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1950 Rapide value


Active Forum Website User
Non-VOC Member
Hey guys, I am a collector of another brand. However I have always admired Vincents and found one that the fellow would consider selling. Someone started to restore it 25 years ago. It is all there and the numbers match, he has a certificate of authentication, he has all the documentation. The bike was taken apart, the wheels respoked, the engine had at least new pistons and rings installed and the tank has been refinished and the seat reupholstered. The engine has been reinstalled and the front end is attached. Would this motor be OK after sitting for 25 years. What is this bike worth? What would be an approximate cost to restore this bike? What else should I know? any advice and guidance would be greatly appreciated.


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Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
That's a really helpful comment martyn. Well done.

Mike I am sure that many other people will help you out with advice. I would say the bike will probably want taking apart so you can recheck everything and any work already done. Every now and again we hear of a bike that has been "rebuilt by a professional" only to find it is quite a mess. The only way to be sure is to get it apart and double check it .
As far as value. It is very difficult to say without a bit more info. Is the paintwork original? Are the parts original? Is there any history with the bike? None of these points will make any difference to the fun of riding it though. A non matching machine goes just as well as the very best concourse winner. However, the very best conkers winner will not be taken out in the snow and rain of a fine English summer.

Good luck though and dont be put off. Join the club, it is the best possible way of getting a huge amount of info and making a few friends as well.


Bill Thomas

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Hello Mike, If it has been Dry stored, It might be worth starting it and see what it runs like. Price must be between 20 to 30 thousand UK pounds, There is a Twin engine with some frame parts, i.e. Not compleat, On ebay and it's up to 15 thou UK, And still going up !! They can cost a lot to rebuild, Good Luck, Bill.


Active Forum Website User
Non-VOC Member
Thanks Bill and Comet. I was quite disappointed by Martyn's helpful response, I do not understand why some people, on all forums, feel the need to make sarcastic and condescending comments. I do believe it is probably a numbers matching concourse restoration candidate and it has been stored indoors for the last 25 years. The tank has been refinished and the wheels have been re-spoked, correctly I hope. The frame, front end and most everything else appear to be bone stock. I do know that at one point the bike had a sidecar installed. If I purchase it I would assemble and try to start. I do realize that it will most likely be necessary to tear down and rebuild and refinish everything. I have been quoted $10k US to rebuild the engine, 100 hours plus parts (ballpark). It has also been suggested that I only pay 50% of what the restored value would be. I would probably ride it some after reassembly but not much after a complete concourse restoration. At present I have 2 bikes that I ride and 4 in my collection that are just show/collector pieces (my retirement package). I am also aware that the Rapide C is not as rare as a Black Shadow , Lightning or Rapide A or B models. My info suggests that between 1948 and 1955 2758 C's were produced. As well my research also suggest that a C is probably worth between $30 - $40k US. Do you agree? I do not have pictures, although I have seen this bike and do have a copy of the Vincent Certificate of Authenticity. Guys I have always liked Vincents, think they are way cool, and would love to have one in my collection. This bike might be an ideal candidate for me to restore myself, with some assistance. As such I do not want to pay too much and would appreciate your guidance and suggestions. I have joined the club, have paid the membership fee and do not know why it shows that I am not a member. Thanks in advance for your assistance.



Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Rolling basket case with rebuilt mag, matching numbers sold yesterday for $30K usd. Running older restoration non matching, but nice shape purchased for 40K usd. four weeks ago. Purchased matching rfm 12 hrs later (thank you Gordon), so it is now all matching numbers.

Aproximately $10K usd to fix a rolling basket case. The above bikes are not mine but I was involved in the purchase and sale.

The motor may not have been good after the rebuild 25 years ago. I would split the cases and check the flywheels before final assembly.

Best of luck.

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Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
I'll agree with David's comments, but add; find out who did the engine. You're in Eastern Canada and that's Mike White territory, one of the very best Vincent builders. If Mike did that bike/engine and it's still clean and dry, you're good to go!
Cheers, John

Deleted member 1085

You might also consider how much work you will do yourself. My experience has been it taken me much longer to do the jobs as it was often the first time I had worked on a Vincent twin. They are not difficult machines but experience is worth a great deal in time and minimising frustration. If you are relying on businesses to do the work, you will be reliant on their time and it usually will be more expensive than anticipated. The cost and time will depend on how "particular" you are and how "original" you want parts. The bike I purchased some years ago was known and believed to be OK. Whilst this was the case, I have still had issues with lose spindles, stripped crankcase threads, oiled up plugs etc............! "Caveat emptor". Oh, you could also do with a comprehensive workshop, a lathe and some good friends who are able to offer guidance and help. Just my thoughts.

Martyn Goodwin

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
It was probably your opening gambit about being a collector!


EXACTLY!! Vincents are meant ro be ridden, ridden far, ridden hard and ridden often - not hidden away in a "collection"

Now as to costs, my personal experience is as follows: Irrespective of what documents are provided, irrespective of how good (or bad) the bike looks, irrespective of what anyone, especilally the seller tells you you must approach the purchase of any old bike with the expectation that major restoration work will be required on every aspect of the bike - mechanical, electrical and cosmetic. In my case by bike was advertised as completly restored - only need to add a battery, fuel and oil to pose as a new bike. That was 18 months back. Already I have spent almost as much money as I paid for the bike in repairs and the cash is still pouring into the project. But I consider it all "sunk cost" and that the next tranch of cash(this time for a big end rebuild) is just adding to the investment.

As to purchase prices: one of our section members has just returned from the recent USA auctions and reports as follows: Comets in apparently concourse condition US$25,000 to US$32,000, Rapides US$45,000 to $52,000, Shadows - start at US$110,000 and keep going, Lightnings and/or Grey Flash when on the market are at astronimical prices. And remember at the auctions you get no chance to even start the motor, let alone actually ride the bike before you bid on it.

The other thing to keep in mind is that it costs almost as much to restore a single as it does to restore a twin. Actually, when you consider the Burman box on singles - I expect that overall, a twin may cost less to restore.

Bitter lessons, hard learnt - but there is no way I would part with my Vinnie.
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