1954 Vincent Black Shadow
Year of manufacture1954
Property of a deceased's estate
1954 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series-C Project
Registration no. KBX 430
Frame no. RC/1/9179 (see text)
Engine no. F10AB/1B/10018
Rear frame no. RC/1/9179
Crankcase mating no. B5V
The ultimate 1950s superbike
Matching frame and engine (see text)
Offered for restoration
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. This was a time when the average family sedan was barely capable of reaching 70mph, and not until the advent of Jaguar's XK120 was there a production sportscar that could live with the thundering v-twins from Stevenage. 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 this Black Shadow was first registered on 17th June 1954 as 'KBX 430' and was last taxed for the road to the end of August 1971. Although not fitted, the original upper frame ('RC/11918B'), which has been repaired, is included in the sale. The current upper frame is from a 1951 Series-C Comet. Offered for restoration and sold strictly as viewed, this incomplete machine comes with an old-style V5 registration document, indicating that it has been in the current ownership since at least March 1978.