2022 Shannons Winter Timed Online Auction

c.1952 Vincent Rapide C-Series 'Black Shadow 1000cc' Motorcycle



Passed In


Engine 998cc V-Twin
Gearbox 4-speed manual
Body Work Solo
Colour Black
Interior Black
Trim Leather
Wheels Wire spoked
Brakes Drums


This lot is no longer available

Vincent was a well-established name by the early post-war years and its flagship Rapide model was widely recognised as the world's fastest production motorcycle, until its ‘Black Shadow’ derivative came along. Originally launched as the Series A in 1937, the Rapide utilised an air-cooled V-twin designed by talented Australian engineer Phil Irving. It was housed in a frame with cantilever rear suspension, a stainless steel tank, a foot-change four-speed Burman gearbox, and a side stand. Developing 45 horsepower, the earliest V-twins suffered from gearbox and clutch problems, something Vincent addressed with the Series B of 1945 by switching to unit construction, with the engine (now using a 50-degree cylinder angle) becoming integral with the frame. Other changes included 'Girdraulic' front forks and triangulated rear springing, plus seven-inch single-leading shoe brakes front and rear. Vincent continued manufacturing Rapides during the war and later moved to a more modern hydraulic shock absorber set-up and semi-sprung seat, while the gear-change and brakes were adjustable for reach to suit the rider, making for a very comfortable ride. Rapides, in Series C and D guises, continued in production through to 1955. Technologically advanced, the Vincent Rapide was certainly one of the finest high performance motorcycles on the market, but its steep price put it well beyond the reach of most enthusiasts when new. Today the Rapides, and their Black Shadow offshoots, have attained cult status among motorcycle fans and survivors are sought after by collectors the world over.