A $100,000 Vincent Motorcycle is a bargain (seriously)


Vincent motorcycles are known for being cool, fast, and very expensive. To give scale and context to “expensive,” this 1951 Vincent Series C Black Shadow at Gooding and Company’s upcoming Scottsdale auction has an estimate of $90,000–$120,000. That’s hardly cheap, but I’m here to say that’s not expensive at all, and at $100,000 a Vincent Black Shadow motorcycle is a bargain. I beg you to convince me otherwise.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/01/10/100k-vincent-motorcycle-is-a-bargain


Gorgeous motorcycles and fast in a straight line. However, the fact that the frame was multiple pieces bolted together made it very flexible and squirrelly in the turns.


Well sir, have you ridden one ? I’ve been riding them for years and it is quite possible to drag the pegs. Fact of the matter is there is no frame.


Owning a vintage motorcycle is a lot different than owning a vintage car. To take full advantage of owning a bike you have to be able to push it around, hold it upright and throw a leg over it, as well as remember how to actually ride it. Many more people with this kind of discretionary income are a lot more comfortable sitting in or driving a vehicle with four wheels. Of course if it’s just going to sit in a museum or be treated as an investment, that’s a different scenario. I still remember seeing my first Black Shadow in a small shop south of Iowa City back in 1968–a cherished moment.


This “hinge in the middle” business is an old myth, been around a very long time. It comes from a time when Vincents were worth not much and were being driven frequently with worn out dampers and bearings. The fact is there are two (2) frame parts only - the upper frame member and the swing arm. If the s/a bearings are good and the rear and front dampers are both good, a Vincent will handle as well as any other bike of the era and better than most. Keep in mind that Vins are a product of their time (1940s, really) and would out handle most bikes of that day. Ever try to ride a 1940s or early 50s Harley fast on a twisty road?


“Said Red Molly to James, that’s a fine motorbike,
a girl would look special on any such like”


Continuing the discussion from A $100,000 Vincent Motorcycle is a bargain (seriously):

Somer speaks the truth and if he is the Somer I’m thinking of, a well respected expert. I grew up around these beasts (and I have one) and the speed wobble / tank slapper stories are fables. Google Ed LaBelle and get schooled on how great these bikes really were at speed.

If you’ve ever heard a Vincent, you would agree they have the sweetest v-twin exhaust note on the planet.


The power of social media…I’m not going to undermine the motorcycle(s)…they were on a episode of Chasing Classic Cars and Wayne was on the hunt…and somehow they were in a garage a few miles from him for years until tv waved its magic wand over them and now they are important…If you were overseas and fell head over heels for it 70 years ago and now it’s some sort of have to have item… where have you been???..$100,000 if the bidders are there, not sure it should be on a stage at B&J …maybe at Sotheby’s auctions where you just knod your head…I think we are being played here to draw attention to his 70 year old motorcycles just so the value goes up…


I have always loved the Vincent, and pray someday I will stumble upon one while I am still young enough to drive it! :grin:


About 30 years ago I knew a guy who was in the right place at the right time. He bought a 1950 BL for $1k unmolested original. I had a shop at the time and he wanted me to help him “restore” it on the " buddy plan". Not wanting the headache I passed on that deal. He couldn’t afford to properly restore it, so last time I saw him he had sold it to the afore mentioned somerh. I’m sure it had a much better ending.


Beautiful bikes and thoughtful article. No qualms with the premise. A small qualm with the journalism.

“Make no mistake, $929,000 is a lot of coin, but that’s 51.5 times less than the most expensive car sold at auction.”

If the bike sold for 1 x less, or 100% less than the most expensive car, than it would have sold for ZERO!
If the most expensive car, as you say, sold for $38,000,000, and the most expensive Vincent sold for $929,000, than the Vincent sold for 97.76% less than the Ferrari, not 51 X times less.

Carry on.


The first & last one I saw was at the Sammy Miller Museum back in 1998. Don’t know if they still have it or any others, but the museum is very nice. It makes for a nice place to go in the New Forest.


Two points: First, i have to agree with MDELTERGO


HIT send by accident, rookie mistate. Anyway, saying somthing is “X times less” is at the very least, abuse of the english language, and a pet peeve of mine. Second, the accumulation, as well as the concetration of wealth worldwide, is what i suspect is driving all these great things out of the reach of the working man. If we had a crystal ball, all of us working folk would have Speedsters, Vincents, big block '67 Vettes, and Alfa Guillietta’s in our garages.


Probably the best motorcycle song ever, even if it is about a Vincent model that few have ever seen. I recommend it to anyone who has never heard this classic written–and often performed–by Richard Thompson. --Jonathan