£40,000 - £45,000
1955 Vincent Series D Black Knight, 998cc. registration number PCR 836. Frame number, headstock RD 12954/F, rear RD 12954/F. Engine number F10 AB/2 11054. Crankcases, both J 44 V.
Phil Vincent dubbed the 45hp Black Knight “a two-wheeled Bentley” when it was launched at the Earl’s Court Motor Show in 1954, becoming the first fully-enclosed superbike.
The idea was that the owner could ride to work in his suit and not have to wear motorcycle clothing, it also had the added benefit of channeling more air into the engine bay thereby increasing the power over the Rapide on which it was a development, at the same time the Black Prince was launched based on the Black Shadow with 55hp . The only visual difference between the two is the badging on the mudguards.
As the story goes, by the time the hand built faired bikes rolled out, Vincent was finding it increasingly difficult to compete with mass-manufactured cars. Not only did the Black Knight and Black Prince prove unpopular due to their futuristic looks, but it turned out Vincent was losing money on each bike sold. The company closed in December 1955 after producing 101 Black Knights and 132 Black Princes.
One of the most useful innovations was a huge side-mounted lever which allowed the rider to place the bike on its center stand while still sitting in the saddle, the whole of the rear panelling is hinged for ease of access and it used Lucas electrics, chosen for their reliability.
This confirmed matching numbers machine was first registered on the 1st October 1955, and was first registered with a sidecar, as many were. By January 1962 it was with Thomas Wood of Brixton before moving to Slough with Alec Maslen in May 1962. In May 1964 it was with Elite Motors of Tooting being sold to Gordon Hemms of Bath in the July, he still had it in 1976. Trevor Burgess of Liversedge bought it in 1980 before it moved to Garnett Orford of Selby in 1998, our vendor bought it from him in 2017.
There are MOT's on file from 1985 at 22,004 miles, 1997 at 22,609 miles and 1998 at 22, 644 miles, today it is at 102 miles.