1950 Vincent 998cc Rapide
Registration no. JHO 51
Frame no. RC7283
Engine no. F10AB/1/5383
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. From Rollie Free's capture of the 'world's fastest production motorcycle' record in 1948 on a tuned Series B Black Shadow to the final fully enclosed Black Knight and Black Prince, Philip Vincent's stress on appearance and performance is legendary. His machines bristled with innovative features: adjustable brake pedal, footrests, seat height and gear-change lever. 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 'matching numbers' Series-C Rapide was purchased at auction by the current owner in 2005, at which time it was described as a 'barn find', having been off the road for over 30 years (see catalogue description on file). Factory records show that it was supplied new in November 1950 to Jenkins & Purser in Southampton. While in the vendor's ownership the machine has been completely restored from the ground upwards over a seven-year period, with most of the work carried out by marque specialist Bob Culver. There are no bills as such, the restoration being documented by a lengthy list of parts used in the process. Completed in 2012, the Rapide was featured in Classic Bike magazine later that year (December edition). A copy of the article is available and makes fascinating reading. Accompanying documentation consists of an old-style continuation logbook (1965), expired tax disc (1969) and V5C registration document.