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Lot 507: c.1948 Vincent 998cc Rapide Motorcycle Combination

Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles, Bonhams (3 December 2007)

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.

Not only the fastest �solo�, the Vincent v-twin, when hitched to an appropriately sporting �chair�, was also the quickest motorcycle combination of its day. This particular �outfit� comprises a Series-B Rapide attached to a Steib S500 single-seater sports sidecar, a pairing widely recognised as the most desirable combination possible. Vincent Owners Club records show that the frame �R2465� was despatched to Millars in Mitcham in February 1948, while the engine �F10AB/1/195� formed part of a Rapide sent to Eleanor Motors in August 1947. The combination was purchased by the current owner at Brooks� Sale at the Motorcycle World event, Beaulieu on 23rd July 2000 (Lot 2196) having been in the long-term ownership of a Mr Hilyard for the preceding 40-or-so years.

We are advised that the Rapide has been �Shadowised� with the correct pistons, carburettors, brakes and speedometer, and updated with the later Girdaulic front fork and Elton 12-volt alternator. Presented in excellent condition throughout, the machine was last fully serviced, by a Vincent specialist, three years ago when the clutch was replaced, carburettors overhauled, spark plugs replaced and a non-return valve fitted in the oil line. Not used since, it is offered with Swansea V5, SORN and a comprehensive history file containing parts list, restoration invoices, expired MoTs, photographs, etc, dating back many years.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles
Bonhams, Olympia, London,
TypeMotorcycle
Lot Number507
Estimate£20000-£24000
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1948
Condition rating0
Registration numberJLB 878
Mileage-
Chassis numberR2465
Engine numberF10AB/1/195
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors