factory parts such as Deeprose, Humphreys, etc in the 1960s/70s. The completed engine was placed in the rear frame and work then ceased. All the original bills were kept and are available for inspection. The bike was then put to one side until 2002 when it was decided to complete the rebuild.
Work recommenced with the attachment of the Brampton girders to the upper frame member and fitting a new exhaust pipe, silencer and fastenings. The saddle was recovered, and any parts that had been mislaid over the years were replaced with new components. New rims, tyres and tubes were fitted and Lightning (alloy) air-scooped brake plates used front and rear along with Lightning-type ribbed brake drums. New brake shoes and linings were installed. As the old Amals were completely worn out, brand new 32mm DellOrto components were fitted to special stubs.
The old (and useless) Miller dynamo and voltage control unit were replaced by a modern 12-volt Alton alternator. New cables, handlebars and controls were fitted. No Vincent should be without an imposing speedometer, so a 5 Black Shadow clock was acquired. Vinparts supplied most of the later parts, including the elephants trunk engine breather, while an anti-sumping valve was sourced from Conways. In October 2008 the engine was started for the first time since 1965, but the Rapide as not been used on the road since completion. Over £6,000 has been spent on the machine since 2002; had the cost of the engine parts purchased in 1966 been included, then the final bill would have been very much higher. Presented in good condition throughout, the machine is offered with the aforementioned bills and Swansea V5 registration document.