Lot 251 - 1950 Vincent Black Lightning *UNDER OFFER*
|Estimate||£105,000 - £140,000|
Vincent Motorcycles began motorcycle production in 1928 and were well established after World War II when they launched the 1000cc Black Lightning. This was a production version of the Black Lightning which held the world land speed record, with a similar engine specification. On 13th September 1948, Rollie Free achieved the US national motorcycle speed record at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah riding the first Vincent Black Lightning. During test runs Free reached average speeds of 148.6mph. To reduce drag, Free stripped to his swimming shorts for the final run, which he made lying flat with his legs stretched out and his head low, guiding the Vincent by following a black stripe painted on the salt bed. The stunt worked as Free covered the mile in 23.9 seconds, passing the 150mph barrier and on the return run he reached a record average speed of 150.313mph. This led to one of the most famous photographs in motorcycle history, known as the "bathing suit bike". The American Motorcyclist Association certified Free's record. Innovative features of the bike included the first-ever Vincent rear shock absorber, the first Mk II racing cams and horizontally mounted racing carburettors. In 1950, Rollie Free returned to the Bonneville Salt Flats and broke his own record, averaging speeds of 156.58mph on the Vincent despite a high-speed crash during those speed trials. Available to order, a standard Black Lightning was supplied in racing trim with magnesium alloy components, special racing tyres on alloy rims, rear-set foot controls, a solo seat and aluminium mud guards which reduced the Lightning's weight to 380lb. The 998cc air-cooled OHV pushrod V-twin specifications were always based on standard parts but upgraded with higher performance racing equipment. The Black Lightning had higher strength connecting rods, larger inlet ports, polished rocker gear, steel idler gears, racing carburettors and a manual-advance magneto and was available with compression ratios between 6.8:1 and 12.5:1. This resulted in 70bhp and a top speed of 150 mph. Only 31 Black Lightning's were ever built before production ended in 1952.
This 1950 Vincent Black Lightning was purchased by a well known classic motor cycle dealer in Berkshire in 1979. The purchase was made from the deceased estate of a gentleman who had emigrated from Kent to Massachusetts, USA, taking his collection of motorcycles with him, although it is unknown if this particular machine went with him from the UK or he purchased it whilst in the USA. Over the next couple of years, this Black Lightning was reassembled with all the parts that came from the United States and was sold to a new owner in 1985. He then sent the Vincent to Crosthwaite & Gardiner of East Sussex for a complete restoration which was completed in the late 80's. Around 1990 this owner sold it back to the classic motorcycle dealer in Berkshire who in turn sold it to the vendor who has kept it in pristine condition on display in his house ever since only using it once or twice. We are informed by the owner that prior to the sale the bike will be fully serviced and checked through so it is ready to use. This is a very rare opportunity to purchase what can only be described as a piece of Motorcycling art and a fantastic investment.
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Buyers are advised to inspect the car in person or use a professional to carry out this service.