1951 Vincent Rapide
Year of manufacture1951
Property of a deceased's estate
1951 Vincent 998cc Rapide Project
Registration no. GET 891
Frame no. RC/9358/E
Engine no. 10/AB/1/7458
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.
In 1948 the Vincent range began to be up-dated from Series B to Series C specification. The most significant changes made concerned the suspension, there being a revised arrangement at the rear incorporating curved lugs for the seat stays and an hydraulic damper between the spring boxes, while at the front the new models boasted Vincent's own 'Girdraulic' fork: a blade-type girder fitted with twin hydraulic dampers. These advances began to find their way onto production models during 1948 but it would be 1950 before all Vincents left the factory in Series C specification.
This 'barn find' Series C Rapide was purchased by its late owner circa 1969 (sales receipt on file) and was last taxed for the road in 1976. In June of that same year it failed the MoT test (worn fork bushes and rear wheel bearings) and almost certainly was taken off the road for repairs that were never carried out. Offered for restoration and sold strictly as viewed, the machine comes with two old-style continuation logbooks; a quantity of expired tax discs and MoT certificates; numerous old invoices; various instruction manuals; and a parts list.