One owner for 60-plus years
1938 Vincent-HRD 498cc Series-A Meteor Project
Registration no. FGT 446
Frame no. D1554
Engine no. M629
The Vincent-HRD marque originated in 1928 when Philip C Vincent acquired the name, jigs, tools and patterns of the recently liquidated HRD Company. ('HRD' stood for Howard Raymond Davies, the Isle of Man TT winner who had founded the firm in 1924). Like Davies before him, Vincent relied on proprietary engines until increasing dissatisfaction with suppliers led to the creation of Vincent's own in 1934. An overhead-valve, 500cc single, this all-new power unit was designed jointly by PCV and his Chief Engineer Phil Irving. Messrs Vincent and Irving brought fresh thinking to the design of what would become known as the Series-A motor, opting for a relatively short stroke of 90mm coupled to an 84mm bore, a high-set camshaft and two guides for each valve with the rocker arm engaging between them; the sum of all these features resulting in a compact engine with considerable scope for tuning. The names 'Meteor' and 'Comet' were chosen for the touring and sports versions respectively of the stylish new Vincent-HRD, which had not even been started, let alone ridden, when it was first exhibited at the 1934 Motor Cycle Show at Olympia. Fortunately, during the show a tester achieved a speed of 90mph on a Comet, a highly respectable figure for a 500cc sports roadster and one that fully justified Philip Vincent's prior performance claims. In the 1935 Isle of Man Senior TT, three of the new Vincent-HRDs finished in 7th, 9th and 12th places, demonstrating that they possessed reliability as well as speed. Sales increased steadily but the Vincent was an expensive and exclusive product, and ownership remained the privilege of a wealthy few. Production of all Series-A Vincent-HRDs ceased on the outbreak of WW2, and today the single-cylinder Meteor and Comet the machines that effectively kick-started the Vincent legend are highly prized by discerning collectors.
This Vincent-HRD Meteor comes with an old-style continuation logbook showing that the recently deceased owner acquired it in 1950, though the vendor (his son) recalls his father owning the machine from the mid/late 1940s. Used regularly until 1957 when its owner acquired a car, the Vincent has been under cover in dry storage since the last tax disc expired in December '57. It has been protected by a Waxoyl-like preservative and we are advised that the engine turns over and the gears select. Accompanying documentation consists of the aforementioned old-style logbook and old Swansea V5. Sold strictly as viewed, 'FGT 446' represents a rare opportunity to acquire one of the legendary Vincent-HRD Series-A singles, ripe for sympathetic restoration. A quantity of spare parts is included in the sale.