Following WWII, Indian had 2,000 dealers but no viable product to compete with Harley Davidson’s OHV Twin, Vincent had a superb OHV twin and no U.S. presence. This was soon rectified by Indian Sales Corp. taking on Vincent distributor ship. Informed that Americans liked bright colors, chrome and fat tires, Vincent produced 107 machines of various models and configurations in Chinese Red. Whereas the standard finish was applied by dipping components in large vats, red machines were hand sprayed in three batches over several years commencing with transition engine cases numbered 27xx through the later embossed cases in the 44xxrange. One batch included Paul Vincent's Bristol automobile and some models were even fitted with off-white seats.

    These machines were often used as draws to the Indian display at shows as seen here with Big Sid’s first Vincent, this all-red Red Touring Rapide purchased immediately upon pulling back the slats of the crate it was contained in while preparing new bikes at a local dealer for the show. As recounted in his superb book - Vincents With Big Sid - he had to endure the agonizing delay of waiting for the show to end before experiencing that first ride on his own Vincent.

     Having grown up in a small town in the North East full of eclectic two and four wheeled machinery, I'd long been familiar and enamored of Vincents, but they'd all been in the standard finish. Overwhelmed by all the two-wheeled eye candy with my first visit to Daytona Bike Week in 1991 with my overly restored Norton Commando Production Racer, I spotted Jeff Glasserow aboard this spectacular machine splashing nonchalantly in the rain through the puddles of the swap meet parking lot at the old Armory and thought naively then, wow, I think I’ll restore one of those next. Many other restorations kept coming ”next” took 7 years to find the right one!

     Numbered in the 40xx range, this machine is a mid batch "transition" model produced during the changeover from HRD markings to Vincent in which the cases were embossed but the timing cover and valve caps still plain with HRD ground off the latter. It was as found in its original factory build sheet Touring configuration in all red. This machine, following purchase from the local Indian dealer by the original owner, was sprayed entirely black directly over its original finish with minimal preparation/disassembly before delivery thereafter spending its life in Marysville, Oh. No one locally had ever seen it in any other color than black.

     After three teeth failed on the alloy timing gear, it was parked in a barn with other machines in the early 60's with only 7,200 miles on the clock, its timing cover and spindle steady plate removed. With the original owner's passing, the family sold it to a local HD enthusiast. It was nearly complete, with only a few non standard pieces such as handlebars, tail light assembly and seat grab rail with all matching numbers. With the pistons firmly seized, the new owner then disassembled it into 3 large lumps whereupon it sat several more years until I purchased it in 1997.

Notable Features of the Red Touring Rapide
Valanced steel fenders
"Cowhorn" raised handlebars
3.50X19 inch front and 4.0X18 Rear rim/tire sizes
Some fitted with off white covered seats
All red accept: speedo housing, horn face, rear number plate,
      tool tray, generator housing (end cap red), tire pump.
107 variations in red in three batches, PCV's Bristol sedan included
      in one

      Acquisition proved to be just the start of an even more challenging undertaking; the complete three year restoration of this machine in my garage with only minimal activities vendored out and all external parts preserved. The objective of this particular restoration was an aesthetically pleasing and visually near accurate machine, but more importantly, with total mechanical integrity for reliable long distance riding, for which it has far exceeded my expectations over the last 8 years. My wife and I would not participate in an AMCA Road Run without it.

I hope this web page not only provides some entertainment - doubtfully any education - but may act as a catalyst to pursue that unobtainable machine you've long desired and to then experience the satisfaction of laying your hand on every piece on the path to resurrecting that machine and fulfilling your long held riding experience expectations. This one certainly has like none that have preceded it!

     Pass your mouse over the images for an explanation, click for a larger view and good luck with your restoration. Cheerio,

     No marque has a more rabid following of owners improving the breed for which I am a neophyte at this stage by comparison. Consider these the observations of a rank amateur having built and operated a Vincent completely in a vacuum - having no local contacts - bringing only a broad based mechanical acumen refined over 42 years of achieving satisfactory results to this equation.  To that end, as a restoration, beyond just easy starting and running flawlessly for 11 years, it has performed at a level unapproachable by any machine of its era and my experience. This machine has now been joined by the late 1950 production Black Shadow described below obtained as a basket case in 10/08, on the road by 2/09 and both now have provide thousands of trouble free miles.

