1947 Vincent 998cc Series B Rapide
Frame no. R2287
Engine no. F10AB/1/288
That Vincent was swiftly recognized as the world's most prestigious motorcycle so soon after the end of WWII is a remarkable story in itself, given the UK's then acute shortage of quality materials, and the fact that the country's huge demand for motorcycles at that time was exclusively for fundamental transport. Bucking the trend proprietor Phil Vincent bravely persevered with production of 'B' Series models, which had been "tidied", and, since 1939, mechanically improved, thanks to the input of brilliant designer Phil Irving. Britain's industrial survival, however, depended on a culture of Export or Die, a philosophy prompting Vincent to sell their wares overseas, to which they responded very successfully, earning precious foreign currency in the process.
Registered in the London area for sidecar use the two-owner Vincent was supplied new to a gentleman in London on 4th November 1947, it having left the Stevenage factory some nine months earlier. The machine's well documented history accompanying confirms that the sidecar was removed from this low mileage Rapide in December 1966, since when its specially fitted Girdraulic forks have remained in place. In the first ownership for more than 40-years the Vincent was purchased by the vendor in Scotland, during 1989, after which it was partially stripped for freighting to Florida, and subsequently re-assembled into what the current owner describes as "...concours condition." In the last few months, the bike has undergone some recommissioning and, for the first time in 22 years, it is reported to start and run. While still in need of some further fettling prior to regular use, it is said to be in good "all around condition", with a new headlight and wiring.
Many early post war Vincents were of course labeled "Vincent-HRD", with various caps and castings carrying an HRD logo. The factory later deemed that their US customers might be confused by other vee-twins made by a not-so-obscure manufacturer in downtown Milwaukee, where after the HRD nomenclature was deleted. It's a stigma however that, as far as knowledgeable motorcyclists were concerned, never really applied! Amongst a wealth of items offered alongside the machine is a generous quantity of transmission, engine, and chassis parts, plus a number of books relating to Vincent. As well as bearing the correct engine and frame numbers there is a further visible enhancement with the addition of a 5-inch Shadow speedometer, together with the bike's original green British Log Book.
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