Post-Listing Update: Despite 27 bids up to $85,100, the ’54 Vincent Black Shadow did not meet reserve! And the ’53 did not meet reserve either, getting up to “only” $80,001.
Alright, I’m back from the weekend (more on that later) and it’s time for more great bikes for sale! So we’ll start off strong with two examples of the greatest motorcycle ever made – the Vincent Black Shadow. This bike needs no introduction for motorcycle fans. For many, the essence of this bike is tied to a single photograph – Rollie Free breaking the American motorcycle land speed record in 1948 on the Bonneville Salt Flats:
The fastest motorcycle of the day, it was considered to be the world’s first superbike. To oversimplify, a Black Shadow is a blueprinted version of the original Vincent Rapide. You got bigger carbs, a higher compression ratio, hotter camshafts, and a lower first gear to help acceleration off the line. The “Black” aspect of the name comes from the paint job. In an era when highly polished chrome was the default, the enamel black was menacing and distinctive. Less than 1,700 Black Shadows were ever produced – even rarer were the White Shadows, which were the same bikes but with an aluminum finish. Less than 20 White Shadows were ever made.
Despite the fact that the Vincent Black Shadow was full of technological innovations, it was quite easier to maintain than its contemporaries. We try to keep prices reasonable on Bike-urious, but bikes like this will always deserve the exception. Want to learn more? Jay Leno wrote up a lovely feature on his personal Black Shadow here on Popular Mechanics.
“If you rode the Black Shadow at top speed for any length of time, you would almost certainly die.” – Hunter S. Thompson
The last time I featured a Black Shadow, it sold for $87,674. Today we’ve got two examples:
1.) A numbers matching 1954 model with a rebuilt engine. Find it for sale in Saint Louis, Missouri with bidding up to $75,100 and the reserve not yet met
2.) A “concourse-level” restored 1953 model. Find it for sale in San Clemente, California with bidding up to $70,000 and the reserve not yet met