1955 Vincent 998cc Black Knight
Registration no. MSG 998
Frame no. RD12698F
Engine no. F10AB/2/10798
Ever since the Series A's arrival in 1937, the Vincent v-twin had been synonymous with design innovation, engineering excellence and superlative high performance. So in September 1955 when it was revealed that production of the Stevenage-built machines would cease, the news stunned the motorcycling world. It had been decided that the firm's future lay in more profitable lines of manufacture. By the time its demise was announced, Vincent's final twin - the Series D - had been in production for just six months.
It had been Philip Vincent's belief that provision of ample weather protection, combined with enclosure of engine and gearbox, would make the Vincent Series D the ultimate 'gentleman's motorcycle'. In the event, delayed delivery of the glassfibre panels - plus continuing demand for traditionally styled models - resulted in over half the production leaving the Stevenage factory in un-enclosed form. Other Series D innovations included a new frame and rear suspension, and a user-friendly centre stand plus many improvements to the peerless v-twin engine. The enclosed Rapide and Black Shadow were known as the 'Black Knight' and 'Black Prince' respectively. When production ceased in December 1955 around 460 Series D v-twins had been built, some 200 of which were enclosed models.
This example of one of the rarest of post-war Vincents has been in the present ownership since February 2001. Documentation on file reveals that the machine spent some time in the USA, from whence it returned in 1989, and that its original registration mark - 'MSG 998' - was reissued in 1997. Offered from its late owner's estate, the machine comes with the 2001 sales receipt, VOC Certificate of Authenticity (x2), C&E Form 386, sundry invoices, various recent SORNs, expired MoT (2001) and old/current UK V5/V5C registration documents.