Year of manufacture1951
1951 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow
Registration no. LOP 408
Frame no. RC9359B
Engine no. F10AB/1B/7459
Rear frame no. RC/1/6745
Crankcase mating no. TT45
The fastest road vehicle of its day
Matching upper frame, engine and crankcase mating numbers
Current ownership since 1982
Ever since the Series A's arrival in 1937, the Vincent v-twin has been synonymous with design innovation and engineering excellence. 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. With a top speed approaching 120mph and bettering it in the Black Shadow's case, the Vincent v-twin was quite simply the fastest road vehicle of its day.
Vincent Owners Club records show that Black Shadow 'LOP 408' was despatched from the factory in August 1951. The registration, frame, engine and crankcase mating numbers are all correct; however, the rear frame, 'RC/1/6745', is from a Series-C Comet. This Shadow's original rear frame is currently in a Vincent with upper frame 'RC/1/6745', indicating that these two machines once belonged to the same owner, who switched the rear frames.
The current owner bought the Black Shadow from John Surtees in 1982. Its previous owner was Trojan Vintage, whose proprietor, Peter Agg, would have been well known to Surtees. The owner found the Shadow difficult to start on its standard magneto and carburettors. Eventually he took the Vincent to marque specialist the late Chas Guy of Conway Motors, then at Whitstable in Kent, who fitted a 6-volt coil ignition system using a FIAT distributor that replaced the magneto. He also fitted Amal Concentric carburettors. This transformed the starting procedure and greatly improved the riding pleasure. Subsequently, the machine was taken to specialist Ron Kemp in Wales, who adjusted the cylinder liners and tuned the carburettors. Later still, the fuel tank was restored and re-sprayed it, and the timing cover and clutch cover powder coated. More recently new tyres were fitted and the machine fully serviced. It has not been ridden since it was last taxed for the road in 1999. The vendor purchased the Vincent to ride and enjoy, but because of his advancing years feels that it should now be passed to a new owner. 'LOP 408' comes with a substantial history file containing Team Surtees correspondence; old-style continuation logbooks (x2); an old-style V5 registration document; a quantity of expired MoTs and tax discs; sundry invoices and magazines; and an original Rider's Handbook and Spare Parts List. The original magneto and carburettors are included in the sale.