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.