Friday, October 22, 2010

John's 1000 Vincent


A Vincent, probably the most dreamed motorcycles of all time. John has been lucky and persevering enough to find this bike and make his dream come true.
Thank you John for sharing your dream with us, your bike is stunning. Frank

I had always wanted a Vincent ever scince I saw a picture in “Classic Bike” when I first got interested in bikes in the early 1980’s. I had no idea what they cost, even then, but when i found out i thought it was so far out of my reach. I was only ever into British bike, because I just thought they were the coolest and at that time hardly anyone rode them except for a few Triumphs and the odd Norton or BSA’s.

My first bike was a BSA 650, then I upgraded to a 850Norton Commando, and I have had Commandos ever since. But I still wanted a Vincent 1000....

If you want something bad enough, you often eventually get it!

I bought this Vincent for US.$6,680 in 1989 from “Domiracer” in Cincinati, Ohio in the US Midwest over the phone. I was in the US on holliday at the time, staying in L.A and had the bike shipped there, before on to England. The guy on the other end of the phone said that it was very reasonably priced because the frame had had its downtubes removed. I didn’t argue, or let him know they never had any…..

On reasearching the history of the bike, I found out it was drag raced in the 60’s by a well known sprinter by the name of Ed LaBelle in Philadelphia I believe.

The bike was despatched from the Vincent factory in Stevenage, Herts to the Indian Sales Corp in the US on 15th November, 1949, as a standard 998cc Rapide, but notes on the factory records say “actual ‘show’ machine, steel guards, police bars, crash bars 18.19 tyres”.

The engine had oversize valves, special high compression pistons and beautifully ported inlet tracts matched to Dellorto 34mm racing carbs, along with special cams etc when I took possession.

The magneto is a special Magnesium bodied Lucas racing KVFTT item, with manual advance, that were only fitted to the record breaking Black Lightning models, and extremely rare.

After I got the bike back to England, I took the motor up to be totally rebuilt by one of the best Vincent engine builders in the Vincent world, Bob Dunn.

It took a long time, but when I collected the engine, it was a piece of art! Bob fitted some decompression plates under the barrels to bring the compression ration down to around 9 – 1 so it is a little more civilised at it was drag raced on alcohol at very high compression.

He fitted new oil pump, cam gear and repaired or replaced anything that was required

The magneto was completely renovated to new condition by Dave Lindsey.



Anonymous said...

gorgeous. and very jealous of the left hand kicker it came with too.

well done.

Nolan Woodbury said...

Frank, please clarify; is John's bike the Egli-style cafe' shown in the pics or the Rapide? In the first photos, there are several bikes shown.

Nevertheless, great feature. There are many of us who dram of owning a Vincent! =)

Nolan Woodbury
Vintage Motorcycles Online

Motart said...

Hi Nolan
John's Vincent is the caferacer and for the others in the garage i dont know but i guess ...
Chhers, F

John lagdon said...

They are all mine!