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1952-1955 Cushman 1955-1956 The Pisser 1960-1961 First Vincent Racer
1962-1963 First Blown Vincent 1965-1966 Magnesium Monster 1967-1979 Quarter Hemi
1979-1999 Fuel Injected Vincents 1983-1984 AJS Scrambler 1985-1989 Grey Flash Replica
1989-1993 Norton Manx 1990-1996 Black Lightning Replica 1993-1994 Norton Manx Double Knocker
2003-2003 The Copycat

1962-1963 First Blown Vincent

Click the photo above to view a photo album

It wasn't long before I realized what a dumb thing I'd done, and began to think of how to get my hands on another Vincent.

I'd heard through the grapevine that a sailor was being transferred who had a Vincent for sale for $100. I couldn't believe it, but it turned out to be true. When I got to his house he said it was out in his drive with a canvas tarp thrown over it. I removed the tarp and there was a complete Red Rapide. He told me it was running when he parked it over a year ago, and the reason he parked it was that it smoked really bad. I put fresh gas in it, kicked it over, checked for spark, tickled the carbs, and tried to start it. It didn't fire. But who in their right mind wouldn't buy a complete Rapide for $100?

The deal was made, so I looked around for the wife. She was heading back to the house in the Buick. I had told her the bike was a good deal and it runs. So there I was, in some suburb of California 50 miles from home.... Fortunately, the guy lived on top of a hill (must have had a Velocette in the garage), so my only option was to try to bump start the thing.

I took off down the hill, and it started! The guy said it smoked, and I tell you straight out he was not lying. But I got home without a hitch on my newly acquired $100 Vincent.

So here I was again with a whole Vincent in much better condition than the first, and I still had that burning desire to race a competitive Vincent at the drags. My thoughts took off. "Make it light." "Super charge it." "Run fuel." "Use all Lightning bits in the engine." "Put a larger slick on the rear." "Put big two inch Vactura carbs on it." "Eliminate low and second gear, using only third and fourth." "Modify a Norton clutch to hold the horsepower." Speaking of the Norton clutch, I acquired it from Sonny, who got it from George Brown, the builder of Nero and super Nero.

What went on in my garage with that Red Rapide can best be explained by looking at the pictures. Notice the aluminum frame and the Earl's type front forks I made. The bike had tons of power--best speed 139 mph in quarter mile on gasoline. It was quite dependable mechanically, but it was an evil handling bike. The aluminum frame wasn't strong enough at the steering head, also the rake and trail of those Earl's forks wasn't right. A real scary ride.

But this bike taught me a lot about fuel, blowers, and handling. My learning curve on how to make a Vincent go fast was improving.