The baby brother to the legendary Black Shadow, the Vincent Rapide was sold from 1936-55 in 3 distinct ‘Series’. The final run was the Series C, which commenced in 1949. It offered the Rapide as a base model and the Black Shadow as the higher state of tune.
The Rapide’s 998cc V-twin was good for 45 horsepower – the Black Shadow got an additional 10hp. By the standards of the 50’s, this motorcycle was absolutely incredible. Top speed was about 120 miles per hour, and you got between 50-60 miles per gallon, to boot. MSRP was originally $1,250 – nowadays you’ll be lucky to snag one for less than 20 times that amount. For more information and a pleasant story about someone riding a Series C Rapide on the PCH in Big Sur, check out this article from Motorcycle Classics.
This example has a well-documented history in the listing, which includes a rebuilt motor to Black Shadow specifications and a upper frame from a Comet, for an unknown reason – “one can imagine, perhaps, that the original bike may have had a frontal impact requiring a new front fork and steering head early in its life.” It comes with the original registration book and is said to be in excellent running and riding condition.
Find this Rapide for sale for $69,000 here at Moto Borgotaro.