Single family ownership for over 50 years
1955 Vincent 998cc Black Prince Project
Registration no. WCV 870
Frame no. RD12988B/F (see text)
Engine no. F10/AB/2B/11088
Ever since the Series-A's arrival in 1937, the Vincent v-twin had been synonymous with design innovation, engineering excellence and superlative high performance. So in September 1955 when it was revealed that production of the Stevenage-built machines would cease, the news stunned the motorcycling world. It had been decided that the firm's future lay in more profitable lines of manufacture, and just 100 more of the fabulous v-twins would be completed. By the time its demise was announced, Vincent's final twin - the Series-D - had been in production for just six months.
It had been Philip Vincent's belief that provision of ample weather protection combined with enclosure of engine and gearbox, would make the Vincent Series-D the ultimate 'gentleman's motorcycle', though delayed delivery of the glassfibre panels - plus continuing demand for traditionally styled models - resulted in over half the production leaving the Stevenage factory in un-enclosed form. The enclosed Rapide and Black Shadow were known as Black Knight and Black Prince respectively. Other Series-D innovations included a new frame and rear suspension, a user-friendly centre stand, plus many improvements to the peerless v-twin engine. When production ceased in December 1955, around 460 Series-D v-twins had been built, some 200 of which were enclosed models.
First registered in June 1956, this Black Prince comes with its original logbook recording one William Noble of Falmouth as first owner followed by three others, the last of whom, Roy Drawater (the current vendor's brother-in-law) purchased it in 1963. Around 1967 the Vincent was taken off the road for restoration but the project never got beyond disassembly and the machine has remained in dry storage for the last 47 years. Apparently virtually complete, the only noticeable deviation from standard being the 'DMD Streamliner' front fairing, 'WCV 870' is offered for sale for the first time in 50 years and is sold strictly as viewed. The engine and frame numbers match but it should be noted that, due to a clerical error, the logbook records the latter as 'FF401.638585', which is actually the casting number on the front forks! Expired in May 1967, the last tax disc (still in its holder) is included in the sale together with a selection of Vincent books and manuals, motorcycle waxed overalls and gauntlets.
- The books and manuals detailed in the catalogue are actually MPH Journals.