Own a piece of History!! The 1952 Vincent Rapide C-Series ‘Black Shadow 1000cc’ Motorcycle
– c1952 Vincent Rapide C-Series
– Fritz Egli ‘Black Shadow’ Special
– Globally significant bike
World famous Swiss motorcycle manufacturer and tuner Fritz Egli has been at the forefront of Vincent tuning for more than 50 years. He came to prominence at the Geneva motorcycle show in 1967 with his Lightening spec Vincent Special and has been building fast Vincents ever since. For many of those years he had a personal vintage Vincent road bike, and this is it! Brought to Australia by a prominent Sydney doctor who lobbied Egli for years to be able to acquire the famous machine, it is a 1952 C-series Vincent Rapide which was dispatched from the Stevenage factory to a dealer in Zurich, Switzerland. Its ‘Black Shadow’ engine had been dispatched to the very same dealer two years previously. Quizzed about the mismatched frame and engine numbers of his Vincent ‘Black Shadow’ Special, Egli explained that he “often swapped engines when racing, doing tuning, development work”, and “never cared about ‘matching numbers’”. Although he had many Vincents over the years, this bike was his own personal classic which he maintained to be the fastest and best handling of its type. Presented in iconic ‘Black Shadow’ livery, it’s in good but not concours condition, as you’d expect of a 1952 C-Series Rapide that has clearly been used and enjoyed. It ranks among other rare Vincents of the world as one of the most significant and legendary. The c1952 Vincent Rapide C-Series ‘Black Shadow’ is being offered for sale here unregistered.
Vincent was a well-established name by the early post-war years and its flagship Rapide model was widely recognised as the world’s fastest production motorcycle, until its ‘Black Shadow’ derivative came along. Originally launched as the Series A in 1937, the Rapide utilised an air-cooled V-twin designed by talented Australian engineer Phil Irving. It was housed in a frame with cantilever rear suspension, a stainless steel tank, a foot-change four-speed Burman gearbox, and a side stand. Developing 45 horsepower, the earliest V-twins suffered from gearbox and clutch problems, something Vincent addressed with the Series B of 1945 by switching to unit construction, with the engine (now using a 50-degree cylinder angle) becoming integral with the frame. Other changes included ‘Girdraulic’ front forks and triangulated rear springing, plus seven-inch single-leading shoe brakes front and rear. Vincent continued manufacturing Rapides during the war and later moved to a more modern hydraulic shock absorber set-up and semi-sprung seat, while the gear-change and brakes were adjustable for reach to suit the rider, making for a very comfortable ride. Rapides, in Series C and D guises, continued in production through to 1955. Technologically advanced, the Vincent Rapide was certainly one of the finest high performance motorcycles on the market, but its steep price put it well beyond the reach of most enthusiasts when new. Today the Rapides, and their Black Shadow offshoots, have attained cult status among motorcycle fans and survivors are sought after by collectors the world over.