Vincent 1949 Series-C Rapide Touring 998cc 2 cyl OHV 3311



Vincent 1949 “Series-C Rapide Touring” 998 cc OHV V-twin frame # RC 4342 engine # F10AB/1/2703 rear frame # RC4603

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 1948 the Series C was introduced with the famous “Girdraulic” front forks, girder forks with hydraulic damping. In late 1949 “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 almost 70 years since production ceased, the esteem in which this iconic motorcycle is held has only increased. The mighty 50 degree V-twin engine has bore x stroke dimensions of 84 x 90 mm, a compression ratio of 6.8:1 and the power delivered is around 45bhp. Some striking Vincent features are the prop stands on either side of the engine and the four brakes, two on each wheel. In the USA Vincents were distributed by the Indian Sales Corporation with the idea to provide the American customers with an alternative for the Harley-Davidson Knucklehead. To cater for local tastes, some batches of the Rapide were delivered in “Indian Red”. It is estimated by VOC specialists that no more than 111 machines were finished this way of which about 40 are on the present club list, making this specimen a pretty rare bird.

The rear frame member is original to the engine, the front frame member is of 1950 manufacture. For smoother running two Amal Concentric MK 2 carbs are fitted. The standard touring specification meant that the front mudguard should be a steel valanced item; however, the works order form that was filled in on August 19, 1949 states that the front mudguard fitted was the dural type that is still on the machine. This form also acknowledges that this Rapide was finished in red. A former American owner had the bike restored in “no expense spared” fashion, resulting in more than $10,000 restoration costs. With the machine come an extensive file with photos, correspondence and receipts related to the restoration.