A long lost Vincent 1938 HRD Series A Rapide found among a collection in Japan has been sold at a H&H auction to a British buyer bidding on the phone for £ (about $A444,500).
The amount is just short of the £275,000 (about $A456,800) world record for a Vincent sold in 2008.
H&H Classics spokesman Mark Bryan says this bike was once owned by legendary racing driver, car builder and TV presenter Alain de Cadet.
“The Series-A Rapide is seen as gold dust,” he says. “Vincent was a small manufacturer in competition with Brough. But Vincent, unlike Brough, built their own engines. These bikes are incredibly collectable and in value they are closing in on the Brough.”
Vincent produced only 78 of these bikes between 1936 and the summer of 1939, and only about 50 survive today. It was nicknamed the ‘plumbers nightmare’ because of all of its external oil pipes.
The Series-A Rapide produced 45bhp at 5500rpm from a 998cc V-twin with a top speed of 110mph (160km/h).
When the Series ‘A’ HRD was announced in October 1936, it caused a sensation by being the fastest production vehicle.
The decision to fit two of the well proven HRD Meteor cylinders on to a common crankcase formed the basis for the renowned B, C and D Vincent twins.
They remained in production until 1955. All of these models are highly sought after, but none is as rare as the Series ’A’ twins, the last of which were made in 1939.
The bike sold at auction has been carefully stored in recent years. Numbers for the frame, engine, gearbox, oil pump and magneto all match those on the original Works Order Sheet.
Details of the motorcycle were verified by the Vincent HRD Owner’s Club. It is unique among Series ‘A’ twins as the only example photographed with Phil Vincent aboard.
This appeared in an article in ‘The Motorcycle’ in September 1940 which was reprinted in the VOC magazine ‘MPH’ issue 193 in February 1965.
By 1988 the bike was discovered with Brian Verrall of Tooting as a non-runner in need of restoration. It was purchased by long-term Vincent enthusiast and former Series ‘A’ Meteor owner Bill Cakebread by part exchanging his Black Shadow.
It was then totally rebuilt by Bill over the next few years and sold back to Verralls in 1993. They sold it to a customer in Japan where it has remained in a private collection.
It was recently discovered by the present owner and returned to the UK.
The registration number CUP 660 was briefly and incorrectly allocated to another replica machine.
However, thanks to records held by a previous owner and support from the DVLA, the number has now been restored to its rightful place.
Classics market ‘strong’
Mark says the strength of the vintage motorcycle market has been growing year on year.
He says it does not seem to have been hindered by the current economic slow down.
He believes the future will see more record-breaking prices posted.