1951 Vincent 998cc Rapide Series C
Registration no. VMU 560
Frame no. RC 97341C
Engine no. F10AB 17834 CCase Matching No's
H.R.Davies, a successful T.T. rider had established his own 'H.R.D' company in 1920s Wolverhampton, where, despite an excellent range of machines, it failed to survive. The 'H.R.D'name and assets were moved to Stevenage by Philip Vincent, who produced an eclectic range of machines, culminating in his pre-war 'tour de force', the Rapide V-twin of 1936. Together with the smaller Comet and Meteor, it was a design to be reckoned with until the onset of WW2.
Post-war, Vincent and Phil Irving again stunned the industry with their Series B Rapide and Black Shadow'models combining ground-breaking frame and engine-unit technology in hugely powerful and fast machines. The still futuristic design, using innovative suspension front and rear and its unique engine forming a unit with the frame was and still is astonishing in an era where rigid-framed 'singles' were the industry staple. And go they did, topping 100 mph with absolute ease, constrained only by Britain's poor road network and most rider's inability to pay for one in the Austerity era. Kept alive by exports, the H.R.D. firm survived liquidation in 1949, then producing the Series C with the company's own 'Girdraulic' front forks to cope with the powerful brakes, the whole under the re-branded 'Vincent' badge.
Hugely famous and desired by the riding elite though it was, the firm struggled to survive, finally being taken over after the Series D re-design, their again astonishing streamlined fairings failing to sell well enough with production ceasing in 1955. Since that point, of course, there never have been enough Vincent machines to go round and those which survived have been eagerly snapped up by new generations of riders.
VMU 560, the Vincent offered here, is more road ready than most. It has been the subject of an extensive and thorough rebuild effected with the intention of making the 'Rapide' more suitable for more modern road conditions and for the new generation of riders more used to modern machines. To that end, Black Shadow finned brakes and a centre stand are incorporated, as well as a genuine 'Shadow speedometer, modern electronics and, importantly, an effective electric starter. The invisibility of the 'mods' and the vendor's conviction that the world's most outstanding motor cycle deserves still to be used in safety, will prevail.
Offered for sale at the end of the vendor's riding career, the Rapide is offered with a V5C document and V.O.C. dating certificate. A very high-spec. Vincent indeed.
- The last two digits of the upper frame number are covered by the Vincent transfer.