2008 Shannons Melbourne Spring Classic Auction
c1955 Vincent Rapide Solo Motorcycle
This lot is no longer available
Vincent was a well-established name on the world stage by the early post-war years and the Rapide recognised as being the world's fastest production motorcycle. Originally launched in 1937 as the Series A, the Rapide utilised an air-cooled V-twin, designed by Australian engineer Phil Irving, in a frame with cantilever rear suspension, stainless steel tank,a foot-change Burman gearbox with four-speeds and a side stand. Developing 45 hp, the earliest V-twins suffered from gearbox and clutch problems, something Vincent addressed with the Series B of 1945, through a move 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 7-inch single-leading shoe brakes front and rear. Vincent built Rapides during the war and 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 the Vincent a very comfortable ride. Production of the Rapide, in Series C and D guises, continued through until 1955. Bristling with the latest in thinking, the Vincent Rapide was certainly one of the best high performance motorcycles on the market but quality never comes cheap and the high price meant the bike was well beyond the reach of most when new.