1952 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series C, Frame no. RC8161B, Rear frame no. RC8161B Engine no. F10AB/1B/6261

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Lot 146
1952 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series C,
Frame no. RC8161B, Rear frame no. RC8161B Engine no. F10AB/1B/6261

US$ 35,000 - 50,000
£ 27,000 - 38,000
To be sold without reserve
Amended
1952 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series C

Frame no. RC8161B, Rear frame no. RC8161B
Engine no. F10AB/1B/6261
• Matching numbers
• Iconic motorcycle
• Found in a dry warehouse after 30 years sitting

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 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.
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. 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 55 horsepower despite a compression ratio limited to only 7.3:1 by the 72-octane gasoline 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 Series-C's introduction at that year's London Earl's Court Motorcycle Show.

This Series C Shadow has matching upper frame and engine numbers as reported by the seller who in turn consulted the VOC for confirmation. It comes from a collection of Vincent motorcycles found in 2019 after 30 years in a dry warehouse in Chicagoland. However, it is known that it was originally shipped to Siser, Turin, Italy on March 7, 1951. This project bike, thought to be complete, carries no guarantee as to that completeness, its originality and condition. It will require a complete restoration. Any potential buyer must satisfy themselves as to the status of this lot.

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

  • The title will be in transit.
Contacts
1952 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series C, Frame no. RC8161B, Rear frame no. RC8161B Engine no. F10AB/1B/6261
1952 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series C, Frame no. RC8161B, Rear frame no. RC8161B Engine no. F10AB/1B/6261
1952 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series C, Frame no. RC8161B, Rear frame no. RC8161B Engine no. F10AB/1B/6261
1952 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series C, Frame no. RC8161B, Rear frame no. RC8161B Engine no. F10AB/1B/6261
1952 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series C, Frame no. RC8161B, Rear frame no. RC8161B Engine no. F10AB/1B/6261
1952 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series C, Frame no. RC8161B, Rear frame no. RC8161B Engine no. F10AB/1B/6261
1952 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series C, Frame no. RC8161B, Rear frame no. RC8161B Engine no. F10AB/1B/6261
1952 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series C, Frame no. RC8161B, Rear frame no. RC8161B Engine no. F10AB/1B/6261
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