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BigEd

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It means some of the numbers in the engine are the same as some of the numbers in the frame. It's often used in the same description as "Perfect condition for restoration," or "It ran before it was put away."
It sounds like house sales talk. e.g. Bijou, rooms are nice as long as you don't want to turn around in them.;)
Heaven forbid the day when hospitals say he was OK before he died on the operating table.o_O
 

Somer

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VOC Member
Total match = UFM/RFM/ engine all match.
Semi match = UFM OR RFM match engine
Non match= Frame/engine from different bikes.
 

vin998

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From a Machine Register point of view:

Matching numbers = factory stamped engine, crankcase mating number, UFM & RFM that left the factory as one bike.

Non matching = Anything else (with genuine factory stampings)

Restamp = Anything with fake / altered numbers.

Simon
 

Somer

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2 out of three ain't bad ! I've found more bikes with the RFM changed due to stripping of adjusters or breakage/splitting.
I guess I don't see them as a total mis-match. We all bring different perceptions.
 

TouringComet

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Indeed, if you have 2 out of three, it is best to have engine and UFM being the 2.

Now, my Comet, purchased as a basket case, is quite a mismatch. All three major items are different, and even the outer covers on the engine have a different mating number than the crankcases. At least the outer and inner primary match, and those two match the timing cover. And the two crankcase halves match each other. If they didn’t, now that would be a TOTAL mismatch, ha ha.

But I don’t care. I had a chance to obtain the correct UFM and RFM, but I would have had to buy the complete Comet being offered. At that time, I felt the asking price was a bit high, even considering a small premium to the benefit of reuniting the pieces. Just wasn’t worth the hassle to me, partly since the bike was overseas.
 

Magnetoman

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Matching numbers = factory stamped engine, crankcase mating number, UFM & RFM that left the factory as one bike.
Non matching = Anything else (with genuine factory stampings)
Anyone who doesn't want to pay a lot more than they should to buy a Vincent should take heed of the above since they are the only two categories knowledgeable people use to determine what to spend on machines for their own use. Numbers don't determine how well a machine works, but they absolutely do determine how much you, or your heirs, will be able to sell if for later.

We all bring different perceptions.
My observation is that perceptions of many things, including what constitutes "matching numbers," depends on whether or not someone is in the business of selling motorcycles. There's a good reason it's caveat emptor, not caveat venditor.
 

genedn

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I am curious to know what happens if a MOT department re-stamps because of a crash? If the crashed bike down the line is rebuilt who has the correct numbers? According to the club I guess the original would? According to the law maybe the rest amp would?
 

vibrac

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What also needs to be said is buying a non matching bike will cost you less and when you come to sell it you wont loose any money as the relationship on values is retained. and for sure from the saddle you cant read numbers
 

Magnetoman

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What also needs to be said is buying a non matching bike will cost you less and when you come to sell it you wont loose any money as the relationship on values is retained.
Neither of those statements is necessarily correct. As for the first statement, if a buyer accepts that a "semi-matching" numbers bike should sell for nearly as much as one with matching numbers, they will pay too much. However, whether or not the second statement is true depends on accurately predicting the future, a practice that is fraught with uncertainty. Despite that, here goes...

One factor is that, when new, top of the line models sold for not much more than lesser models (e.g. a Bonneville vs. a TR6 Trophy), but today there is a larger price differential. Another factor is that thirty years ago there wasn't as much concern about matching numbers so many Vincents with and without sold for the same, but since then the price differential has only continued to grow. So, I'll speculate that in the not too distant future, when a large fraction of vehicles are electric, more restrictions are in place on older gasoline vehicles, and fewer people are interested in old motorcycles, the price differential between 'matching' and 'non-matching' will increase so you will lose money because the present relationship won't be retained.

Again, if you only care about riding, and don't care how much you will or your heirs will be able to sell it for, a non-matching numbers Vincent would be cheaper.
 

Glenliman

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I guess there is a little bit of stamp collector in everyone.
Not much in me.
The nice rep at the Spares Co recently told me that on a Rapide in the UK, all other things being equal, allow a 10% differential for verified matching numbers.
That's not much different than when I started looking for a bike in 2003.
Actually, it's a bit less as a percentage.
In 2003 I was told by those in the know to expect to pay around 20-25 k for a good runner non matching and 25-30 k for same in matching.
Those numbers were quite accurate.
The big jump has been with the Black Shadow prices. They were only a few thousand higher than the Rapide then, now they are much higher.
It is really a lot to pay for status, you aren't getting anything else. But we do love status.
As John Mcdougall pointed out of the Black Shadow fascination " same parts book at rebuild time"

Glen
 

Marcus Bowden

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Black Shadows built from crap rejected cases White Shadow built from Rapide cases with the 1/16" bigger carbs, ribbed drums, selected fitted timing chest, laboratory tested mags and a big shield mounted on top the forks so the rider can hide behind it, what for, an extra 10 mph which is rarely used so the B.S. stands for bull shit. Nothing cleaner than clean metal.
 

