HRD 1949 Rapide 998cc 2 cyl ohv 2909
HRD 1949 “Series-B Rapide” 998 cc OHV v-twin frame # R 4041 engine # F10AB/1/2141
Ever since the Series A’s arrival in 1937, the Vincent v-twin has been synonymous with design innovation, engineering excellence and superlative high performance.
From Rollie Free’s capture of the ‘world’s fastest production motorcycle’ record in 1948 on a tuned Series-B Black Shadow to the final, fully enclosed Black Knight and Black Prince, Philip Vincent’s stress on appearance and performance is legendary.
The outbreak of WW2 in 1939 brought production of all Vincent’s Series-A models to a halt, and when production was resumed at the war’s end it was with the all-new Series-B.
Its rear suspension aside, the Series A Vincent-HRD had been conventional enough: tubular steel frame, girder forks, separate gearbox, etc but with the Series-B Messrs Vincent and Irving effectively established the marque’s reputation for the defiance of convention in the pursuit of engineering excellence.
For a start there was no ‘frame’ as such, merely a fabricated box attached to the cylinder heads, that served as the oil tank and incorporated the headstock and the attachment point for the rear springs.
The gearbox was integral with the engine, and the swinging arm pivoted directly in the engine/gearbox casings, features commonplace today but unusual 60 years ago.
Only in his retention of the pre-war Brampton girder fork did Phillip Vincent appear to be lagging behind other manufacturers, almost all of which had switched to telescopics, but this apparent shortcoming would soon be addressed by the introduction of the famous ‘Girdraulic’ fork.
Introduced in 1946, the Vincent-HRD Series-B Rapide was immediately the fastest production motorcycle on sale anywhere, with a top speed of 110mph.
The basic design clearly had even greater potential though, which would be realised later in the form of the Black Shadow and Black Lightning models.
In 1950 “HRD” disappeared from the logo; the machines were renamed “The Vincent”.
Production of all Vincents stopped at the end of 1955.
Vincents were indeed legendary in their own lifetime, and in the more than 60 years since production ceased, the esteem in which this iconic motorcycle is held has only increased.
The fine specimen we offer here is ready for the road and has been meticulously restored to concours condition.