1951 Vincent 998cc Series-C Rapide
Registration no. UPJ 621
Frame no. RC10599
Engine no. 10/AB/1/8699
Rear Frame no. RC10599
Introduced in 1946, the Vincent-HRD Series-B Rapide was immediately the fastest production motorcycle on sale anywhere, with a top speed of 110mph. The basic design clearly had even greater potential though, which would be realised later in the form of the Black Shadow and Black Lightning models.
In 1948 the Vincent range began to be up-dated to 'Series C' specification. The most significant changes made concerned the suspension, there being a revised arrangement at the rear incorporating curved lugs for the seat stays and an hydraulic damper between the spring boxes, while at the front the new models boasted Vincent's own 'Girdraulic' fork: a blade-type girder fitted with twin hydraulic dampers. These advances began to find their way onto production models during 1948 but it would be 1950 before all Vincents left the factory in Series C specification.
This matching numbers (frame/engine) Rapide was originally exported to Sri Lanka in 1951, returning to the UK in 1954 when it was sold to a Mr John Roberts of Oldbury. The current vendor is only its third owner. Fully restored in 2007, the machine benefits from new pistons, rings, valves, drive chains, control cables, electrics, brightwork and seat, while other noteworthy features include a 'Chinamo' 12-volt generator (purchased from the VOC), Amal Concentric Mk1 carburettors and a stainless steel exhaust system and fastenings. In addition, the speedometer and magneto have been refurbished, the wheels rebuilt with stainless steel spokes, and the fuel tank repainted to match the glassfibre fairing, the speedy removal of which is facilitated by a quick-release wiring connector. Included in the sale, the original front mudguard has been replaced with an abbreviated item that does not foul the fairing. The panniers were obtained new from Craven carriers with the gel coat colour matching the paint, while Vincent specialist Phil Primmer made the mudguards, again with colour-matched gel coat. Described by the private vendor as in generally excellent condition, this uniquely distinctive Rapide is offered with old-style logbook and Swansea V5 registration document.
- The illustration in the catalogue is incorrectly numbered 258