Bonhams | 16-Oct-2016 | The Autumn Stafford Sale Important Collectors Motorcycles | Venue : Stafford, Staffordshire County Showground
Category : Classic Motorcycles
Lot No. : 213
Year : 1946
Engine Size : -
Registration No. : 984 XUW
Chassis No. : # R2011
Engine No. : # F10AB/1/12
No longer available - Sold or withdrawn from sale


• Believed to be the oldest complete and original post-war Vincent in existence
• Exported new to Denmark
• Enthusiast owned and maintained
• Present ownership since 2009
The outbreak of WW2 in 1939 brought production of all Series A models to a halt, and when Vincent resumed production at the war's end it was with the all-new Series B. Its rear suspension aside, the Series A Vincent-HRD had been conventional enough: tubular steel frame, girder forks, separate gearbox, etc but with the Series B Messrs Vincent and Irving effectively established the marque's reputation for the defiance of convention in the pursuit of engineering excellence. For a start there was no 'frame' as such, merely a fabricated box attached to the cylinder heads that served as the oil tank and incorporated the headstock and attachment point for the rear springs. The gearbox was integral with the engine, and the swinging arm pivoted directly in the engine/gearbox casings, features commonplace today but unusual 60 years ago. Only in his retention of the pre-war Brampton girder fork did Phillip Vincent appear to be lagging behind other manufacturers, almost all of which had switched to telescopics, but this apparent shortcoming would soon be addressed by the adoption of the famous 'Girdraulic' fork. Introduced in 1946, the Vincent-HRD Series-B Rapide was immediately the fastest production motorcycle on sale anywhere, with a top speed of well over 110mph. The basic design clearly had even greater potential though, which would be realised later in the form of the Black Shadow and Black Lightning models.
This 'matching numbers' Series-B Rapide is believed to be the oldest complete and original post-war Vincent; it was exported to Denmark on 20th October 1946 and remained there until 2009. Always in the hands of enthusiasts, the Rapide was very carefully maintained by its last Danish owner - a Vincent enthusiast and the editor of a technical engineering magazine - for 20 years. Illness forced the Vincent's sale and the current owner bought it in 2009. Since then it has run faultlessly and seen only a little use, with maintenance limited to the usual fuel/oil change at the beginning of each season. It appears entirely original, as far as can be ascertained, except for the exhaust; the previous owner fitted an after-market pipe to relish the engine's roar. Kept in a heated garage as part of a private collection since purchase, the machine is offered with a V5C document.