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GUT723 RC/1/8678



SteveO

Active Website User
VOC Member
Please excuse me if this is posted in the wrong place. What I am hoping for is that someone can provide some previous history on my 1951 Rapide. I recently had cause to start stripping the engine after a death rattle on the way back from my local club. I assumed, wrongly, that the bike was fairly standard, but the further I get into it, the more non-standard it becomes. Lifting the heads, I found that the front exhaust guide was loose in the head. Thinking this was the source of the noise, I had this repaired and this is where the problems started. Removing the valves was the first issue, I couldn't find the circlips referred to in the book. This was because the valves have been replaced with Gold Star type valves and springs. The inlet ports have been opened to 32mm and gas flowed and the valve guide lock rings and guides backed off presumably to allow high lift cams (Mark II) to be fitted. The exhaust screw in ports have been replaced with stubs and the pipes fit over these secured by clamps. The rockers look nothing like normal ones, they are lightened and polished and have needle rollers in them rather than the standard pin ( a modification of dubious efficiency). I now discover on further inspection that the front big end has failed and the play in the con rod suggested an Alpha caged roller big end. Having shown the heads to Ray Elger, he opined that the bike, or at very least the heads, had been prepared for racing, as the modifications mirrored what he had done to his own bike, the intention being to get the engine to rev. He also informed me that the pistons were Hepolite and dated back to the sixties (and weren't very good apparently!). The front one is scrap as it has contacted the valves and a piece has broken out down to the top piston ring and I would have to replace both anyway to have a matched pair. I don't know what CR they are, but no compression plates are fitted; they may be 7.3 or 8:1. The pistons have STD on the top. The bike is a matching numbers bike, UFM RC/1/8678, VRM GUT723 ( I have a photocopy of the factory despatch note with all the numbers matching, engine, UFM and RFM and the crankcase halves also match). I did contact the previous owner, but unfortunately he could shed no light on the provenance. I don't have the buff logbook, nor did he. The bike as bought was fitted with standard Rapide carbs and adaptors, thus nullifying the effects of the head tuning. It has an electric start fitted, modern type clutch (not Vincent), a rack and centre stand, but is still running magneto ignition with ATD. I am hoping that someone may recognise the bike and/or the modifications and can provide some history. I don't anticipate that it will be famous or infamous, but I would just like to know more about it, since it will require a complete overhaul.
 

vibrac

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Needle rockers suggest a build in the early sixties from possibly Dolphin motors who also made NR cams Ray is right, a glance at any program of the VOC Cadwell high speed trials will see many Vincents racing and many had these sort of modifications (I still have some!) it could be anyone on those grids.
If you can get a copy of "a Vincent miscellany" , "first vintage racing scene" etc you may see your bike and the rider in action
Heck! you may even have broom handles in the spring boxes on your forks!
Real History!!
 
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ClassicBiker

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
The if the bike is known with in the club, the club's machine registrar will be able to help you. If you PM him with your machine details he should be able to tell something. From what you write I suspect it was setup to race and later sold on to someone who didn't know about the mods and returned it to "standard" for road use. Let us know what you learn.
Steven
 

vin998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Just looked up GUT 723 and I can find quite a few names against the registration, the earliest name been from August 1951 so may even be the first owner.
Will send you a private message SteveO.
Simon
Machine Registrar
 

SteveO

Active Website User
VOC Member
Peter, is the "something amiss" something I ought to worry about? Vibrac - "broomhandles in the springboxes on the forks"? Que? BTW it also has what appear to be Lightning front brake plates (or copies?) which work well, but if they ARE genuine and electron, may be an issue...
 

A_HRD

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Steve,

Check your number on the actual UFM (not docs) and compare with what you typed above. Take a clear photo of it, then talk to Simon (Machine Registrar); he will explain all.

My personal view is that the 'numbers issue' has got all out of control and it's all to do with perceived, but misplaced, monetary value. For me if you have a beautiful Vincent and the major parts were all manufactured in the Vincent factory what does it matter if a genuine factory replacement part (or one from another bike) is used to overcome, say, accident damage?

I would prefer a mismatched numbered Vincent having all original parts like carbs, dynamo, crank, rods, rims, headlamp, rear-light, magneto, brakes, clutch, gearbox, handlebar controls, speedo, etc, etc - rather than an ~"original-numbers-bike" with all of those things replaced with modern "equivalents" from around the world. That's not a Vincent, it's a concoction of wrong parts.

But that's just me. I have no wish to start a numbers debate so I'm bowing-out of this thread now and heading for my bunker...

But before I go Steve, one word of advice, ride your Vincent and enjoy it - the exhilaration never diminishes - there's nothing better!

