Matching numbers, restored to Black Shadow specification,1951 Vincent 998cc Rapide Series-C Frame no. RC10144 Engine no. 10AB/1/8244

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Lot 147
Matching numbers, restored to Black Shadow specification,1951 Vincent 998cc Rapide Series-C
Frame no. RC10144 Engine no. 10AB/1/8244

US$ 60,000 - 75,000
£ 43,000 - 54,000
Amended
Matching numbers, restored to Black Shadow specification
1951 Vincent 998cc Rapide Series-C
Frame no. RC10144
Engine no. 10AB/1/8244
• Winner at 2005 Newport Concours d'Elegance
• Extensively restored and upgraded
• Comprehensive history file included

What's in a name? Shakespeare knew, and so did Philip Vincent. When upgrading the specification of his already fastest-in-the-world Rapide roadster, Vincent created the legendary Black Shadow. In truth, of course, the Shadow was essentially a selectively assembled Rapide with a few minor parts changes – which any speed-seeking Rapide owner could match if desired. That's exactly what has happened with this 1951 Rapide, its owner taking the occasion of a full restoration to elevate the bike to Black Shadow spec, with some additional touches incorporated for good measure.

One thinks the man behind the motorcycles would approve. After all, Philip Vincent himself is reported to have said, "There's no such thing as a standard Vincent."

Standard or modified, there's a singular joy in piloting a big Vincent, as journalist Neale Bayly found out when sampling a Rapide for Motorcycle Classics magazine, his first time aboard a Stevenage twin: "Within minutes we're on the highway and shifting up into fourth gear, and as that big speedometer settles on 55mph, I start to relax and enjoy the ride," he wrote. "The exhaust note is muted, but there is a delightful cadence from the big V-twin and a veritable mechanical orchestra playing away under the tank. Pushrods, valves and other mechanical parts harmonize perfectly as we accelerate and decelerate to maintain position on the highway."

In the comprehensive history file that will accompany the bike is a copy of the original works build sheet, details of several UK owners and paperwork showing the Vincent was shipped to the U.S. in the mid-1970s. A San Francisco gentleman then purchased the matching-numbers Rapide and restored it to stock trim in 1980-81. Unfortunately, it was stored in a garage that was not entirely weatherproof; worse, after a few years it remained unridden. When acquired by the current owner in 2002, the bike had deteriorated somewhat, enough that a full restoration was in order.

After a complete stripdown of engine and frame, it was decided to round up the proper parts and bring the bike back in "Shadowized-plus" form. Besides the signature black-painted cases, a cylinder rebore, new pistons and an overhauled top end, the motor was treated to twin-plug heads, electronic ignition and twin coils, the latter completely hidden. Power now makes its way to the rear wheel via a Lightning primary clutch, needle roller throwout bearing and new clutch shoes, all carefully set up. Shouldered alloy rims – Akront and Campagnolo, 21in. front, 20in. rear¬ – certainly look the part, as do the polished stainless-steel fenders that hug the wheels. More news up front are the twin front brakes, fortified with Shadow ribbed drums and Lightning backing plates, the latters' air scoops left in bare metal to highlight the modification. Then as now, nothing underscores a motorcycle's speed potential more than monster brakes required to bring the brute to a halt.

The view from the Feridax dual saddle across the embroidered vinyl tank cover to the flat handlebar is a good one, rewarded with a trademark Black Shadow 5in., 150mph speedometer in the middle, a Smiths Chronometric tachometer to the right and a rare Smiths 8 Day clock to the left. The odometer reads just 4,306mi., believed by the vendor to be actual mileage. Unseen are LED light bulbs throughout and a halogen conversion of the original Miller headlight. A Dave Hills roll-on centerstand greatly eases parking chores. Receipts from both the 1980-81 and the 2002-03 restorations are to be included in the bike's history file.

The completed machine, proudly flying "Black Shadow" script on its front number plate, presents exceedingly well, as noted by the judges at the 2005 Newport Concours, who awarded the Vincent the show's Best Motorcycle trophy.

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, the title is in transit
Contacts
Matching numbers, restored to Black Shadow specification,1951 Vincent 998cc Rapide Series-C Frame no. RC10144 Engine no. 10AB/1/8244
Matching numbers, restored to Black Shadow specification,1951 Vincent 998cc Rapide Series-C Frame no. RC10144 Engine no. 10AB/1/8244
Matching numbers, restored to Black Shadow specification,1951 Vincent 998cc Rapide Series-C Frame no. RC10144 Engine no. 10AB/1/8244
Matching numbers, restored to Black Shadow specification,1951 Vincent 998cc Rapide Series-C Frame no. RC10144 Engine no. 10AB/1/8244
Matching numbers, restored to Black Shadow specification,1951 Vincent 998cc Rapide Series-C Frame no. RC10144 Engine no. 10AB/1/8244
Matching numbers, restored to Black Shadow specification,1951 Vincent 998cc Rapide Series-C Frame no. RC10144 Engine no. 10AB/1/8244
Matching numbers, restored to Black Shadow specification,1951 Vincent 998cc Rapide Series-C Frame no. RC10144 Engine no. 10AB/1/8244
Matching numbers, restored to Black Shadow specification,1951 Vincent 998cc Rapide Series-C Frame no. RC10144 Engine no. 10AB/1/8244
Matching numbers, restored to Black Shadow specification,1951 Vincent 998cc Rapide Series-C Frame no. RC10144 Engine no. 10AB/1/8244
Matching numbers, restored to Black Shadow specification,1951 Vincent 998cc Rapide Series-C Frame no. RC10144 Engine no. 10AB/1/8244
Matching numbers, restored to Black Shadow specification,1951 Vincent 998cc Rapide Series-C Frame no. RC10144 Engine no. 10AB/1/8244
Matching numbers, restored to Black Shadow specification,1951 Vincent 998cc Rapide Series-C Frame no. RC10144 Engine no. 10AB/1/8244
Matching numbers, restored to Black Shadow specification,1951 Vincent 998cc Rapide Series-C Frame no. RC10144 Engine no. 10AB/1/8244
Matching numbers, restored to Black Shadow specification,1951 Vincent 998cc Rapide Series-C Frame no. RC10144 Engine no. 10AB/1/8244
Matching numbers, restored to Black Shadow specification,1951 Vincent 998cc Rapide Series-C Frame no. RC10144 Engine no. 10AB/1/8244
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