The ex-works, ISDT
1948 Vincent-HRD 998cc Series-B Rapide
Registration no. KAR 223
Frame no. R2919
Engine no. F10AB/1/929
Vincents with in-period competition history are rare, works examples even more so, and this particular Rapide may well be the only solo ISDT Vincent in existence. 'KAR 223' was ridden in the 1948 International Six Days Trial by experienced Gloucestershire-born trials exponent Arthur Merrett, who had won the previous season's Lands End Trial riding a factory-prepared Rapide. Arthur Merrett rode his first trial in the late 1920s while still a teenager and took up the sport seriously in 1932 riding a Rudge Python-engined Cotton 250. During the war he was commissioned into the RASC and was assigned command of a school instructing FANY and ATS girls in how to ride motorcycles cross-country. After demobilisation he returned to trials riding in 1946 and competed in that year's British Experts' Trial on a 350 BSA.
'KAR 223' was completed on 16th June 1948 and formed part of the factory effort together with 'KAR 222', another solo Rapide to be ridden by Stan Board, and 'JYT 159', a combination to be piloted by Harold Taylor. The 1948 ISDT was held in Italy at San Remo on a testing course that claimed many a competitor, Arthur Merrett among them, who crashed the Vincent on day three and was forced to retire with damaged forks. Board and Taylor came home with bronze medals. After a factory refit, 'KAR 223' was sent to Conway Motors in December 1948 for sale to the general public. Its history is unknown from then until 1961 when it was owned by one Richard Sell in London (see old logbook on file). After a succession of other owners the Vincent passed in 1970 to one Raymond Elger, who removed the engine, which was tuned and fitted into an Egli frame. The project was never completed though, and the Egli-Vincent lay gathering dust for many years.
Meanwhile, 'KAR 223' had been given a replacement engine, attached to a sidecar and sold on. The frame - 'R2919' - was purchased by the current vendor, a lifelong Vincent enthusiast, in 2003. Research conducted via the Vincent Owners Club revealed its origins and also the whereabouts of the original engine, which the vendor was able to acquire from the Egli's then owner, Bernard Robinson. While in the previous ownership of Ken Day the Egli-Vincent had featured in British Bike magazine (May 1991 edition) and a copy of that article is in the history file.
The vendor completed the machine's restoration in September 2008 and rode the historic Vincent back to Italy for the 60th anniversary of the San Remo ISDT where it took centre stage at the VOC rally in Dogliani. The story of the 'KAR 223' and its restoration were recounted subsequently in an article published in The Classic MotorCycle (September 2009 edition, copy available).
Departures from factory specification include a 12-volt FIAT dynamo, Burlem 12-volt battery, multi-plate clutch, Gold Star valve springs, LED rear light, stainless steel wheel rims and a Tread Down stand. (We are advised that the electrical system is not charging at present).
Included in the sale is a most substantial file of history close inspection of which is recommended containing copy Works Order Form recording frame/engine numbers and annotated 'International 6-Days'; VOC Dating Certificate; copies of assorted press cuttings and period photographs including reports of the 1948 ISDT; copies of period magazines; old-style continuation logbook (issued 1964); assorted correspondence; a substantial quantity of restoration invoices; various photographs of the 2008 San Remo event; sundry expired MoTs and tax discs; MoT to May 2010 and Swansea V5C.