This 1953 Vincent Black Shadow Rapide was acquired by the current owner in 1998. According to the previous owner, he had the bike for 30 years. This motorcycle appears to be a 3-owner motorcycle. During that time period the bike was maintained at Manx Motors in Sebastopol, CA. According to the information provided by the previous owner, it had a genuine Shadow engine (VIN = late 1953) with an earlier Rapide frame (VIN = 1949). The bike had been partly “lightningized” by a previous owner. The bike had alloy rims and a “Lightning” tachometer.
Prior to purchase, the current owner had the bike inspected by an expert who confirmed that it was not an original Black Shadow, but a Black Shadow engine installed in a Rapide chassis. Though not having original matching numbers or set up to standard specification, it was in good mechanical condition and in good running order. The cosmetic condition was fair. In particular, the gas tank and seat were in poor condition. The bike had been set up to Black Lightning specifications with the installation of two front cylinder heads and TT carburetors. Dunlop alloy wheel rims, alloy Amal GP competition style clutch and brake levers and an alloy Amal dual throttle were also fitted to the bike.
After the current owner acquired this bike, it was initially serviced by Dick Busby, a well-known Vincent restoration specialist. Dick performed all necessary mechanical adjustments to the bike and replaced the TT carburetors since it was very difficult to keep the bike running with those racing carburetors. Those have since been sold. The tank was sent out to be done to original specifications, as was the seat. Those are presently in excellent condition. Most recently, the bike was serviced by Classic Cycles in Orange, CA. This Vincent is of original parts and it is a road machine. It is ready to ride and has serviced regularity.
6,221 on a working clock which is believed to be a Black Shadow part.
The paint on the tank is fresh black from the tank restoration. The badges are correct, new, and excellently applied. The remainder of the paint is believed to be original with excellent patina.
Sheet metal is original, nicely fit, and in excellent shape.
The fuel tank has excellent sheet metal because of the restoration done to it. The frame and fenders are original sheet metal. Fenders are excellent quality with minimal dings or dents.
Good chrome that continues to take a polish.
This motorcycle is in very good mechanical condition. It has been ridden lightly and serviced by the best Vincent mechanics over its life. Quick start on ignition kick and smooth through the gears, excellent braking. This Vincent was built to ride and it is excellent at that duty!
Wheels & Tires
Rims are alloy
Front tire is Avon Speedmaster 3.00 S 20 0n 2 ¼ 20 alloy rims
Rear tire is Avon Roadmaster 3.00 S 20 on 2 ¼ 20 alloy rims
Clear California Title and current registration.
Engine# F10 AB/1B/10115 (1953 Shadow)
Frame# RC7282 (1949 Rapide matching)
Valuation Resource Guide
Excellent =$114k (Shadow)
Very Good = $65k (Rapide)