1952 Vincent Black Lightning Replica,
Lot 337
1952 Vincent-HRD 998cc Black Lightning Replica Frame no. RC 3470 Engine no. F10AB/1C/3573
Sold for £28,750 (US$ 48,294) inc. premium
Lot Details
1952 Vincent-HRD 998cc Black Lightning Replica
Registration no. PKE 998
Frame no. RC 3470
Engine no. F10AB/1C/3573
Rear frame no. RC/1/6804

It is known that 'PKE 998' was bought in the 1950s through Conway Motors of London by the Megett brothers, motorcycle repairers of West Malling, Kent ('PKE' is a Kent County Council mark). During this time it was used for racing and was known to Don Godden. It was later sold to a Mr Cogger of Larkfield who sold it on to Mr Vant of Chatham.

Don worked on the Vincent while it was in Mr Cogger's possession and sneaked several exciting rides on it, dreaming of owning such a mighty machine that was, at the time, way out of his reach. In later years and more affluent times he sought the machine out, found it residing in a barn and managed to buy it from Mr Vant in October 1969 (purchase receipt on file).
The Lightning was fully restored by Martin Peak of Hillgate Motors in 1970 and occasionally ridden on the road (it should be noted that the exhaust pipes are muted for that purpose). Related invoices from Hillgate Motors and Harper Engines Ltd are contained within the history file together with an MoT certificate that expired in November 1971.

Although a replica, 'PKE 998' is registered and was bought as a Black Lightning. The engine has the all-important '1C' stamping (apparently un-tampered with) identifying it as a Black Lightning unit, though there are no crankcase mating numbers discernible between the cylinders. However, no record exists of this engine being paired with a particular frame and it is possible that it was originally supplied for use in a racing car (most likely a Cooper).

The engine number is incorrectly recorded in both the green continuation logbook and the old-style Swansea V5, both mistakes appearing to be clerical errors. When acquired, the rear frame member did not have provision for a stand and this was swapped for a roadster frame with a stand. Therefore, the rear frame number does not match the front frame number.

The Lightning Replica has stood in Don's sitting room since restoration and has not run since 1973. Although the engine is free and has good compression, it is recommended that the purchaser strip the engine for inspection and cleaning, prior to starting it.

Saleroom notices

  • We've been advised that engine number '3573' was issued to a Vincent Comet supplied to Ropers in Sheffield. Therefore the engine fitted to this lot cannot be an original Lightning unit.
  1. Ben Walker
    Specialist - Motorcycles
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