Archive for ‘Vincent’

December 18, 2016

Big Brother

Thought Police – a 1956 film adaptation of George Orwells dystopian novel published just eight years prior had the ThinkPol riding the then futuristic looking Vincent Black Knight. 

October 10, 2016


Philatelist – beautiful classic British bikes adorn these stamps used to mail letters, postcards, and parcels across the country & world. Issued on July 19, 2005. QE2 looks one way while the motos head the other.

May 12, 2016

My Rushmore

If you had to pick four motorcycles to be carved in Dakota granite like Gutzon Borglums  mighty heads of US history what would they be? Here are mine: Washington is a Vincent Black Shadow; Jefferson is a Kawasaki Z1; Roosevelt a Ducati 916; and Lincoln a Bonneville, new 2016 or old 1968 model.

December 23, 2015

Nine of the Best?

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:

Nine Rockets rockin’ 

Eight Dommies roarin’ 

Seven Comets thumpin’ 

Six Lightings flashin’ 

Five Golden Stars!

Four AJ’s harin’ 

Three Cafe’s brewin’ 

Two Bonnie’s beltin’ 

And a Vincent doin’ the ton along the A3!

December 21, 2015

Dark Night of Winter Solstice

What better way to celebrate the shortest day with a Shadow? Black Shadow that is…

This week has seen an unprecedented three Vincent’s for sale on EBay. Lots of money being thrown about too. One currently at $100k, another close to that; both runners and looking good.

There is also a barn find project that hasn’t run for forty odd years. Reserve not met at $38k… You’d be dropping another ten grand on it as well to get ‘er up and running.

I’d better stick to Triumphs….  This X75 in the UK… Now for £25k… Bargain!


November 12, 2015

Sunless Speed

Let’s head into the weekend at a hundred miles per hour – average! This is the beefy Black Shadow which, in 1952, set a six hour endurance record on the racetrack at Montlhery. This very machine was sold at auction a couple of years ago for $200,000. That’s four hundred bucks a mile.

October 4, 2015

Rolling Free

A madcap recreation of the renowned speed run record carried out by Rollie Free in 1948 aboard what has become known as ‘The bathing suit bike’. A Vincent Black Lightning was used then but this dedicated speed freak is on an early 70’s Triumph Bonneville to capture glory. It won’t reach the 150mph Vincent record but it shown nerve and pluck.

July 11, 2015

Number One

When Willie G Davidson came to work as head designer in the early seventies he went about rebranding an already three quarters of a century old  company to make it #1. The U.S. Tank badge is iconic.

The other vee twin motorcycle that truly was number one is of course Vincent. Their gold Mercury heralding the wheels of speed. 


May 8, 2015

Starry Starry Night


Just listed….. Gonna sell my kidney….. Or my soul…. 

“Offered for auction is a restoration project from HARRIS VINCENT GALLERY, in Austin, Tx.  This motorcycle is a completely non-matching bike!  The purpose of it being rebuilt is to move outside the traditional lines of VINCENT sales and offer a just-restored bike to riders who want to have the “Vincent Experience” and not but put into poverty!  The engine cases are not sanded or polished, but exactly as made a half-century ago.  The outer cases are the original polish and we haven’t redone them so they’re like it was when sold (plus 60 years of patina!)

The engine unit is a 1949 VINCENT H.R.D. engine, completely restored by us.  The transmission has new internal components.  New pistons, bearings, valves all combine to produce a solid and fresh VINCENT for the successful bidder.

Maybe you never had a VINCENT and want to try one.  This will be the bike for you and if they’re not for you, so what!  You aren’t locked into a big auction house to sell it.  It’s a rider’s bike.  New tires, new bearings, fresh seat, rewly overhauled, genuine SMITHS Rapide correct speedometer, new grips, built to ride.  Sure, we do show – winning restorations and our bikes win the big shows.  But, we like to see guys enjoy our bikes and on this one, we know you will.  

Engine number is: F10AB/1/1432. upper frame number is R3495 and there is no number on the rear from number because we had to replace the lugs.

The Rapide does not come with a title but it does come with a bill of sale.  This is motorcycle is a really nice rider and a great motorcycle to enjoy.”




April 21, 2015

Top Speed


The progression of fast. This chart represents the fastest production motorcycles over the last century. The decades long plateau reflects a half century reign of two British Greats: Brought Superior SS100 (TE Lawrence’s ride of choice)  and the veritable Vincent Black Shadow. The steeper section have the early racing developments and the latter competitive superbike wars. My 1985 Ninja 900 takes up a few years in the late eighties.


April 11, 2015

Lion of God


Blue-Sky beauty: I spied a glorious Ariel motorcycle whilst passing through Evanston earlier today. The glossy light blue color-scheme glinted in the corner of my vision.


It is of course the Square Four, a double parallel twin designed by Ed Turner in the 20’s. An unusual arrangement which made sense for compactness, however cooling the rear pair is a necessity. Which this owner has undertaken with a small oil cooler just behind the down tubes.



A real head-turner that cried out to be photographed..



Stasis in darkness.
Then the substanceless blue   
Pour of tor and distances.

God’s lioness,   
How one we grow,
Pivot of heels and knees!—The furrow

Splits and passes, sister to   
The brown arc
Of the neck I cannot catch,

Berries cast dark   

Black sweet blood mouthfuls,   
Something else

Hauls me through air—
Thighs, hair;
Flakes from my heels.

Godiva, I unpeel—
Dead hands, dead stringencies.

And now I
Foam to wheat, a glitter of seas.   
The child’s cry

Melts in the wall.   
And I
Am the arrow,

The dew that flies
Suicidal, at one with the drive   
Into the red

Eye, the cauldron of morning.

March 21, 2015

A Dash of Salt

One of the most famous motorcycling photos was taken in 1948 of a speedo suited Rollie Free lay prone along the backbone of a Vincent Black Lightning and tore along the Bonneville Salt Flats at 150.313 mph.


The image goes down in history giving Vincent the title of fastest production motorcycle in the world. The “bathing suit bike” came into the possession of Herb Harris the Austin TX collector (whose ‘shop I visited yesterday) before being sold recently for $1.1 million. His trailer is still adorned with the iconic outline.


Now that is history.

January 31, 2015

A Fit Collection

I stopped in to the foyer of Worlds Gym along Montrose Avenue earlier today. No, not to join the crowds of treadmill crunching, weight hefting fanatics! But to have a gander at a superb collection of a dozen mint vintage motorcycles. An exceptional X75 Hurricane…


…next to its standard Trident brethren.


A crimson Norton Atlas.


Nearby its papa M30 International. Black & Silver monochromatic corker.


Matchless. Clean. Stout hearted. G80.


The cats whisker. A Panther M100 Redwing. Distinctive by its sloper engine.


The collection belongs to Al Philips. An alcove behind the entry foyer had the hat trick. Three Vincents… Here’s the superlative Black Lightning.


September 14, 2014

X-Ray Spex


Looking into the very bowels of a monster. This cutaway engine taken from a Vincent shows the oilways, meshed gears, even the peep of a piston. Blood red slices and shiny ebony skin hint at a vigorous pulse inside.

July 24, 2014

A girl could feel special on any such like


Wonderfully evocative photograph illuminates a couples youth as rider and pillion aboard a worthy steed: The Vincent. Home-fashioned leathers give a ‘we don’t care’ attitude – ‘ heck, we’re on a Superbike! But we do need to be clad for blighty roads and climate’. The image is labelled In & Aunty Corice. Fabulous!

Acknowledgements to Richard Thompson