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Please allow me to introduce myself

Michael

Website User
VOC Member
Hello everyone. Please allow me to introduce myself. I acquired my first Vincent about 2 months ago and joined the VOC shortly after. It is a 52 Rapide engine in a 52 Black Shadow frame and had been rebuilt a few years ago with Amal Concentrics, 9:1 pistons and Lightening cams. The fellow I purchased it from had owned it since 1962. Cosmetically it is a mess, needing new paint, extensive polishing, some re-plating and new cables. I have started and it is cleaning up nicely. I will try to post pictures soon. Mechanically it seems sound and it was fairly complete when purchased, missing only the dynamo, regulator, battery and horn. It has a Smiths 5" speedo but is missing the front wheel drive gear so I have not yet determined whether the chronometric is working. I have acquired a Lucas E3L on eBay and am assembling the various parts to attach the drive gear. I considered going the Alton 12 volt route but sort of stumbled on the E3L so I will try that for now.

My fascination/lust for Vincents goes back to the mid 70's when I was living in San Francisco and reading Hunter Thompson. He wrote about the sheer power and thrill of cruising up and down the coast highway on a Vincent. I owned a '69 BSA 650 A65FS and indeed, it was fun (and intimidating) cruising along Highway 1. At the time there was a character living in SF named George Disteel who's only son was killed in the 50's riding a Vincent. George, in the hopes of saving some other father from suffering the same fate as he had, went around buying Vincents and other large bikes which he had transported across the Golden Gate bridge to Marin County. There he rented space in farmers chicken coops and disabled the bikes in some clever way. In '75 or '76 George died with no heirs and no possessions and the state buried him in the pauper fields. About a year later they discovered that he owned title to all of these valuable bikes and had an auction. I went intending to finally acquire the object of my lust, only to be out bid by the rest of California who showed up with the same idea and more disposable cash than I. I should have begged borrowed or stolen to get the cash because the most expensive bike went for under $2000 but at the time all I had was $600. I did pick up a ‘44 DKW 350cc single cylinder two-stroke. Everyone was there for the big Vins, so the bidding was not fierce on the Deek. I still have it. To give you some idea of my poverty at the time, I disassembled the bike and brought it back as excess baggage (sans motor which I shipped by rail) on a flight to New York City where I had moved. It cost me all of $50 for the excess bag fees, and about the same for the rail freight.

Ever since that time I have been searching for a Vincent but they always seem to be just beyond my financial reach. When I finally found my bike, it was still way more money than I had ever spent for anything except my house but I was determined to own a Vincent before I became too infirm to ride one. I somehow scraped together the money. Being recently separated from a fiscally conservative and non-riding wife helped. I consider myself lucky to have finally acquired the ‘Mona Lisa of motorcycles’ as Ted Bishop describes them in his book, ‘Riding with Rilke’ (I recommend it. It’s a pretty good read!)

If you are still reading this, forgive my longwindedness. The story just started flowing onto the screen. If any of you acquired your Vincents by way of George Disteel I would love to hear from you.

Regards,
Michael Lewin (mgl2002)
 

bmetcalf

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Are you familiar with Ghost Motorcycles in Port Washington? I believe several Vins passed through their hands.

I recommend a Podtronics regulator for your dynamo.
 

Prince Duster

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
mgl2002

Congratulations. Great tale. Please! If the paint is original, or even period, DO NOT repaint. There's thousands that have been, and fewer and fewer in as-found state. It's a slice of history, and will attract the right kind of attention if left to look at is was. Looking forward to the pix.
 

Michael

Website User
VOC Member
re: Ghost Motorcycles

Yes, I am familiar with Ghost. I often tell people that is the reason I moved to Port Washington. The shop is no longer in business but Sal, the original owner is still involved with transporting bikes. As a matter of fact he transported this Vincent for me from Florida where the guy I bought it from lives. I am friends with his son, Sonny, and my son is friends with Sonny's son, Nick.
 

Michael

Website User
VOC Member
here are a few pictures

a few pics
 

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vince998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
a few pics

Looks more or less complete, not sure about the handle bars though:)
The E3L was a good choice.´Mines running twin dyna coils (wasted spark) and a 50 watt headlight and i´ve never suffered a flat battery (rewired to 12 volt).
Make the choice, restore fully and spend your life polishing and painting stone chips, or do the necessary (mechanically speaking) ride and enjoy!
I took the first choice, and already need new index fingers and knuckles:D
 

peterg

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
Howdy Michael,

Wow, groovy machine and story. I've hit opposite ends of the spectrum with my Vin's, extremely time consuming over the top resto on the Red Rap (click link in my sig to view) and then a more expedient rattle-can painted Shadow which now 1,100 miles later after 10/08 purchase as a moldy basket case (pics here) and then started pretty shortly thereafer for the first time in 32 years on 2/07/09, I now admit reluctantly to be more gratifying than spending years making it into a another museum piece while missing out on delightful rides I've experienced thus far. Patina's not a bad thing at all, in fact it's a refined art in the AMCA as you'll note at my site on my 1946 Chief - An Old Painting Retouched -.

E3L's are very durable, it was the lousy mechanical regulators that did them in. As Bruce mentioned, set up it up for controlled ground with a PODtronic, mine has provided years of trouble free service on the Rap.
http://www.vincentownersclub.co.uk/forum/album.php?albumid=9
 

lindie

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
evening. any chance of a pic of the deek for us sicko's with transfer ports for hearts?
 

Michael

Website User
VOC Member
DKW Pics

I didn't get a chance to pull it out of the garage to photograph it this weekend (Father's Day and all!) I did poke around to see if I have any old pictures on my hard drive but to no avail. I'll try to take some and post them soon. Although the bike has it's own beauty, next to the Vincent twin it is a very pedestrian bike; no bling at all. The cases are cast iron, muffler's are painted black as a matter of fact, the only piece of chrome on the whole bike are the handlebars! I do like the look of it though.
 

lindie

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
i think the only chrome on my little mz is the exhaust and the gauge face and taillight surrounds. pm me a pic when you find time please so the heavies here don't crack a wobbly on off topic/marque related matter. is she still in use?
 

Tnecniv Edipar

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
MZ's , did someone mention MZ's :D I have 3 myself , a TS250 Supa 5 , an earlier TS250 and a brand new , unused 1981 TS125 Alpine in a very nice pale blue !! I love MZ's :eek:
 

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