Ever since the Series A’s arrival in 1937, the Vincent v-twin had been synonymous with design innovation, engineering excellence, and superlative high performance. So, in September 1955 when it was revealed that production of the Stevenage-built machines would cease, the news stunned the motorcycling world. It had been decided that the firm’s future lay in more profitable lines of manufacture. By the time its demise was announced, Vincent’s final twin – the Series D – had been in production for just six months.
It had been Philip Vincent’s belief that provision of ample weather protection combined with enclosure of engine and gearbox, would make the Vincent Series D the ultimate ‘gentleman’s motorcycle’, though delayed delivery of the glass fibre panels – plus continuing demand for traditionally styled models – resulted in over half the production leaving the Stevenage factory in un-enclosed form. The enclosed Rapide and Black Shadow were known as the ‘Black Knight’ and ‘Black Prince’ respectively. Other Series D innovations included a new frame and rear suspension, and a user-friendly centre stand, plus many improvements to the peerless v-twin engine.
Sadly, its creator’s vision of the Series-D as a two-wheeled Grande Routière just did not conform to the public’s perception of the Vincent as the ultimate sports motorcycle. The firm lost money on every machine made, and when production ceased in December 1955 around 460 Series-D v-twins had been built, some 200 of which were enclosed models.
Registered as a motorcycle combination from new, this Vincent Black Knight was purchased in June 1961 by the current vendor, who is listed as ‘5th change’ on the accompanying original logbook. The Vincent was mothballed between 1970 and 1991 when a major service was carried out, while in 1992 the sidecar was professionally re-sprayed. Since then he machine has been ridden in fine weather to local events and maintained in good order, the engine being run during periods when the machine was not being used. Noteworthy features include a V3 clutch and an hydraulic steering damper. The original clutch parts, a solo-rate rear suspension unit, and the (removed) sidecar brake mechanism are included in the sale.
Having reached the age of 80, the vendor now finds it difficult to start the Vincent, hence the decision to sell. Accompanying documentation consists of a quantity of VOC Spares Company invoices, MoT to June 2018, a V5C Registration Certificate, and the aforementioned logbook. A genuine Vincent spare parts list is included together with some Vincent tools.
Report by bonhams.com