Four Vincent Concept Models To Be Auctioned At Bonhams’ Quail Lodge Motorcycle Auction.

Bearing the name of one of greatest brands ever known in the world of motorcycling will be four important and highly collectible pre-production Vincent revival concept bikes taking center stage at Bonhams’ upcoming motorcycle sale in early May. Story of these unique motorcycles is quite interesting. The late California entrepreneur Bernard Li made his fortune with a line of car-care products, but his passion was motorcycles, in particular bringing back to life the legendary and mighty Vincent V-twin, out of production since 1955. Starting in 1994, Li rounded up U.S. Vincent trade rights and then commissioned an updated “Phase I” prototype using a modernized version of the old Vincent motor. When that proved impractical to mass-produce, Li embarked upon an ambitious clean-sheet redesign.

Hand-built by Roush Industries to exacting standards, the resulting prototypes used 130hp high-tech Superbike motors specially provided by Honda, state-of-the-art components and true-to-brand modern cantilever rear suspension, and were rolled out with great anticipation to the press, investors and potential buyers in 2002. Development continued until 2008 when Li’s untimely death brought the project to a halt.

“The children and I are torn between feelings of sadness and a calming peace in anticipation of the Vincent prototypes passing on to others,” said Elizabeth Li speaking for the family. “We hope that Bernard’s efforts and his dream of these bikes will be appreciated and enjoyed for many years to come. His passion in this project – as with all of his undertakings – was intense and very dear to his heart. We have hope that a reborn Vincent may still one day come to fruition.”

The four concept models being auctioned by Bonhams are: Vincent Phase 1 Prototype with new, standard-style Vincent motor (top picture). Vincent Black Shadow with Honda Superbike factory motor (bottom picture). Vincent Black Lightning S sportbike with Honda Superbike factory motor. Vincent Black Eagle cruiser with Honda Superbike factory motor.

This is a very unique opportunity to own these beautiful and historic machines, built to reincarnate a brand that changed the face of motorcycling and is still venerated a half-century after its end. The auction of the concept models will take place at the Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley, California, on Saturday, May 8th, in conjunction with the Quail Motorcycle Gathering. (Please note – a ticket to the Quail Motorcycle Gathering is not required for entry into the Bonhams auction.) Buyers interested in registering to bid in person or remotely may go to Bonhams or call 415-391-4000. For more information about Vincent, including detailed pictures of Li’s prototypes and press coverage, visit his beautifully-created website. Vincent Motors.

8 Responses to “Four Vincent Concept Models To Be Auctioned At Bonhams’ Quail Lodge Motorcycle Auction.”

  1. 1 JZ Apr 21st, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    While Li had a lot of critics, I personally think he was on the right track. Vincent was a super bike and any resurrection and evolution would need to embrace that. He did develop a new, updated super version of the Vincent engine but it would not have been cost effective (meaning it would have been too ridiculously expensive for consumers). Being a smart businessman and a visionary he did the next best thing: he worked a deal with Honda for their super engines. Not only that but, in my opinion, he stayed true to the styling, quality materials and build approach. In summary, Li was trying to do it right. It’s too bad he died before his goal could be completed. At least he died doing what he loved – riding a motorcycle. He was an example to the industry. R.I.P. Bernard.

  2. 2 Pipes Apr 21st, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    I recall seeing a Vincent Motorcycle ad from a copy of the London Times around 1953 advertising for a technician. At the bottom of the ad were these words: “We do not make money. We make motorcycles.” As much as I admire Mr. Li’s attempt to revive the marque, I doubt that it would be any more profitable now than ever. The Vincent has gone the way of The Brough Superior. I do not believe enough market support exists to make a hand-crafted motorcycle any more economically feasible now than 60 years ago. And the fact is, many modern mass-produced motorcycles are (and it is almost regrettable to admit) even more dependable and powerful renditions of “the gentleman’s cruiser” than those historic machines were.

    Believe me, I understand the mystique of those time-honored motorcycles; I have had the opportunity to ride many of them.

  3. 3 1 DWB Apr 21st, 2010 at 6:44 pm


  4. 4 ROCKSTAR Apr 22nd, 2010 at 8:27 am

    I’ll take my RC-51 in Edwards livery.

  5. 5 J Apr 22nd, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Pretty impressive how fresh those bikes look, even 8 yrs later- tho Americans are slow to buy standards, I bet these would have prospered in Europe and Asia……

  6. 6 nicker Apr 23rd, 2010 at 11:53 pm
  7. 7 DAVIS Nov 24th, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Sadly this bike will never be built, What a shame. Please would some one pick this brand and bike up and make it.

  1. 1 Rare motorcycle collection of Bernard Li up for grabs at Bonhams - Pingback on Apr 23rd, 2010 at 8:44 pm
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