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By the 1950s, Vincent motorcycles were synonymous with advanced engineering and shocking performance. When a quick bike struggled to “do the ton” (100 mph), the Black Shadow did 125 mph. It was the world’s fastest production motorcycle until Kawasaki’s Z1 in 1973.
Philip Vincent pushed even further with the Black Knight and Black Prince, the firm’s final models, describing “a burning desire that my designs should be recognized as outstanding.” In 1954, with these models, he introduced the total enclosure of his machines in glass-fibre-reinforced black plastic. Streamlined enclosure in road racing and speed records inspired a motorcycle that protected the rider from the elements. One contemporary reviewer described it as “giving the impression of being in a high-powered sports car.”
This outstanding example is stated by the consignor to be mostly original. According to the consignor, it came stateside circa 1997 when it was purchased by Mike Allen from England’s oldest vintage motorcycle dealer, Brian Verrall. Mr. Allen sold it to Brian Keating of New Hampshire circa 2003, who sold it to the current owner around 2005. The consignor describes the Vincent as a strong runner with an updated clutch. Finding an original Black Knight is a tall order, as approximately 100 were produced, with many lost to time. This impressive example is sure to please the veteran enthusiast and budding motorcycle collector alike.