This 1955 Vincent Rapide Series was at the shop undergoing a complete top end rebuild. The owner reported engine was using about a quart of oil every 100 miles.
After going over the bike it was clear the top end was in need of rebuilding. The breather gear needs retiming and the forks need some TLC too.
Follow along as this piece of classic British Motorcycle history is brought back to life.
Vincent Rapide a brief history.
The Vincent Rapide Series A, was the first and the rarest of the Rapide lineup. First produced in 1936, It was the fastest production motorcycle at that time and was capable of speeds up to 110mph, pretty impressive feat for the era. A total of 78 were produced between 1936 and 1939.
When WWII started Vincent was focused on producing munitions and engines for the war effort, but they also found time to designing the Series B Rapide. The Series B first produced in 1946 saw major design changes and looked quite different from the original Series A. Gone was the “plumber's nightmare”, now all the oil pipes were internal and (Unit Construction) cases were now used, housing the transmission and engine in the same case. The cylinders were now 50° instead 47.5°. The engine was now a stressed member of the frame which also housed the oil tank. This was considered radical at the time.
In 1948 the Series C Rapide (the model pictured here) was released and featured what Vincent called "Girdraulic" front forks which were essentially girder forks with hydraulic damping.
1952 Vincent Black Shadow
1952 Vincent Black Shadow with Lightning engine.
The original owner ordered this combination directly from the Vincent factory. The bike is In the shop for a mechanical restoration: Top end, brakes, replace all chassis bushings and bearings. No cosmetic work.
Full write up and more photos posting soon.
Rebuilt and refinished race hubs( notice the fins). The outer black paint was left to retain the original patina.