Peter B
 

vibrac

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
So true about matching numbers and assumed value I would only add that during ownership it matters not a jot what you do to your own bike or what you add to it. My twin has the results of 50 years of modifications on it BUT I also have a cuboard of standard parts that can fit back on. It would make it a lot less interesting when they are
 

SteveO

Active Website User
VOC Member
Well guys, I have exchanged PMs with Simon and the news isn't good. Far from being a matching numbers bike the only thing that belongs is the engine; both UFM and RFM are from a (or two) Comet(s). Some helpful owner has changed the numbers to match the log book, badly, because the stamps aren't Vincent style and he forgot about the /1/ which identifies the frame parts as Comet. It leaves a bitter taste; I had hoped to avoid this kind of thing by buying through the Spares Company. It's not really original in any way with the modifications and the frame changes, it's just a load of bits stuck together. The only consolation is it doesn't warrant a full restoration so I will fix what's broken as cheaply as possible then ride it again. I may stick some 32mm Concentrics on it and make use of the top end tuning. Since I've got to replace the pistons, perhaps I should go up an atmosphere or two. It will then be considerably faster than a Shadow at least which will give some satisfaction! I'll leave the touring kit on, I like the idea of a "street sleeper". BTW still no explanation of the broomhandles - were these instead of springs or an addition?
 
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bmetcalf

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
The broom handles are short sections used as packing to preload the Girdraulic springs.
 

greg brillus

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Only problem I've had with the using pieces of broom handle is it's damned hard to get the valve spring caps back on afterwards....................:)
 

peter holmes

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I have a great deal of sympathy for Steve, he wanted to purchase an all matching numbers Vincent, and probably parted with a great deal money in his quest, but has ended up with a bitsa, but who is to blame for this malady, my understanding is that the spares club are simply brokers in these transactions, for a fee it saves the actual seller having to deal with time wasters and tyre kickers, and also garage snoopers.
Steve was probably under the impression that by purchasing from the well respected Vincent Owners Spares Club that he would avoid all these potential problems, but I doubt that any of the bikes that get sold through the spares company come with any sort of guarantee whatsoever, and how could they. I think there could be a few lessons learnt from Steve's rather sour experience, no matter where you are purchasing your bike from it is always advisable to seek advice from the machine registrar first, it is one of the reasons he is there. Perhaps the spares company could offer a returnable holding deposit scheme, but only returnable if the bike proves not to be kosher when researched, that should remove the urgency from the transaction, and urgency can provoke risk. If Steve had purchased this bike from a dealer, and the dealer had told Steve it was a genuine all matching number bike, then he would have full and legal entitlement to a refund, if that was not forthcoming he could pursue it through the courts (as Jim Gleave, late of Atlantic Motorcycles found out at huge cost to himself, he refused to give a refund on an incorrectly described bike, not a Vincent, and it pretty much cost him his retirement fund, or so he told me)
I think it would be a great idea if all the bikes that get sold by using the Spares Club as a broker at least come with a provenance check from the club machine registrar, of course no mechanical guarantee whatsoever could be offered, the buyer will always have to satisfy himself on that issue.
 

SteveO

Active Website User
VOC Member
Peter,
Thanks for the sympathy. To be fair to Ian Savage he has PM'd me and I will be speaking to him tomorrow. I can't recall exactly what was said at the time of purchase, it was over two years ago, but I don't think it was advertised as a "matching numbers" bike as such, but it certainly wasn't advertised as a bitsa in a Comet frame either. I don't know, perhaps the price reflected the number issue as well as the condition. It was the cheapest bike they had at the time, but also looked the most standard. It came with a photostat of the factory despatch record which showed the numbers that appeared on the bike - I missed the significance of the /1/. That's why I didn't consult Simon in the first place. Caveat emptor! I need only add my better half is not impressed: "So not only has this bike you spent so much money on broken down, but it also isn't what you thought it was!" She didn''t think it was too clever to mention all this publicly on the forum either, but I pointed out (a) if I came to sell it, anyone from the VOC would likely notice the discrepancy (b) I couldn't in all conscience sell it as something it wasn't myself anyway.
I hear the sound of Vincent owners all over the country rushing to the garage to carefully examine their frame numbers! Sorry for any extra work generated Simon!
 

Bill Thomas

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Steve, As long as the frames are not stolen, It should not make too much difference to what the Bike is worth.
It is still one Hell of a Bike, That most people would love to own !!.
There are a lot of Bikes out there that are not as they left the Factory, Due to crashes etc.
They say the value of Vin's is coming down anyway !.
Good Luck, Bill.
 

greg brillus

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Your all panicking over nothing...........The difference in value of a matching numbers Rapide over a non matching is not that big a deal. So long as all the parts are original and in good condition, and not from stolen bikes that is all that maters. If you genuinely want a matching numbers bike then you and you alone need to have done enough research into what the numbers mean and be able to recognize numbers that have been re-stamped, or do not match up. My own rapide came from the States, and was bought as a non matching machine, early die cast engine in a series "B" frame with Girdraulics.........It is however a very original machine with all the original hardware and parts. Aside the numbers and mismatch of engine/frames it could hold it's own in any Vincent Concourse for originality.
 

vibrac

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
People who have been conned into the myth of electric vehicles should have a look at carbon engineering ltd on Facebook
"Air to fuel" a future with a zero carbon Vincent
 


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