1949 VIN­CENT-HRD WHITE SHADOW PROJECT

Classic Bike (UK) - - LOT STUFF -

Cho­sen by: Ben Walker

Sold at: The Spring Stafford Sale 2017 Sale price: £163,900

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 em­pha­sis on ap­pear­ance and per­for­mance is leg­endary.

His ma­chines bris­tled with in­no­va­tive fea­tures, with ad­just­ment of brake pedal, footrests, seat height and gearchange lever. The fin­ish was to a high stan­dard com­men­su­rate with the cost of the ma­chine, vir­tu­ally dou­ble that of its ri­vals.

The ap­peal of the Vin­cent, and the 120mph-plus Black Shadow in par­tic­u­lar, lay in its abil­ity to out­per­form just about ev­ery other ve­hi­cle on the road, and in the early post-war years it was unique. This was a time when the av­er­age fam­ily sa­loon was barely ca­pa­ble of reach­ing 70mph, and not un­til Jaguar’s XK120 was there a pro­duc­tion sports car that could live with the thun­der­ing V-twins from Steve­nage.

But not ev­ery Shadow-spec­i­fi­ca­tion ma­chine left the fac­tory with the dis­tinc­tive black-fin­ished engine cas­ings, those few that did not be­ing known as ‘White Shad­ows’ and iden­ti­fied by a ‘1A’ engine num­ber pre­fix. Only a rel­a­tive hand­ful of these White Shad­ows are known to ex­ist to­day, a to­tal of 16 be­ing listed with the Vin­cent Own­ers Club.

Ac­quired by the then-cur­rent ven­dor in March 1973, the bike was mainly rid­den by his fa­ther, a mo­tor­cy­cle enthusiast who had hith­erto not ex­pe­ri­enced the joys of rid­ing a Vin­cent. Af­ter he died in 1975, the Vin­cent was put into stor­age, where it re­mained un­til the Bonhams sale in April 2017. ‘Barn find’ Vin­cents of any kind sel­dom come to light and this White Shadow, one of the rarest of post-war Vin­cents, has to be one of the most de­sir­able.

“At first, I thought this was ‘just’ a Black Shadow. But check­ing the his­tory with the help of the own­ers club, I re­alised it was a much rarer White Shadow, made to look like a Black Shadow. Es­ti­mated at £50,000-60,000, it made much more, sell­ing to a de­ter­mined Amer­i­can Vin­cent col­lec­tor.” Ben Walker

This White Shadow had been made to look like a less-rare Black Shadow, with a black-fin­ished engine

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