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Gold lines on series a 500 tank

Stanley chappell

Active Website User
VOC Member
getting there
I’m on the last leg with my 1938 comet
now to painting tank it’s the red
and stainless steel type.I need to know what the gold lines where ie gold leaf or gold paint I have seen all the information
posted on the forum previously but no mention of what gold lines Were made of
on another subject can any one recommend any one who makes stainless steel tanks in uk.thanks for you’re help
don’t know what I whole do without you
 

mercurycrest

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I'd go with gold paint. Mine are gold leaf and I doubt that the originals were G. leaf. Too much time and money involved and I've never seen gold leaf on an original Vincent tank.
 

delboy

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
getting there
I’m on the last leg with my 1938 comet
now to painting tank it’s the red
and stainless steel type.I need to know what the gold lines where ie gold leaf or gold paint I have seen all the information
posted on the forum previously but no mention of what gold lines Were made of
on another subject can any one recommend any one who makes stainless steel tanks in uk.thanks for you’re help
don’t know what I whole do without you
Hi Stan,
Hmm. I'd be a bit wide-eyed if anyone could tell me catagorically that the pre-war tanks were gold leafed or paint lined. Who has a guaranteed untouched pre-war tank any more with cast Iron providence?
Period photos are hard to come by that show any detail of the line on the top of the tank as most photos are broadsides. So it's exact position is open to some debate. I could envisage the gold line covering the join twixt paint and stainless, but I certainly don't have any hard evidence and many tanks are not done exactly this way.
I have only ever seen a couple of photos of a Comet completely untouched since 1939, but sadly the paint and line details are long gone.
The BBF Co. in Coventry [who still seem to exist] made the tanks for Vincent HRD and I wonder if they came fully finished and lined? Or maybe just lined out at Stevenage? A soldered tank would be ticklish to stove enamel I would think.
I wouldn't mind betting they had to set up from scratch again after the war as Coventry took a real beating from Bombing. The post-war tanks came from Homers, I think.
So, sorry Stan, I'm no practical help! At the end of the day, if it's lined out nicely with leaf or paint, who is out there to argue it's wrong, except the lucky bloke with some exceptional period photos or an unmolested bike
Cheers,
Delboy.
 

Peter Holmes

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Well the factory ceased production in 1955, then there was Harpers and then Cope Allman, somewhere along the line Jack Furness and Alf Searle set up their Vincent repair and restoration business at Cromer, I am not exactly sure when because I think one or both of them were retained by Harpers. I also do not remember exactly when I started visiting them, it would have been sometime after 1965 when I purchased my Rapide, but I do remember presenting them with a newly painted fuel tank that I had had painted elsewhere, but I just wanted it lined and transferred, I am certain that I recall them saying that they were still able to use the "old chap" that did all the factory tanks back in the day, and that he used gold leaf on the lines, or is my memory playing tricks on me?
 

Albervin

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
As far as I recollect, gold leaf was placed onto a fine line of varnish painted onto the metal. When the varnish dried the excess leaf was carefully removed to be used again. Then a fine line of varnish was painted over the gold leaf. Expensive and time consuming. A friend restored a room in his 1880s house in Sydney. The gold burnish on the central ceiling "Rose" cost $8,000. The gold was 24K and about 0.0005" thick. I think very early Sunbeams used gold lining.
 

mercurycrest

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Pre-war or post-war, too?
Both. Gold paint leaves a dull greyish/white stripe when worn or bleached out on the postwar bikes I've seen. The only "possibly" original tank I've seen was on the 1935 Comet that was the 1st A exported. It spent most of WW2 hanging by a rope in a Dutch Well, so may have been repainted, but it had the dull greyish/white stripe too. Gold leaf is just "gone,"nothing left. I used old style oil based size and it would leave a crappy, brownish coat over the leaf if you used it as a top coat, so the gold had to be left exposed.
 
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delboy

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Hi Stan,
Hmm. I'd be a bit wide-eyed if anyone could tell me catagorically that the pre-war tanks were gold leafed or paint lined. Who has a guaranteed untouched pre-war tank any more with cast Iron providence?
Period photos are hard to come by that show any detail of the line on the top of the tank as most photos are broadsides. So it's exact position is open to some debate. I could envisage the gold line covering the join twixt paint and stainless, but I certainly don't have any hard evidence and many tanks are not done exactly this way.
I have only ever seen a couple of photos of a Comet completely untouched since 1939, but sadly the paint and line details are long gone.
The BBF Co. in Coventry [who still seem to exist] made the tanks for Vincent HRD and I wonder if they came fully finished and lined? Or maybe just lined out at Stevenage? A soldered tank would be ticklish to stove enamel I would think.
I wouldn't mind betting they had to set up from scratch again after the war as Coventry took a real beating from Bombing. The post-war tanks came from Homers, I think.
So, sorry Stan, I'm no practical help! At the end of the day, if it's lined out nicely with leaf or paint, who is out there to argue it's wrong, except the lucky bloke with some exceptional period photos or an unmolested bike
Cheers,
Delboy.
Hi folks,
a couple of snippets.
I notice in PEI's autobiography he talks of Bill Clarke "returning with some black and gold 'T' model tanks". It seems like the early 30's he is referring to, so maybe 'T' means saddle tanks? -Or just a typo?
They obviously could get them fully finished from BBF if they wanted.
A bit later in the text he says of tanks, "one plain steel enamelled Black and one with Vincent's new idea of s/s side panels".
Maybe these were the first ones of the type of tank that were fitted to A's [and model J's and other models before?]
Now, more interesting, I have been shown again a photo of the untouched since covered up in 1939 Comet.
On the left side of the maroon panel atop the tank, there is definitely a remnant of a gold pinstripe. [possibly 1/8"] This is on the INSIDE of the tank top beading, or the filler cap side, if you like. In fact approximately 1/2" in from the edge of the raised bead and following it [presumably?] from front to back, on the maroon top panel proper.
You can only speculate if this was possibly added by the owner in the two years before WW2?
Seems a tad unlikely, but we can't be sure.
Any evidence of a gold line on the outside of the beading where the Maroon finishes [that we are used to seeing] is long gone.
Maybe, just maybe, they had two gold lines originally?
I await the flood of Pre-war photos to confirm or deny one way or 'tother.
Back to counting rivets.
Delboy.
 

