1949 Vincent-HRD 998cc Series-C Rapide

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. Philip Vincent machines bristled with innovative features, the brake pedal, footrests, seat height and gear-change lever all being adjustable. 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 Vincent's stupendous performance that captivated motorcyclists, whether they could afford one or not.

Introduced in 1946, the Vincent-HRD Rapide Series B was immediately the fastest production motorcycle on sale anywhere, with a top speed of over 110mph. The basic design clearly had even greater potential though, which would be realised later in the form of the Black Shadow and Black Lightning models. In 1948 the Vincent range began to be up-dated to Series C specification but it would be 1950 before all Vincent's left the factory in this form.

Despatched new to Huxham's of Dorset in May 1949, this early Series C Rapide was purchased in July 2001 from garage owner Ronald Taylor of Poole (since deceased) via Bernie Allen. The Vincent had been on display in Sammy Miller's prestigious motorcycle museum (catalogue on file) where our vendor had seen it some years previously. The Rapide required a lot of work to return it to the road (see extensive history file). Marque specialist Bob Culver managed to repair the engine crankcases, line-boring rather than replacing them, and sleeved the bearings within the cases. The vendor says that the Vincent performed well thereafter, although very little mileage has been covered since the rebuild.

The Vincent Owners' Club has since confirmed that the original engine number has been removed/polished off and restamped (date unknown). The existing number does not conform to original Vincent factory stampings, and the crankcase mating numbers do not match (''V 6' to the left; 'V 56' to the right). Accordingly, prospective purchasers must satisfy themselves with regard to this motorcycle's authenticity, condition and originality prior to bidding.

The Rapide has not been ridden for at least 4-5 years and will therefore require recommissioning to a greater or lesser extent before returning to the road. Prior to being laid up, it was regularly maintained by the enthusiast owner and is only being sold due to his advancing years. Close inspection of this well presented Rapide is highly recommended. Offered with a comprehensive history file.

Descriptions & pictures bonhams & other

Production Start 1949
Country of origin Great Britain