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Creamer Black Shadows

david bowen

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
Non-VOC Member
At the Hever rally last July a vincent member told me he owns GNK389 he bought many years back from Mike Creamer who was a old Vincent employee, when he left Vincents he went To Lawton and Wilson, Southampton later he was building Creamer Black Shadow how many? I would like to know
 

Marcus Bowden

VOC Hon. Overseas Representative
VOC Member
The one Creamer "BS" that Hugo mentions and the first owner John Vane is local in the Plympton area and lived across the valley to Pat Wilson, Wilson of the Lawton & Wilson (Southampton). John worked for Pat on more than one occasion as he had M/C shop stocking all-sorts, then had an agency for Bonds & Relient's I think then moved to Roots group cars and use to have my Rap in his air conditioned show rooms as I use to be away 4 to 10 months at a time, John recalls Pat giving instruction for my bike to be taken for a run and this got John wanting a Vincent again, another BS local but passed on a few years later.It was through Pat when invited to the 21st Annual Dinner along with PCV & HRD also other dealers ? that on the Sunday morning breakfast Pat invited PCV over to have breakfast with him which he did enquiring how he was returning home, he said "by train" Pat took him home after treating both of us to lunch at Ketteners ( nice restaurant in London), their discussion over the pros & cons of gear or chain drive I recall as Pat had already told me of his TRIALS Flash as it had been stolen from his Emerdon Mine lock up warehouse, few years later police recovered it and he gave it to me along another early twin motor, chain driven timing side 500, half time pinion was made with a double sprocket and cam and mag had double sized matching sprockets, wish I new how to put a picture on here. that was 1969 and my visits to No 7 apartment started and PCV was always so enthusiastic to tell me the latest development on his rotary engine, my visits stopped in 1972 after his first stroke as Elfreda was I think a little embarrassed with PCV physical condition and made it clear that she didn't think it good for me to call again. I should of call twice as often in hind sight.
 

david bowen

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
Non-VOC Member
Marcus when Mick Creamer left Vincents he went to Lawton and Wilson, did he make the Creamer black Shadows of his own back of were they made by Lawton and Wilson ? see you in NZ March30th David
 

Marcus Bowden

VOC Hon. Overseas Representative
VOC Member
Last time contacting John Vane was when Hugo was talking about his bike & Mike C so will contact again and get chapter and verse.
As for making it to NZ for 2014 is not looking good as it's been nearly two weeks since writing to the shipping company that I had a short contract with to get sea time for revalidating my engineering certificates so can sign on at full capacity, but only want to be supernumerary as then can join and leave with out disrupting ships manning, no reply yet. The aims are to use my steam engine driving certificates that I achieved in 1975 (with great assistance from Christine including six failures) but have never use it as Fyffes upgraded to motor ships. Hoping to use it on the SS Ernslaw at Queenstown which will be 102 years old in 2014, then do the NZ VOC national rally and achieve getting the first "A"Rap into NZ, My latest exploits to wish Professor Higgins Happy Birthday over in Gothenburg (Sweden) members said they've never known an "A"Rap in Denmark or Sweden, quite a run 2,395 miles in ten days seven of which was rain and plenty of it with easy starting and never missed a beat and the mag is fitted with an "Easy Cap"condenser under the fixed contact breaker,(unbelievable) and can be changed at the road side in short order nearly 6 k since fitting. So thats about it, must get back and finish the mods on Old Harry and adjustments as had a couple of breakages that weren't noticed till I got home.
bananaman
 

Hugo Myatt

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
The story as I know it of my 'Creamer Black Shadow'. This began life as a 1952 Rapide (registered 1953) and was supplied to its first owner by Lawton & Wilson of Southampton. Unfortunately the original buff log book was not returned to me, despite my request, when it was exchanged for a green one and so I have lost the details of the various owners. However the original log book stated clearly that it was a Black Shadow and it was not for some years that I noticed the frame/engine numbers were for a Rapide. It seems the bike was returned to Lawton & Wilson at some point and they then sold it on to John Vane in 1956. This is an extract from John's letter to me regarding the bike.

'When I bought the bike it was a standard Rapide, and during the eighteen months or so between purchase and my return from Germany (RAF), it was totally rebuilt to Shadow spec. by Mike Creamer who had been working at the Vincent factory for many years until production ceased, and then moved to Southampton to become Lawton & Wilson's chief mechanic.

Mike was, in my opinion, the finest Vincent mechanic in the country, with his vast experience gained from years at Vincents. His wife even worked in the wages department!

In addition to full Shadow engine spec, Mike fitted Shadow drums and speedo plus Specialloid 8 - 1 pistons.'

John sold the bike in 1961. I acquired the bike in 1963 for £60 (eat your hearts out). It was in very poor condition, neglected and looked as if it had been left out in the open for some considerable time. The vendor said he had bought it to power a saw table but couldn't make it work! The front forks were seized solid and one of the RFM tubes was bent.

The engine was not black enamelled and the cycle parts were finished in a very dark grey, described as Fish Grey in the log book. The gearbox had the high ratio Black Shadow gear and had been modified to double backlash. The clutch was modified for a Lightning friction disc. At some point the front steel brakeplates had been modified with airscoops and stiffening gussets. The magneto had platinum points.

I rebuilt the forks and replaced the RFM and rode it in this condition for some years. It seemed to me that it was a very fast bike but a pig in traffic. Eventually I was side-swiped by a car. The car caught the off side front brake cable, which besides having me off and putting me in hospital, bent the brakeplate outwards destroying it and the airscoops.

At this point I decided to renew the big end. This was a mistake. On stripping the engine I discovered the perfectly matching conrods to be beautifully polished all over. I have always suspected they may have been Vibrac. I sent the assembly to a then well respected Vincent specialist. The assembly came back with two very ordinary and un-matching conrods. My youthful protestations got me nowhere. Over the years the machine has been re-incarnated as a red Touring Rapide.


The 'Creamer Black Shadow' badge was not fitted to the machine and I suspect that this was the first example and that the badges were a later addition to subsequent Creamer models.

Hugo
 
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david bowen

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
Non-VOC Member
Have had a few Trips in the SS Ernslaw spent most of the time looking down on that wonderful old steam engine, the Farm that you visit has Vincent History, many years back was owned by Vincent owner John Von Tunzelmans family, Marcus we have a working steam Tug boat in Port Adelaide name Yelta built in Scotland 1883
 
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