Legendary Record-Setting Vincent Motorcycle To Be Sold

Marty Dickerson, Vincent and Bonneville. Does it tell you something? Young Dickerson was already obsessed with racing when he traded in his Triumph Tiger for a near-new Vincent Series B Rapide. Back in 1948, even die-hard enthusiasts were hardly aware of the British-built OHV 1000cc machine despite that these 50-degree V-twins were the fastest stock motorcycles available. Marty’s purchase didn’t disappoint, in fact its maximum speed exceeded his long held expectations.A regular in southern California speed trials, Marty was soon cutting 120+mph runs on his free-running Rapide through the traps at Rosamund Dry Lake. The West Coast Vincent dealer, Mickey Martin, commissioned Dickerson to visit potential dealer outlets located throughout the southwestern US in an effort to increase Vincent sales. When arriving at a dealer destination, he would inevitably be challenged by local 2- and 4-wheel “hotshoes”. Invariably, the challengers failed to recognize the machine on which he’d ridden into town and, irrespective of how tired or unprepared Marty was, he was never beaten! In 1951 at Utah’s famous Bonneville Salt Flats, Marty and his “Blue Bike” earned the second fastest speed of 129mph. The next year, the pair achieved the fastest time and the AMA Class C record with a speed of 141.72mph. (Class C rules restricted un-faired machines to pump fuel, an 8:1 compression ratio, and for riders to sit conventionally.) A year later, in 1953, he raised that speed and grabbed yet another Class C record at 147.56mph – a record that remained unbroken for the next 20 years! Encouraged by these “victories” Marty returned to Los Angeles and began a series of improvements to his machine. Having become synonymous with Vincent, Marty has traveled the world as the British brand’s ambassador, attending rallies, races, meets and even acting as Honorary Judge at the 2007 Legend of the Motorcycle when Vincent was the featured brand, the last time Marty and the Blue Bike were reunited in public. In 2000, after more than half a century of ownership, Marty sold the Blue Bike to a prominent Vincent devotee in Texas where the bike remains in a preserved “as last run” condition. This motorcycle is being offered for sale at Bonhams’ renowned annual auction at the Petersen Automotive Museum in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, October 25th. Interested parties may register to bid by e-mailing at motors.us@bonhams.com or calling 415-391-4000.

8 Responses to “Legendary Record-Setting Vincent Motorcycle To Be Sold”

  1. 1 Brenda Fox Sep 16th, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Awesome bike!
    Is it in Herb Harris’s “Vincent’s Mega Man” collection – now?
    Look forward to eyeballing this historical salt flat runner at the Petersen Automotive Museum.

  2. 2 Mike Greenwald Sep 17th, 2008 at 9:45 am
  3. 3 Chucky Sep 17th, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Shouldn’t this historical bike be in some museum or Hall of Fame? Held record for 20 years! It would be a pitty for this bike to disappear.

  4. 4 Biker Bob Sep 22nd, 2008 at 10:20 am

    Is that Frank Zappa standing next to the bike?????

  5. 5 David Sep 22nd, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Yes this bike should be in a museum– The Museum of Mine sitting in my living room for me to admire on a regular basis..thank you

  6. 6 Mike Greenwald Oct 20th, 2008 at 5:55 pm


    Vincent Black Lightning sells for record price

    By Sarah Carnell


    20 October 2008 14:37

    A supercharged Vincent Black Lightning sold for £221,500 at the Stafford Show – making it the most expensive motorcycle ever sold at auction in the UK.

    The 1949 machine, owned by Reg Dearden and modified to allow for an attempt on the land speed record, was sold by Bonhams at The Stafford Show last weekend.

    This is the third time in as many months the record has been smashed. In September a Vincent-HRD Series-A Rapide raised £201,000, crushing the record set just moments before by a 1927 Zenith-JAP Championship Motorcycle Combination, which sold for £180000.

    Ben Walker, Bonhams motorcycle specialist, said: “It is amazing – just incredible that the record has been broken again. This bike has been bought by an anonymous collector.”

    Despite becoming the most expensive bike ever sold, it only scraped in at the bottom end of its guide price, which was £220,000 to £340,000.

    A number of other lots at the sale, including Mick Grants works Ducati Formula 750 and a Supercharged DKW from 1937 failed to sell.

    Walker said: “It was an interesting sale, which raised £1.12m all together. 77% of the lots were sold and as usual the British bikes and vintage models did extremely well.”

    The highlights of the sale were a 1936 Norton International Model 40 built to Manx racing specification which raised £37,700, a 1902 Raleigh motorcycle which sold for three times more than its guide price at £29,900 and a 2007 Confederate B120 Wraith which reached £38,900.

  7. 7 Gary Collins Oct 22nd, 2008 at 12:20 am

    I remember when that Kawasaki 900 Z1, broke his record by about 1 mph, I think. And there was a subsequent attempt by the new owner of the Vincent, to re-establish the mark, but I believe, he ran almost an identical time as Marty had done, some twenty years earlier. What a story all of this has been. I’m so fortunate to have been around these competition bikes when they were king.

  1. 1 Legendary Record-Setting Vincent to be sold - Perth Street Bikes Pingback on Sep 16th, 2008 at 8:44 pm
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Cyril Huze