Ever since the Series A’s arrival in 1937, the Vincent v-twin has been synonymous with design innovation, engineering excellence and superlative high performance. From Rollie Free’s capture of the ‘world’s fastest production motorcycle’ record in 1948 on a tuned Series-B Black Shadow to the final fully enclosed Black Knight and Black Prince, Philip Vincent’s stress on appearance and performance is legendary. His machines bristled with innovative features, offering adjustment of brake pedal, footrests, seat height and gear-change lever. The finish was to a very high standard commensurate with the cost of the machine, which was virtually double that of any of its contemporaries.
But above all else it was the v-twin’s stupendous performance that captivated motorcyclists, whether they could afford one or not. The appeal of the Vincent, and the Black Shadow in particular, lay in its ability to out-perform just about every other vehicle on the road, and in the early post-war years there was nothing to compare with it. This was a time when the average family sedan was barely capable of reaching 70mph, and not until the advent of Jaguar’s XK120 was there a production sports car that could live with the thundering v-twins from Stevenage. With a top speed approaching 120mph and bettering it in the Black Shadow’s case, the Vincent v-twin was quite simply the fastest road vehicle of its day.
This restored Black Shadow comes with an continuation old-style logbook (issued 1954) listing five owners into the late 1960s, while the old-style V5 lists one owner prior to the current vendor, who acquired the Vincent in 1992. Kept as part of a private collection and used sparingly, the machine was last run in April 2017 and is MoT’d to November 2017. A side stand, 12-volt electrics, and a battery optimiser are the only notified deviations from factory specification. It should be noted that the rear frame member has been re-stamped to match the upper frame.
Report by bonhams.com