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Series A Petrol Tank -Painting and Lining


John Reynolds

Website User
VOC Member
I am now nearing the end of the restoration of an A Rapide but am unable to find details of the size of the painted 'panels' (i.e. on which the HRD transfers are applied) on the sides of the stainless steel tank.

My painter needs to know the length and depth of the panels and their positioning from the front edge of the tank. The radius of the curve of the rear edge of the panel (or a measurement of by how much the top and bottom 'points' of the rear curve project beyond the middle) would be useful too.

We also need to know the width of the gold lines which surround the panels and of the four gold lines on the top of the tank.

I would be very grateful to owners of Series A machines if they could spare the time to measure the tank of their bike and post the details required.
 

Marcus Bowden

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Will do John my handsome, when I get home in France at present but I think every one you receive will be different !
bananaman
 

Hump3

Website User
VOC Member
I am now nearing the end of the restoration of an A Rapide but am unable to find details of the size of the painted 'panels' (i.e. on which the HRD transfers are applied) on the sides of the stainless steel tank.
Been there, done that and burnt the tee-shirt! I'm away from mine now so unable to take the measurements for you, sorry. Have you had a new tank made or was the original one still useable?
 

peter holmes

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Marcus, I tried to PM you but was unable to open that facility, we are down your way and was going to visit you until I heard the foreign ring tone on your mobile, enjoy France. Cheers Peter and Sue. PS at least your dirt box won’t get damaged again!
 

Robert Watson

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Hi John, I can send you pictures and dimensions on mine, and also my spare. But here is the history.

My original had been repainted several times in its life. I have pictures of it in the 50's all one colour which was sort of a brownish red. I have repainted it - twice - don't ask! It was originally black (I think) and there are pictures of it with a black out headlight so likely the war years (and still quite new!) and it has no HRD side panels at all! so likely changed even by then.

My spare was made I believe in the early 1970's and is painted maroon, BUT it only had gold stripes inboard from the top seams, which did not look right. I understand some did this, and many had then between the top paint and the stainless side panels, and some possibly had both.

Cheers
Robert
He of little help
 

Hump3

Website User
VOC Member
Each shot is of a different machine. Only three period shots and, despite the discrepancies, a pattern seems to emerge.
 

John Reynolds

Website User
VOC Member
Thanks to all for the comments and photos which demonstrate the wide variations in the shapes and sizes of the panels that currently exist.

Conversely, all three A twins illustrated in Jacqueline Bickerstaff's The Original Vincent (DXR 853, EDK 187 and DUR 99) all have very similar tank panels. Similarly, the three A Rapides shown on the cover of Back to 'A' (FRB 827, FYO 967 and EAR 577) have tank panels of similar proportions to the first mentioned three.

A photo also exists of DUR 99 in the 1939 Motorcycling Road Test which shows that the original tank panel was of the same proportions as when the photo for the book was taken.

Obviously I'm not the first person who has faced this problem and it would be very helpful if owners could share the dimensions of the panels and gold lines that they decided upon when having their tanks refurbished. If anyone is lucky enough to have a tank in original condition and is willing to share dimensions with fellow owners, that would be fantastic.
 

greg brillus

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I have studied this subject quite a bit on account of the series "A" Comet I have been restoring over the last couple of years. Some points of interest..........The earlier tanks seemed to have the "D" panels on the sides were slimmer and longer than the later bikes. Also on most all of these prewar bikes the panel is not symmetrical top to bottom, that is the arch at the rear is not the same as the arch at the front of the "D" with the top line generally slightly longer than the lower line in length. On the singles the lines also tapered slightly towards the rear of the tank and they often disappeared under the knee pads, they were probably too long. The twins seem different on account of the tank being larger.........The pin striping on most restored bikes is too wide, most look to be about 1/4" I think this is too wide, they should be about 3/16 ths at most, about the width of a match head. On the picture second from the bottom above, the shape and dimensions look good but again the pin striping is too wide, the larger picture 4th up from the bottom looks very good, see how the top line of the "D" is slightly longer at the top. Tanks that are painted with the "D" symmetrical look wrong, and doing it this way allows for the compound curve of the tank sides. The side pin stripe should be about 10 to 12 mm down from the edge of the soldered on cover molding, again this stripe no wider than 3/16". Of course if possible you should use the correct gold and black only decals, these are available from Neal Videan here in Australia if you are looking for some. It is a good idea to make templates from cardboard and use these to mark out your lines on the sides of the tank, I even tape a HRD decal to it to get everything spot on........If you leave this detail to your painter, they will never go to the detail that you really need, so do some prep yourself, it will pay off once it is done. Good luck with it all............. Greg.
 

vibrac

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I have often wondered why there is not a transfer (decal) for at least the series C panel HRD lining after all my other Comet (A James 98cc) has a tank transfer at least as large
 

John Reynolds

Website User
VOC Member
Thanks to everyone who has replied to my query. I've just had a discussion with my painter and we've agreed on the panel shape and size, and the width of the gold lines, which he will apply.

While not claiming our interpretation as definitive, I feel that having asked the question I ought to share the decision with Forum members. I attach a Word document which, when printed at 100%, shows the shape and size of the panel. It will be noted that the panel tapers slightly from front to rear and the top rear 'point' projects further than the bottom one. It also indicates that the gold lining should be 4mm wide.

I hope that this opinion will be a useful starting point for other restorers of A Rapides facing a similar decision in the future!
 

Attachments

bmetcalf

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
The 20” tire fills the mudguard nicer than the post-war bikes, I think.

Also, how it must have felt to be astride a machine that would see off most anything else on the road and it has your name on it!
 

vibrac

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
The 20” tire fills the mudguard nicer than the post-war bikes, I think.
Neat but not a lot of rear chain adjustment I guess I seem to recall that they had tto increase the series B frame by 1/2" after complaints , hence the curved seat support bracket on later bikes
 

John Reynolds

Website User
VOC Member
Thank you Mark for the excellent photograph of the prototype A Rap. I had seen the photo before (on page 77 in the Back to A book) but a scan of the photo in the book would be of insufficient quality to scale up. The image document which you posted is of high quality and I have been able blow up the tank panel to full size - please see attachment. This shows that when the first bike was produced the tank panels were considerably smaller (at 3 inches in height and 6 inches in length including gold lines) than the later panels (at 3 1/2 inches and 7 inches respectively), which I had previously scaled. Of course, these may or may not be original whereas we know that the tank panel shown in the works photo is original.

So again, I'm faced with a quandary!
 

Attachments


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