     Short of addressing every single element to ensure your Vincent would endure a Tony Rose-type one year 100,000 test, here are a some tips accumulated from experience building/operating mine and assisting others with theirs that may help yours be a generally more pleasant and reliable machine. This list is not remotely comprehensive, I'd recommend E.M.G. Steven's Know the Beast and Paul Richardson's Vincent for step-by-step guidance to use as your knowledge base. Links have also been provided to by component group below to provide you with additional information from experienced long time owners. If new to the marque or contemplating a possible purchase, you can also join The Vincent Owner's Club Forum as a non-member here. Through the forum search tool you can review posts and the guidance provided for past enthusiasts seeking/making their first Vincent purchase.

For clarity, I will make regular reference to factory drawings and part numbers, you can download a spreadsheet (XLS) of the factory parts list hyperlinked to the appropriate factory drawings at Dave's Vincent site by clicking here I'm currently going back through email inquiries received through my feedback button below as well as notes from the Black Shadow resurrection to add more information and sections to the categories below.

Here is a list of product and service providers along with a smattering of the more educational and entertaining reading material available for this storied marque.

The following are various images of an unmolested original paint low mileage machine for your reference.

Various pictures of other red Vincents accumulated over the years with captions where information is known. If one of these is yours and you'd either like to have some additional comments added or the image removed altogether, please advise via my feed back button below.

From October 07 through October 08, the estate of a deceased classic motorcycle enthusiast had been selling his machines through a local motor cycle dealer. No one had realized he had a Black Shadow in pieces tucked away back in the garage awaiting restoration for 31 years as a retirement project. Following weeks of going through old Vincent STOP newsletters, I located the ad from 2/77 that this owner had seen to buy it originally which also revealed the vin number - the perfect contrast - a matching number/mating number late 1950 all-business Black Shadow with Elektron Black Lightning front brakes to match my flashy Red Rapide! The Beauty and now The Beast.

Purchased in 2/77 with approximately 6,000 miles, running and in excellent condition, it was completely disassembled after only 145 miles - because of an annoyingly persistent kick start return spring breakage and a recalcitrant clutch- an overall powerplant rebuild completed by Rip Tragle in 6/77, whereupon it sat once returned for 31 years as pictured above. As found it was sitting with the motor bolted to the UFM still filled with oil, evidence of briefly being run on the stand, wiring harness attached with connections labeled and ready to go. The rest of the chassis was stored in boxes mixed in with other British bike bits both in the basement and on shelves in the garage. With the exception of most of the non-power plant related hardware, it was complete accept the upper/lower (FF3/FF4) fork links/related hardware.

Initially the plan was to mock all the parts up into a stand-up-basket for later restoration, but while engaged in that, pulling the timing cover revealed an immaculate timing chest with the engine builder Rip Tragle's signature scribed in the steady plate for which you can read his article published in the Chicago Section STOP newsletter on setting it up here. Then, off came the UFM and and the heads and barrels to reveal standard bores and new pistons barely discolored from being run on the bench. At that point, starting at the rear of the machine, every piece was prep'd, repaired where necessary or replaced and the build began in earnest. All painted cycle parts were prep'd as one would to apply a quality polyurethane paint job, but instead, they were all shot over bar metal with 5 cans of Rustoleum aerosols. Many of the techniques involved in this psuedo restoration to replicate a well used but dusty machine are outlined in my ...a few tips section above.

On a cold clear day in early February 09, it fired for the first time in 31 years on the 2nd kick (you can watch a rather grainy video of that start on youtube here) and has not required a spanner to be laid on it since. As the bronze British Army Royal Armoured Force Crest medallion affixed to the tip of the front fender by its British military original owner still proclaims - "Fear Naught" rides again!

10/20/11 - View a 109 photo sequence of its freshening with captions here.

! NEW Have your searches on YouTube for Vincent Motorcycle related videos produced more results for a band your not keen to listen to? I'm merging dozens of vintage motorcycle YouTube videos accumulated over the years as browser link favorites into a YouTube Channel and then breaking them out by category and then linking them here for your convenient viewing pleasure.

Choose your favorite category from the menu below and check back often as I'll be adding more. Have one you like you don't see on these playlists? Hit Recommend a Video and send me the link.

     The motorized two wheel side of a 40 year 4 wheel - and even one wheel - mechanical journey has distilled itself down to the following machines. Pass your mouse over the link for a pic and overview and click for the full story. The long road to restoration of the 1941 Indian Four is now complete and it's online. Next up will be a site devoted to the 1940 Indian Four.