1951 Vincent 998cc Rapide
Registration no. LXY 35
Frame no. RC8316B
Engine no. F10AB/1/5502
Rear Frame no. RC7402
Crankcase matching no. KK55
Ever since the Series A's arrival in 1937, the Vincent v-twin has been synonymous with design innovation, engineering excellence and superlative high performance. Philip Vincent's machines bristled with innovative features: adjustable brake pedal, footrests, seat height and gear-change lever, while the finish was to a very high standard commensurate with the cost of the machine, which was virtually double that of any of its contemporaries. But above all else it was the v-twin's stupendous performance that captivated motorcyclists, whether they could afford one or not. With a top speed approaching 120mph, and bettering it in the Black Shadow's case, the Vincent v-twin was the fastest road vehicle of its day.
This Series-C Rapide was purchased by the lady vendor and her late partner - both active members of the Vincent Owners Club - in 1998 from Mr C J Biggenden, who had bought it from a Mr P A Noble in January 1987. There is correspondence on file between Messrs Biggenden and Noble concerning the change of upper frame (originally 'RC7402' and now 'RC8316B'). One of these letters refers to the Vincent being rebuilt by a previous owner, who may well have fitted the matching Smiths 150mph speedometer and tachometer, and the Amal Mk1 Concentric carburettors.
Mr Biggenden was obviously a dedicated enthusiast, keeping a detailed log of all faults, maintenance and routine servicing, together with mileages, which consists of 17 typed A4 pages (close inspection recommended). This record runs from purchase in January 1987 (at 386 miles) to July 1997, by which time Mr Biggenden had covered some 17,700 miles on the Vincent. It would appear that the Rapide covered a further 4,000 miles (the current odometer reading is 22,701) before being laid up following the vendor's partner's death around ten years ago, since when the engine has been turned over periodically.
Accompanying documentation consists of the aforementioned history, various bills of sale, a quantity of invoices, eight expired MoTs (most recent 1998) and Swansea V5C. Re-commissioning and the customary safety checks are advised before returning this machine the road following its lengthy period of inactivity.
- The engine number is F10A/1/5502