Alyson

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I think if I had TT tanks, lucky to have more than one, I might call it a "T" tank(s). "Gonna throw the "T" tank on the bike today..... " or maybe it's just something else. Just my morning 2 cents
 

Dinny

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
When I bought my bike as a project the only part that had been restored was the tank. To previous owner (well know within the VOC) said it was correct and it has two gold lines. Who am I to argue and I fitted the tank as is.

Cheers
Mark
 

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delboy

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
When I bought my bike as a project the only part that had been restored was the tank. To previous owner (well know within the VOC) said it was correct and it has two gold lines. Who am I to argue and I fitted the tank as is.

Cheers
Mark
Hi Mark,
that's similar to how I interpret the lines either side of the beading on the "unmolested" per-war Comet tank to have been, albeit with slightly thinner gold line.
How did the previous well known VOC owner know it was correct? Did he have pre-war photos? We'd all love to see them to be sure.
Regards,
Delboy.
 

Dinny

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Hi Delboy,

I agree the lines look a little wide but it’s not worth repainting for that reason. My thoughts are to run it as is and if the tank leaks it will need repainting anyway. If it does not leak then it stays as is.

I bought it from John Kidd several years ago, I know he’s been on here in the past but does so very infrequently. I cannot say how he knows but he was insistent that it’s correct. I think over the years he has seen a lot of A’s and spoken to many people. I have never seen any pictures that are clear so who know..
Mark
 

billirwinnz

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Stan

Here's a photo of an original tank that I found on a french site.

Regards Bill
 

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delboy

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Hi Delboy,

I agree the lines look a little wide but it’s not worth repainting for that reason. My thoughts are to run it as is and if the tank leaks it will need repainting anyway. If it does not leak then it stays as is.

I bought it from John Kidd several years ago, I know he’s been on here in the past but does so very infrequently. I cannot say how he knows but he was insistent that it’s correct. I think over the years he has seen a lot of A’s and spoken to many people. I have never seen any pictures that are clear so who know..
Mark
Hi Mark,
yes, it looks great and most likely correct. Of course leave it alone whilst all is good and sound.
I know John, and agree that he has a lot of knowledge of "A stuff, but being a "Rivet counter" myself I yearn for the detail of what is originally correct, and the only way that we will know for sure is from a period photo.
regards, delboy.
 

billirwinnz

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Here's another bike that looks original.
 

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Dinny

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
There maybe a line inside the seam on the top, LHS?

This is a known original bike.

Mark
 

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delboy

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
There maybe a line inside the seam on the top, LHS?

This is a known original bike.

Mark
Hi Mark,
yes, your pic looks to be the "Prague A". Lived under a cover since 1939. That's the tank, or rather pictures of, that I have seen.
Parts of this bike and story are shown in "Back to A".
I'm pretty convinced about the pinstripes either side of the beading; the "outer" one overlapping the paint edge to tidy it up, and the "inner" one, 3/8"-1/2" in from the beading. Lines being perhaps a fat 1/8" and running from front to back edge of the tank.
How far does the maroon [or Black] paint and line goes past the outer edge of the beading and onto the s/s panel? Well my jury is still out. But, if I had to bet, I would say 3/8"-1/2" just like the inner pinstripe.
Good stuff.
Regards,
Delboy.
 

Glyn Baxter

Website User
VOC Member
When I was rebuilding my "A" twin I liased with John Mellor over many details one of which I recall concerns the gold lines on the tank. I feel sure he said these were applied using gold leaf by the works. I think one must be careful in deciding what to use though. I have some gold leaf which I had intended to use but the colour was so much lighter than the gold on the available transfers in my possession that I decided with the painter that the only solution was to use gold tape and plenty of clear lacquer to hide the bulge of the tape. It worked a treat with a good colour match into the bargain.
I believe some tanks were finished with one gold line 1/8" wide 1/2" down the stainless tank side from the edge of the soldered tank seam and parallel with the seam. The tank top paint was extended to the edge of the gold line. Others, especially I believe some twin tanks, had an extra 1/16" wide line located 1/2"away from and parallel with the top edge of the tank seam. Both lines extending from the front to the back of the tank.

I can not guarantee the accuracy of these notes but they represent the best of my recall, I used the double lines on my tank and it came out very well.

Glyn Baxter
 

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