1950 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series-C Frame no. RC7636B Engine no. F10AB/1B/5736
Lot 132
1950 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series-C
Frame no. RC7636B Engine no. F10AB/1B/5736
US$ 110,000 - 130,000
£ 83,000 - 98,000

Amended
Lot Details
1950 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series-C Frame no. RC7636B Engine no. F10AB/1B/5736 1950 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series-C Frame no. RC7636B Engine no. F10AB/1B/5736 1950 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series-C Frame no. RC7636B Engine no. F10AB/1B/5736 1950 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series-C Frame no. RC7636B Engine no. F10AB/1B/5736 1950 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series-C Frame no. RC7636B Engine no. F10AB/1B/5736 1950 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series-C Frame no. RC7636B Engine no. F10AB/1B/5736 1950 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series-C Frame no. RC7636B Engine no. F10AB/1B/5736 1950 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series-C Frame no. RC7636B Engine no. F10AB/1B/5736 1950 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series-C Frame no. RC7636B Engine no. F10AB/1B/5736 1950 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series-C Frame no. RC7636B Engine no. F10AB/1B/5736
1950 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series-C
Frame no. RC7636B
Engine no. F10AB/1B/5736
• Works Order Form available
• Vincent Owners Club Dating Certificate
• Matching numbers

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, offering adjustment of 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 Stevenage v-twin's stupendous performance that captivated motorcyclists, whether they could afford one or not. The appeal of the Vincent, and the Black Shadow in particular, lay in its ability to out-perform just about every other vehicle on the road, and in the early post-war years there was nothing to compare with it. This was a time when the average family sedan was barely capable of reaching 70mph!

Indeed, when it was introduced in 1946, the Vincent-HRD Series-B Rapide was immediately the fastest production motorcycle on sale anywhere, with a top speed of 110mph. The basic design clearly had even greater potential though, as was demonstrated by the tuned Rapide known as 'Gunga Din', ridden by factory tester George Brown, that proved unbeatable in UK motorcycle racing in the late 1940s. Private owners too had expressed an interest in extracting more performance from their machines, all of which convinced Philip Vincent that a market existed for a sports version. Despite opposition from within the company's higher management, Vincent pressed ahead with his plans and together with Chief Engineer Phil Irving, clandestinely assembled a brace of tuned Rapides. The prototypes incorporated gas-flowed cylinder heads, Comet cams, polished con-rods and larger carburetors, these changes being good for a maximum output of 55bhp despite a compression ratio limited to only 7.3:1 by the 72-octane petrol that was the best available in the UK at the time. Ribbed brake drums were fitted to cope with the increased performance, while in a marketing masterstroke Vincent specified a 5-inch-diameter '150mph' speedometer and black-finished engine cases for his new baby: the Black Shadow. With a claimed top speed of 125mph, soon born out by road tests, the Vincent Black Shadow was quite simply the fastest road vehicle of its day. Deliveries commenced in the spring of 1948 and only around 70-or-so Series-B Black Shadows had been made before the improved Series-C's introduction at that year's Earl's Court Motorcycle Show in west London.

The Black Shadow was indeed a legend in its own lifetime, and in the 60-plus years since production ceased the esteem in which this iconic motorcycle is held has only increased, fueling the demand among discerning collectors for fine examples of the marque, such as that offered here, which retains matching frame and engine numbers. Vincent's definition of matching means that the frame and engine serial numbers are actually 1900 apart...the engine's being the lower of the two. The factory Works Order Form comes with the bike showing that it originally came with a sealed-beam headlamp and completed its road test just before Christmas on December 21, 1950. There is also a Vincent Owners Club Dating Certificate . The WOF clarifies that the bike's destination was the Indian Sales Corporation in San Francisco, California to be dispatched in a crate on January 3, 1951. However, very little else is known of the history of this Black Shadow. The seller states that it has recently been overhauled by an experienced technician with 'Stevenage blood in his veins' and is in need of break-in, so that it can perform well for another 68 years, or more.

Footnotes

  • As with all Lots in the Sale, this Lot is sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note, this motorcycle is titled under the engine number and under the model year 1951.
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