Creamer Black Shadows

david bowen

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Non-VOC Member
Made after factory closed, Mick Creamer worked at Vincents for many years then worked for Lawton and Wilson Southampton UK
 

Hugo Myatt

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VOC Member
Made after factory closed, Mick Creamer worked at Vincents for many years then worked for Lawton and Wilson Southampton UK

I have told this story before. When Mike Creamer worked at Lawton and Wilson in Southampton he offered a service converting Rapides into ‘Black Shadows’, the so-called ‘Creamer Black Shadows’. My Rapide was one of these. In fact, as the registration book stated it was a Black Shadow, I in my ignorance bought it as such in 1962. The following is an edited extract from a letter from the previous owner, John Vane. (Not to be confused with Ron Vane.)

“I owned ---- (the Rapide) from 1956 to 1961, a very exciting and formative period of my time with bikes, which started in 1952 and still continues today.

The bike was purchased from Lawton and Wilson, the Southampton Vincent dealer, whilst I was on leave from the R.A.F. in Germany, and on my posting to Oakington near Cambridge, was used to get me home to Winchester each weekend, plus countless trips to race meetings etc.

When I bought the bike it was a standard Rapide, and during the eighteen months or so between purchase and my return from Germany 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 Vincent 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 spec. Mike fitted Shadow drums and speedo plus Specialloid 8 – 1 pistons, one of which I am using as an ashtray as I write this letter”

This letter is probably twenty years old now. In addition Mike Creamer also fitted the Shadow high bottom gear and a Lightning style primary clutch friction disc. I only discovered it was really a humble Rapide some years after I bought it when I became more interested in engine and frame numbers.

Hugo
 

Hugo Myatt

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Just in case anyone misconstrues the above I did not buy the Rapide from John Vane. After he sold it it went rapidly (no pun intended) through a number of hands before I acquired it.
 
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Peter Holmes

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VOC Member
Hugo, You are a very lucky man, Marcus Bowden recounts a conversation he had with Phillip Vincent whereby Phillip stated that Black Shadow crankcases were chosen because they were imperfect or flawed in someway, and painting them black hid a multitude, so you have the perfect machine, Rapide top notch crankcases converted to a Shadowised Rapide.
 

Marcus Bowden

VOC Hon. Overseas Representative
VOC Member
Hugo my handsome, John & Kim Vane still live on the east side of Plymouth, not having been to their new dwelling yet, as they did live across the valley from Pat Wilson of (Lawton & Wilson) near Emidon Minesfor many years, went to see John shortly before he moved and went for a ride ,he jumped on OLD HARRY and I on his 750 VFR, he left me standing even with all that wonderful power for excceleration & braking on the moors, OK it was his back yard but in the 60's when I was on my work Comet I overtook him on a bend when he was riding a Ducati single 250 cc desmo (I think) , he said after it made him feel like getting off and walking. The Rapide on the bench at the moment was lightning-ised by Clifford Brown, even down to 21" front and 20" rear, 1" 3/16" type 29 carbs, magnesium B/P's , humped up petrol tank, Vincent snack size panniers but not Vibrac rods. "Q" were Picadors fitted with Vibrac connecting rods. Just noticed the "A" rods seem to be a little heavier constructed than the post war one.
 

Hugo Myatt

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VOC Member
Hugo my handsome, John & Kim Vane still live on the east side of Plymouth, not having been to their new dwelling yet, as they did live across the valley from Pat Wilson of (Lawton & Wilson) near Emidon Minesfor many years, went to see John shortly before he moved and went for a ride ,he jumped on OLD HARRY and I on his 750 VFR, he left me standing even with all that wonderful power for excceleration & braking on the moors, OK it was his back yard but in the 60's when I was on my work Comet I overtook him on a bend when he was riding a Ducati single 250 cc desmo (I think) , he said after it made him feel like getting off and walking. The Rapide on the bench at the moment was lightning-ised by Clifford Brown, even down to 21" front and 20" rear, 1" 3/16" type 29 carbs, magnesium B/P's , humped up petrol tank, Vincent snack size panniers but not Vibrac rods. "Q" were Picadors fitted with Vibrac connecting rods. Just noticed the "A" rods seem to be a little heavier constructed than the post war one.

Marcus,

Its great to hear that John is still thriving. I think it is possible that his/my Rapide may have been the first of the Creamer Shadows as the later ones had a small badge attached proclaiming them as Creamer Black Shadows which my one lacks. It is also possible that Mike fitted it with Vibrac rods. They were very beautiful and polished all over. Unfortunately when I had the big end replaced by a company in Kent, whose name I forget, the flywheel assembly was returned minus the beautiful rods and fitted with an unmatched pair of ordinary Rapide rods. Someone had an eye for the main chance, eh?

Hugo
 

david bowen

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Non-VOC Member
Hugo. how many do you think there were made, Ted Davis many years back told me there were six, Ted also told me Lawtons, bought all the Grey Flash parts that Vincents had as they were going to build road Grey Flashes
 

Hugo Myatt

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VOC Member
Hugo. how many do you think there were made, Ted Davis many years back told me there were six, Ted also told me Lawtons, bought all the Grey Flash parts that Vincents had as they were going to build road Grey Flashes

David,

That's the number I heard but I may have got the info from Ted as well. Regarding Grey Flash parts I was in Humphreys, Hamstead Road when the customer in front of me bought their last G/Flash/Lightning rear brake pedal assembly. Also in a bike shop just outside Chichester I spotted a genuine G/Flash rev counter displayed in a glass case. I returned several times but they would not sell it to me.

Hugo
 
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