Vincent Motorcycle For Sale

Vincent Motorcycles is a former motorcycle brand created in Great Britain by Philip Vincent, who purchased HRD Motorcycles and rebranded them as Vincent HRD. These motorcycles were manufactured from 1928 to 1955, and early Vincent models were produced with third-party JAP engines as a means to make the fledgling company profitable.

The first “true” Vincent motorcycles were produced in 1934 when their 500cc single-cylinder and 1,000cc V-twin engines were debuted. From 1936 through 1939, Vincent’s production output increased every year. However, production came to a screeching halt in 1939 with the outbreak of World War II. Until 1945, together with most other British companies, Vincent’s factories were dedicated to wartime production.

But with renewed peace came increased prosperity. Late 1940s Vincent models were among their most popular ever, and the 1948 Vincent Black Shadow created waves by breaking the world’s land speed record. 

Unfortunately, the early 1950s brought increased competition in Europe, and the branding issues in the United States caused confusion between Vincent’s HRD imprint and Harley-Davidson’s HD. Despite the rebranding to just “Vincent,” the company would cease production entirely in 1955. As a result, Vincent motorcycles are true classics, with the most recent models being over 65 years old.

Vincent Motorcycle Buyer’s Guide

By their very nature, older bikes are prone to wear and tear. But there is a lot of real estate between acceptable aging and severe damage. Don’t settle for a motorcycle you are not confident in. Even a cheap Vincent is a collector’s item and should be held to a high standard.

To begin with, this means all the things you should look for on a standard motorcycle purchase. Check the forks to make sure they are free of rust. Check the brake, clutch, and throttle for smooth, easy operation. Check the gas and the oil, and get a good look at the tires to ensure they are not cracked and don’t have any flat spots. Also, double-check the suspension. The Comet has a spring-rear suspension, which is relatively easy to check; it’s either rusty or not. However, the Meteor and the Rapide have hydraulic-rear shocks, which can get leaky with age. Check around the seals for evidence of leaking, even if the shocks feel fine.

Finally, look for the little things. Are the original decals still intact? Was the gas tank replaced sometime in the 1980s? These types of details can require the help of someone with an experienced eye. However, it is well worth getting help when you are evaluating a motorcycle this old.

The Best Places To Buy A Vincent Motorcycle

Vincent motorcycles can be divided into two categories: pre-war and post-war. Pre-WWII Vincents are extremely difficult to find. For instance, this 1938 Vincent Rapide is currently listed for $1,100,000, and it is in pristine condition. Therefore, it is an extreme example. But even a rust bucket from this era can cost tens of thousands of dollars, provided it is in salvageable condition.

Post-war models are slightly more available, though that is a relative term. The Comet and some Rapide variants can be found on regular motorcycle marketplaces. This 1950 Vincent Comet with visible rust is listed for $32,000.

Vincent Meteor

The Vincent Meteor made its debut in the pre-war era. It was based on the original Vincent HRD motorcycle, but it was re-engineered to use Vincent’s in-house 500cc engine. The prewar Meteor is very difficult to find. You would have to monitor high-end auction houses or get extremely lucky on a site like eBay.

At the time, the Meteor marked a significant advancement in engine technology. Earlier V-twin engines suffered from frequent valve failure, caused by valves vibrating back and forth on a single fulcrum. Instead, Vincent utilized a forked rocker that could float back and forth with the engine, significantly reducing vibration.

If you want to buy a Vincent Meteor, your best bet is to look for a postwar model. These bikes were only produced from 1946 to 1950, so they are not as common as the postwar Comet or Rapide. This 1949 Meteor recently sold for $40,611 in excellent condition.

Vincent Comet

The Vincent Comet is the second of Vincent’s four 500cc motorcycles. It used the same engine as the Meteor but with beefier forks and a stiffer rear suspension. These modifications provided somewhat better handling, making the Comet the sportier of the two models. Vincent’s other four 500cc models, such as the Comet Special and the Sports Comet, are significantly harder to find.

The Comet’s availability depends mainly on where you live. The postwar model was wildly popular in the United Kingdom and can be found readily online, with prices as low as £18,000 (just under $25,000). On the other hand, relatively few Comets were sold in North America. The American and Canadian buyers will have to watch for auctions and hope to get lucky.

Vincent Rapide

The Vincent Rapide was designed as a larger version of the Comet, even utilizing the same frame, but with one crucial difference: it was extended to fit the Vincent 1,000cc engine. When it debuted in 1936, reviewers praised it for its speed and power, although some were less than pleased with the large, complex exhaust system. This version of the Rapide, part of Series A, was produced until 1939 and is very difficult to find.

After World War II, Vincent released a redesigned “Series B” Rapide, produced from 1946 to 1948. It was similar to the Series A but with a simplified exhaust system and less chrome. The Series C Rapide was built beginning in 1948 and was stripped down even further to maximize speed. This motorcycle broke the motorcycle speed record at Bonneville, with motorcyclist Rollie Free achieving a top speed of 150 MPH in a specialized variant known as the Black Lightning.

Series C Rapides are the easiest to find on today’s market. There are a handful of units available online at any given time, with prices ranging from $45,000 to $85,000 depending on condition.

There was also a Series D Rapide, an even lighter model with many fiberglass parts. However, it went into production as Vincent was going out of business, producing only 500 units.