1952 Vincent Rapide
Year of manufacture1952
1952 Vincent 998cc Rapide Series-C
Registration no. KGB 730
Frame no. RC10677
Engine no. F10AB/1/877
Rear frame no. RC10677
Crankcase mating nos. E39E (left) C39C (right)
Believed to be an older 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 'Series-D' Black Knight and Black Prince, Philip Vincent's stress on appearance and performance is legendary. His machines bristled with innovative features including adjustable footrests, brake pedal, 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 particular Rapide left the factory on 26th March 1952 and carries a 'Cowies of Sunderland' dealer plaque on rear mudguard. 'RC10677' would have left the factory fitted with engine number 'F10AB/1/8777', the crankcase mating number being 'C39C'. The latter is stamped on the timing-side case, whereas the drive-side case is stamped 'E39E' and carries the number 'F10AB/1/877' in a non-standard font. One possible explanation is that the original drive-side case was replaced following damage inflicted by a broken primary chain, and was then incorrectly stamped by the engine builder (the final '7' may have disappeared up the road together with other fragments of the case).
The current vendor purchased the Rapide in 1999. We are advised that the engine has been started twice since acquisition but the machine has not been ridden. It is believed that the machine was overhauled mechanically by a previous owner but no details are available. Re-commissioning required before it returns to the road. Offered with V5C registration document.