Lot 242 - 1950 13103 Black Lightning

Lot 242 - 1950 13103 Black Lightning

Lot 242 - 1950 13103 Black Lightning

Lot Number 242
Engine Number AA52
Estimate £75,000 - £90,000
Result Sold - £65,000

Vincent Motorcycles began 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 but with a similar engine specification. On 13th September, 1948, Rollie Free achieved the U.S. national motorcycle speed record at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah riding the first Vincent Black Lightning and, during test runs, reached average speeds of 148.6mph. To reduce drag, Free stripped to his swimming shorts for the final run which he famously 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 150mph. Only 31 Black Lightning's were ever built before production ended in 1952.
 
Ted Davis was employed by Vincent's from 1947 until 1959 as an engine builder, tester, development engineer and racer. Started in the winter of 1949 and completed by the following spring, Ted built this bike starting with crankcases AA52. The first race with this bike took place at Haddenham followed by Cadwell Park, Croft and Brands Hatch. Ted was a more than competent rider but often came second to a Vincent colleague, George Brown, the Development Manager.  He set about modifying his bike to sidecar specification which included 16" wheels, lower gearing and a Watsonian sidecar; his race partner, in this format, was another Vincent colleague, Ron Kean. Clearly this was a good combination as they managed a number of outright victories. George Brown then parted company with Vincent and Ted Davis became the Development Manager. After the demise of Vincent, Ted became Development Manager for Borg Warner. When Ted finished racing in the seventies, he had the bike completely rebuilt by Furness and Searle (who were also both  ex-Vincent employees). It was to be returned to original Black Lightning trim with black engine, alloy WM1X 21" front wheel and WM2X 20" rear wheel, twin start pump Scintilla Magneto, big bore heads and clip-fitting GP carburettors. In 1979, Ted Davis sold the bike to Brian Verral Motorcycles in London who subsequently sold the Vincent to a private collector. Apart from the occasional parade, the bike was seldom used in his 30 years of ownership. Currently owned by a very knowledgeable Vincent enthusiast, this Black Lightning has been run for a short distance, most recently in June 2013. Vincent Black Lightning's are rare to find, and one with a history and pedigree such as this is sure to capture the attention of enthusiasts worldwide.

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.

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