Magnetoman

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As John Mcdougall pointed out of the Black Shadow fascination " same parts book at rebuild time"
I completely agree, a Black Shadow "shouldn't" sell for much more than a Rapide. We also can probably agree that a cup of coffee "shouldn't" sell for more than 50 cents. However, there's the way things "should be," and there's the way they actually "are."

A Bonneville and TR6 also share the same parts book, take the same time to rebuild, and sold for not much difference in price in the 1960s. Despite these factors that seem like they "should" determine the price today, Bonnevilles sell for nearly double. The same for a Black Shadow and Rapide in 1950, but today the differential is also nearly double. A 1974 Ducati 750SS is essentially the same bike as a Ducati 750 Sport so it "shouldn't" sell for 4x (or for $200k, for that matter), but it does.

Today someone who needs a motorcycle for transportation buys a Honda and pays the simple price of the production cost, transportation, and profit. However, although someone may want a Vincent, no one needs a Vincent, so factors other than whether or not models share a parts book determine the price. For me, at least, it is more interesting to try to understand those factors rather than bemoan the fact not much more than a few numbers stamped in Al along with a can of black paint result in a difference in selling price that's enough to buy five Honda CBR600RRs, each of which has a higher top speed and requires less maintenance than a Vincent.
 

LoneStar

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Even more irrational than Black Shadow v. Rapide: the much higher market value of an early "sandcast" (actually gravity cast) Honda CB750 compared to the later die cast production. They're rare, but the differences are minor and aren't even improvements.
 

Magnetoman

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Even more irrational than Black Shadow v. Rapide: ...
It is completely missing the point to think the technical specifications are the only, or even the major, contributing factors for the selling prices of old motorcycles. A sandcast 1969 Honda CB750 sells for twice the price of one with a diecast engine. However, both are now over a half-century old and outperformed in every way by current Honda models that sell for significantly less than the cheaper of these two. People don't buy 50-year old motorcycles because they want ones with the best specifications, they buy them for other reasons.

"However, when a collector puts greater emphasis on a name or pedigree than on the object itself, this involves other indicative factors. It separates the object from its initial meaning and underlines different hierarchies."
Collecting, An Unruly Passion
Werner Muensterberger (Princeton University Press, 1994)

What is interesting, for me at least, is to try to understand those other "indicative factors" that go into "irrational" decisions to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on obsolete machinery when modern equivalents with much better technical specifications are available for much less money.
 

LoneStar

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Agreed, and I wasn't suggesting otherwise. Clearly technical sophistication and road performance by current standards are not driving factors in classic bike prices.

Some of the "indicative factors" are well known -

- Racing history (Vincent, Goldstar, Ducati 750SS)
- Identification with a famous movement (mods, rockers)
- Identification with famous individuals (Lawrence of Arabia)
- Advanced or innovative engineering for the time
- Aesthetic merit (Vincent, Triumph)
- Performance leadership at the time (Vincent, Kawasaki Z1 or H2)

Others? In particular, how would you explain the 100% premium attached to the sandcast CB750? I don't see how any of the above apply.
 

Glenliman

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The biggest value factor might be
" It was what I lusted for as a teenager but couldn't afford then"
The Vincent was top of the heap for me. The Black Shadow and Black Lightning were the two names most talked about.

Glen
 

Magnetoman

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how would you explain the 100% premium attached to the sandcast CB750? I don't see how any of the above apply.
I'm reminded of an article I read a few years ago about the multi-billionaires who have summer homes in the Hamptons on Long Island. How are you going to stand out when all your fellow multi-billionaires already have tennis courts, swimming pools, helipads, etc.? The way at least some of them solved this pressing problem was with time. Anyone can have a, say, pond in their back yard dug, filled, and landscaped within a few weeks at the house they just purchased, but if you want to impress the neighbors with how mega-wealthy you are you pay whatever it takes to hire a crew big enough to get the job done in one day.

A 1969 CB750 was an important bike in motorcycle history so many people "need" one for their collection. However, unlike the Ducati 750SS, enough CB750s were made that supply does a pretty good job of satisfying demand. "Luckily," though, relatively few sand-cast CB750s were made, so if you want to impress your fellow collectors with how discerning (and rich) you are you go after one of those in order to have something that not everyone else can have. There are enough rich collectors, but few enough sand-cast CB750s, that the resulting prices attest to an owner's elevated position in the hierarchy of collectors.
 
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