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Machine 1951 Vincent 998cc Rapide


Graham Smith

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Auction House
Bonhams
Location
The Autumn Stafford Sale, Stafford, Staffordshire County Showground
Date of Auction
20 October 2019
Lot Number
348
Price
Sold for £ 26,450 inc. premium
Auction Link
https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/25384/lot/348/
Registration no. LXY 35 (see text)
Frame no. RC8316B Rear Frame no. RC7402 (see text)
Engine no. F10AB/1/5502 Crankcase mating no's. KK55 / KK55 (see text)
• An older restoration
• Laid up since circa 2002
• Present ownership since 2012

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. Philip Vincent's machines bristled with innovative features while the finish was to a very high standard commensurate with the cost of the machine, which was virtually double that of any of its contemporaries. But above all else it was the v-twin's stupendous performance that captivated motorcyclists, whether they could afford one or not. With a top speed approaching 120mph, and bettering it in the Black Shadow's case, the Vincent v-twin was the fastest road vehicle of its day.

This Series-C Rapide was purchased by the immediately preceding lady and gentleman owners - both active members of the Vincent Owners Club - in December 1997 from Mr C J Biggenden, who had bought it from a Mr P A Noble in January 1987. There is correspondence on file between Messrs Biggenden and Noble concerning the change of upper frame (originally 'RC7402' and now 'RC8316B'). One of these letters refers to the Vincent being rebuilt by a previous owner, who may well have fitted the matching Smiths 150mph speedometer and tachometer, and the Amal Mk1 Concentric carburettors.

Mr Biggenden was obviously a dedicated enthusiast, keeping a detailed log of all faults, maintenance and routine servicing, together with mileage, which consists of 17 typed A4 pages (close inspection recommended). This record runs from purchase in January 1987 (at 386 miles) to July 1997, by which time Mr Biggenden had covered some 17,700 miles on the Vincent. It would appear that the Rapide covered a further 4,000 miles (the current odometer reading is 22,701) before being laid up following the then lady vendor's partner's death around 17 years ago.

The current vendor purchased the Rapide at Bonhams' Oxford Sale in June 2012 (Lot 153), since when it has not been used. Accompanying documentation consists of various bills of sale, a quantity of invoices, and eight MoTs (most recent expired 1998). Re-commissioning and the customary safety checks are advised before returning this machine to the road following its lengthy period of inactivity.

We are advised by the Vincent Owners Club that the numbers of the upper frame and rear frame are non-factory stampings. Accordingly, prospective purchasers must satisfy themselves with regard to the composition, suitability and authenticity of the machine's components as well as the validity of the vehicle registration number prior to bidding. Offered with old/current V5C Registration Certificates.

Screenshot 2019-10-20 at 22.43.58.pngScreenshot 2019-10-20 at 22.43.37.pngScreenshot 2019-10-20 at 22.43.11.pngScreenshot 2019-10-20 at 22.42.51.pngScreenshot 2019-10-20 at 22.42.41.pngScreenshot 2019-10-20 at 22.42.23.pngScreenshot 2019-10-20 at 22.42.16.pngScreenshot 2019-10-20 at 22.42.01.pngScreenshot 2019-10-20 at 22.41.42.pngScreenshot 2019-10-20 at 22.40.07.png
 
Last edited:

Graham Smith

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I'd be interested to know what @vin998 says about these numbers.

Not sure I've seen many possible re-stamps in the flesh.
 

Graham Smith

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vin998

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I'd be interested to know what @vin998 says about these numbers.

Not sure I've seen many possible re-stamps in the flesh.
The problem is I've have seen too many restamps and there are several reasons owners get the stamps out. In the past it used to be to match registration document to bikes rather than get correct documentation and more recently it's to make engine and frames match or to pass off new replica parts (usually engines) as originals all for financial reasons. The other potential reason is to hide stolen parts.
Without explaining how numbers are checked, as I don't want to give hints to the restampers how to do it correctly, I would have to agree with Bonhams description of the frame numbers.
 

Albervin

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VOC Member
I don't think one would have to be an "expert" to have concerns about the RFM but the UFM would have certainly not raised alarm bells. Reading the Bonhams description I think a certain ex-employee was still alive and "active" when the bike was built/assembled.
 

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