1938 Vincent-HRD 500cc Series-A Comet
Registration no. DUR 851
Frame no. D1518
Engine no. C862
This Vincent-HRD Comet was purchase new directly from the factory by its first owner, a Mr Barnard from Luton, on 21st May 1938, the order having been placed on 25th February that same year. The price new was £86 plus an extra £1 for the stainless-steel fuel tank and £2 for pillion equipment. Not used during WW2, the bike came to Devon in 1946 and had covered relatively few miles when second owner Mr Harold Pittwood purchased it. Harold, a motorcycle mechanic by trade, was working for Harold Coles who owned a motorcycle shop in Queen Street, Barnstaple. Mr Coles had a brother in London, also in the motorcycle trade, and he purchased the Comet from Mr Barnard on Harold Pittwood's behalf for the sum of £60. In 1949 Harold had an accident while riding the Comet, colliding with a Royal Enfield at Shirlwell Cross near Barnstaple, which possibly explains the bike's post-war Vincent front wheel and headlamp.
A couple of years later, in 1951, Harold swapped the bike for his brother George's 'cammy' Velocette. George Pittwood used the Comet to take him to work, on holiday to Cornwall and Dorset, and also for weekly trips to Exeter Speedway. It was he that fitted the dual seat after complaints from his wife about the previous pillion saddle. Last licensed for the road in March 1964 after several years' reliable service, the Comet was purchased by the immediately preceding owner and registered in his name in June 1966. For 40-plus years the Vincent was kept preserved in its original condition and in April 2008 was offered for sale at Bonhams Stafford auction (Lot 550) where it was purchased by the current owner.
Since acquisition the engine top-end has been overhauled by a well-known member of the VOC and the motor is said to run sweetly. A correct seat and all new control cables have been fitted, leaving the wheels, tyres and electrics still requiring attention. The machine is offered with its original handbook, continuation old-style logbook (issued 1956), VMCC Dating Certificate, sundry expired tax discs, assorted literature, DVLA correspondence, VOC Parts List, photographs of various past owners, Swansea V5C registration document and a small quantity of assorted spares.
Representing a rare opportunity to acquire one of the legendary Series-A Vincent-HRD singles, 'DUR 851' has covered only some 35,000-or-so miles from new and thus is presented in substantially original, unmolested condition.