Vincent Motorcycles was a British manufacturer of motorcycles from 1928 to 1955.
Vincent Motorcycles, "the makers of the world's fastest motorcycles", began with the purchase of HRD Motors Ltd less the factory premises, by Phil Vincent in May, 1928.
HRD was founded by the British Royal Flying Corps (RFC) pilot, Howard Raymond Davies, who was shot down and captured by the Germans in 1917. Legend has it that it was while a prisoner of war that he conceived the idea of building his own motorcycle, and contemplated how he might achieve that. It was not until 1924 that Davies entered into partnership with E J Massey, trading as HRD Motors. Various models were produced, generally powered by JAP engines.
Unfortunately, although HRD motorcycles won races, the company ran at a loss. In January 1928 it went into voluntary liquidation. The company was initially bought by Ernest Humphries of OK-Supreme Motors for the factory space, and the HRD name, jigs, tools, patterns, and remaining components were subsequently offered for sale again.
Philip Vincent was advised to start production under an established name. He had built a motorcycle of his own in 1927 and in 1928 had registered a patent for a cantilever rear suspension of his own design. With the backing of his family wealth from cattle ranching in Argentina, Vincent acquired the trademark, goodwill and remaining components of HRD from Humphries for £450 in 1928.
The company was promptly renamed Vincent HRD Co., Ltd and production moved to Stevenage. The new trademark had "Vincent" in very small letters above "HRD" written large. After World War 2 Britain had an export drive to repay its war debts, and the USA was the largest market for motorcycles, so in 1949 the HRD was dropped from the name to avoid any confusion with the "HD" of Harley Davidson, and the motorcycle became The Vincent.
In 1928 the first Vincent-HRD motorcycle used a JAP single-cylinder engine in a Vincent-designed cantilever frame. The earliest known example extant exists in Canberra, Australia. Some early bikes used Rudge-Python engines. But after a disastrous 1934 Isle of Man TT, with engine problems and all three entries failing to finish, Phil Vincent and Phil Irving decided to build their own engines.
Phil Vincent also experimented with three-wheeled vehicles, amphibious vehicles, and automobiles. In 1932 the first 3-wheeler, "The Vincent Bantam" appeared, powered by a 293cc Villiers engine. It was a 2.5 cwt delivery van with a car seat and a steering wheel.
In 1931 Phil Irving joined Vincent as chief engineer. His first engine design was an OHV 500 cc single-cylinder engine in 1934 called the "Meteor".
Vincent produced the Meteor and Comet motorcycle models, capable of 90+mph however his customers wanted more (don’t they always). 1936 saw the birth of the Series A Rapide, a V-Twin 998cc engine capable of 110mph and the following years saw Series B, C and the (unofficial) D all using the same basic engine design. These were the fastest production motorcycles the world had ever seen, many of them live on and continue racing to this day.
At a Vincent Owners' Club dinner in the summer of 1955, Phil Vincent announced that the company could no longer continue in the face of heavy losses and that production of motorcycles would cease almost immediately.
In 1955, one week before Christmas, the last Vincent came off the production line and was promptly labeled "The Last". The factory then turned to general engineering, the manufacture of industrial engines, and there was the Amanda water scooter. The company went into receivership in 1959. It has since been bought and sold by other engineering firms.
Thu, 05 Sep 2013 00:00:00 -0700
Evel Knievel: Daredevil. Godfather of Extreme Sports. Comic book hero?
Mon, 26 Aug 2013 00:00:00 -0700
In a world where modern motorcycles are full of computers, sensors and plastic, there are still those folks who yearn for the days of yore. A time when motorcycles were made of metal and you used a wrench — not a keyboard — to make your bike go faster. Careful and skilled craftsmanship, along with independent thinking, is a mark of pride among these men and their machines, some of whom are featured in the video below by Gestalten.tv.
Mon, 29 Jul 2013 00:00:00 -0700
The Musashi HARC-Pro Honda team of Leon Haslam, Michael van der Mark and Takumi Takahashi captured the 2013 Suzuka 8 Hours race. The Musashi team was joined on the podium by the Yoshimura Suzuki team of Takuya Tsuda, Nobuatsu Aoki and Josh Brookes and the Kagayama Suzuki team of Yukio Kagayama, Noriyuki Haga and Kevin Schwantz. The Musashi team completed 214 laps to win the endurance race.
Mon, 29 Apr 2013 00:00:00 -0700
A fully restored, ex-works 1952 Vincent Black Shadow was the top selling motorcycle at the Bonhams auction, held at the International Classic Motorcycle Show at the Staffordshire County Showground on Sunday, April 28, selling for £113,500 (US $176,341 after premiums). This Black Shadow was part of the factory’s bid to set a new 24-hour speed record at Montlhéry in France in May 1952. Mechanical troubles prevented that from happening, but the team still came away with eight records, including six hours at over 100 mph.
Tue, 09 Apr 2013 00:00:00 -0700
1 of 11Next Last
Motorcycles and rock ‘n’ roll. Ever since The King threw his leg over his ’56 Harley-Davidson and the Black Rebels rolled into Carbonville, the combination of motorcycles and rock have been as combustible as gas and spark. Early moto-rock lived for the most part on the fringes of pop music, in the pomped-up rockabilly of guys like Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent.
Tue, 03 Apr 2012 00:00:00 -0700
The American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation released its list of nominees for the AMA Hall of Fame Museum induction class of 2012. The 26 nominees represents a wide range of contributions to motorcycling, from motocross champions and Daytona 200 winners to tuners to motorcycle rights advocates. The selection committee will further trim the list down to six individuals, three from competition categories and three from non-competition categories.
Tue, 21 Feb 2012 00:00:00 -0800
The Greek God Epithemeus - the name of this three-wheeled, 180bhp Vincent record breaker - was the brother of Prometheus. Epithemeus (meaning afterthought) was the creator of many dangerous, ill thought-out beasts. Unlike his dilligent brother, Epithemeus was a bit of a f**kwit who threw everything at his powerful new animal creations with little thought of the consequences. A perfect name, then.
Mon, 16 Jan 2012 00:00:00 -0800
A collection of classic motorcycles including some owned by the Du Pont family was auctioned by Bonhams in Las Vegas, with sales reaching $1.8 million, nearly double the pre-auction estimates. The auction included 50 motorcycles and 113 lots of spare parts from the Du Pont family including some from the personal collection of E. Paul du Pont, founder of Du Pont Motors and one-time president of Indian Motorcycles.
Wed, 27 Apr 2011 00:00:00 -0700
The MotoGP circus moves into it's tenth appearance at the Estoril circuit, with the Portugease circuit playing host to a Grand Prix event in each of the previous nine years since the introduction of the four-stroke MotoGP formula at in 2002. Below is a reminder of the highlights of the previous nine MotoGP races held at Estoril:
2002 – Having won the last 500cc GP race at Estoril in 2001, Valentino Rossi (Honda) won the first of the MotoGP races held at the circuit. This was a race that was run in very wet conditions and Sete Gibernau had led for most of the race only to crash out with four laps to go.
Fri, 09 Jan 2009 00:00:00 -0800
Few motorcycle photographs are as iconic as that of the famous Bonneville “Bathing Suit Picture.” While you have undoubtedly seen this image before, you may not know the story behind it. The scantily clad and debatably crazy rider was a man by the name of Roland “Rollie” Free. The bike, often thought by many to be a Vincent Black Shadow, was in fact a Black Lightning – the fastest Vincent ever to see production.