Vincent Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

2007 Vincent Black Shadow

This Vincent Black Shadow has been constructed entirely from newly manufactured parts supplied by the Vincent Owners Spares Company in the UK which, over the years, has collected around 1,100 drawings for post-war Vincent components. Around 2004, it became apparent that it would be possible to manufacture a complete engine from the VOC Spares Company’s component stock and one was built in 2005. It was then decided to produce a frame and front fork, the main components of which had been unavailable new for 50 years, to prove that any parts needed for a post-war Vincent could be supplied.

The model chosen was the Black Shadow in as near as possible to 1950 Series-C specification. The VOC Machine Registrar issued frame and engine numbers which fit in with the original series used by the Vincent factory yet clearly identify it as being of new manufacture. Because some manufacturers of propriety items such as Amal, Lucas and Miller no longer exist, a few compromises had to be made. The carburettors are new Amal type 6 (Rapide size) instead of Type 29s, a modern BTH magneto is concealed under the magneto cowl, an Alton 12-volt alternator is fitted where a Miller dynamo would be and a 12-volt battery is concealed within a replica Exide battery case. Also, for improved durability, all small fittings are stainless steel, lightly bead-blasted to resemble the original cadmium finish.

The motorcycle was completed at the start of 2007 and officially handed over to its owners, the Vincent Owners Club who registered it for UK road use as a 2007 machine. Some miles of running in were carried out to bed-in the engine and cycle parts and make the necessary fine adjustments to ensure that it rides well as can be achieved. Following a number of road tests, it was featured in several publications: Classic Bike Guide, Real Classics, The Institute of Mechanical Engineers Journal and Motor Cycle News. It was shown at a number of events and rallies during 2007, although most people thought that it was just another concourse example of a 1950s Stevenage-built Vincent!

It was acquired for the Nelson-based NZ Classic Motorcycles collection at an auction in Staffordshire in April, 2008. It was acquired by Transport World for the Classic Motorcycle Mecca collection in May, 2016.

Source: New Zealand Classic Motorcycles

Grandfather's Axe

  • "I remembered once, in Japan, having been to see the Gold Pavilion Temple in Kyoto and being mildly surprised at quite how well it had weathered the passage of time since it was first built in the fourteenth century. I was told it hadn't weathered well at all, and had in fact been burnt to the ground twice in this century.

    "So it isn't the original building?" I had asked my Japanese guide.
    "But yes, of course it is," he insisted, rather surprised at my question.
    "But it's burnt down?"
    "Twice. "
    "Many times."
    "And rebuilt."
    "Of course. It is an important and historic building."
    "With completely new materials." "But of course. It was burnt down."
    "So how can it be the same building?"
    "It is always the same building."

    I had to admit to myself that this was in fact a perfectly rational point of view, it merely started fron an unexpected premise. The idea of the building, the intention of it, its design, are all immutable and are the essence of the building. The intention of the original builders is what survives. The wood of which the design is constructed decays and is replaced when necessary. To be overly concerned with the original materials, which are merely sentimental souvenirs of the past, is to fail to see the living building itself."

    Douglas Adams ~ Last Chance to See.

Terry Pratchett took a similar line about a family heirloom axe - the blade & the handle had been replaced many times but "is this not still the axe of my family?"

Wikipedia: "In the metaphysics of identity, the ship of Theseus is a thought experiment that raises the question of whether an object that has had all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object. The concept is one of the oldest in Western philosophy, having been discussed by the likes of Heraclitus and Plato by ca. 500-400 BC."

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