Phil Vincent acquired the motorcycle company HRD in 1928 and shortly after brought in the brilliant engine designer Phil Irving to help him with his new enterprise, the rest as they say, is history. These two brilliant engineers firstly built 500cc single cylinder models before quickly moving onto their famous 1000cc V-Twin design, an engine that set the company apart from all their competitors. After the war they were soon renowned for building ‘The World’s Fastest Production Motorcycle’ in the form of the Vincent Black Shadow and their status as one of the great marques in motorcycles was assured.
Vincent continued to develop the range of motorcycles that they offered with improvements coming in with the various new ‘Series’ that were launched and this ran from the earliest V-Twin the A-Series Rapide through to the final incarnation of the model the Series-D. These later D-Series bikes were produced with a design that allowed for the machine to be encased with fibreglass panels that Vincent felt would produce the ultimate ‘gentleman’s motorcycle’. The model also had a redesigned seat unit and oil tank location. As it turned out there was a delay in the production of the fibreglass panels resulting in over half the Series-D models leaving the Stevenage factory un-enclosed or ‘open’ as they are often referred to.
As with all designers, Phil Vincent thought that his latest creation was his finest and he promoted the Series-D strongly with this sentiment however the motorcycle buying public were less open to the idea of the new enclosed looking Vincent and sales were poor. The bulky bodywork clearly not conforming to the public’s perception of the Vincent as the ultimate sports-bike. The company lost money on every machine built and when production ceased in December 1955 only 460 Series-D twins had been built making these ‘last off the line’ machines some of the rarest of the Vincent models.
The bike we offer here is believed to be an early example of these Series-D Vincents. First registered on the 22nd March 1955, this example was sold before the fibreglass panels were ready so it has always been in ‘open’ specification. Quite amazingly this machine has been in single ownership since the current owner acquired the bike in 1961! The History file that accompanies the bike is just wonderful, it has the bill of sale from 1961 showing the part exchange of a 500cc Royal Enfield, the buff log book from this period showing single ownership, motor insurance policies through the 1960s as well as all the MOT certificates from 1963/64/65/66/67 and on. As well as this there are 100+ receipts and invoices for parts and servicing starting in 1964 that show the history of the bike perfectly such as the Monza fuel-cap being fitted in 1965 and the 5” speedo being acquired in 1982.
Sadly the frame number does look like it has been over-stamped and the engine number has had a digit erased from it. This was clearly not a concern to the 20 year old buying the bike in 1961 but we are aware that it does affect its value now hence why the bike is so amazingly priced. This bike is not for the purest as there are numerous parts on the bike that are not standard or original specification however this bike is definitely for the owner who wants a bike to ride as mechanically it is excellent and the history file shows that this bike has always been well loved and well looked after.
In this time of matching numbers and owners being too precious to use their bikes, this is the perfect machine to use and enjoy. Phil Vincent always claimed it was his best bike so who are we to argue!
The Vincent is available for immediate inspection by Cotswold Collectors Cars.
Vincent Comet 1952, non matching numbers, nice bike rides and starts fine, petrol tank has been treated. Dave Hills centre stand fitted, A good usable machine, decent chrome, ride away, very realistic.....
This unique outfit has a VOC authenticated white shadow engine, one of only 17 built, and a history set out by VOC. It is very nicely restored and had a full engine rebuild by the owner before last.....