British manufacturer Vincent Motorcycles (1928-1955) produced some of the world’s fastest production motorcycles. The 1952 Vincent Black Lightning featured here was the racing version of the Black Shadow with every part on it that could be remade refabricated in aluminum for lighter weight (380 lbs or 170kg) powered with a 998 cc air cooled twin cylinder pushrod engine (70 bhp or 52 KW) resultting in a top speed of 150 mph (240 km/h) Only 31 Black Lightnings were ever built before production ended due to Vincent’s financial problems in 1952. It is one of the most desirable classic motorcycles, and today can bring up to $150,000.
About his new sweetheart, very proud owner and restorer, Bronze artist Jeff Decker tells me: “The bike is based on a HVG (Harris Vincent Gallery) Chassis. Herb set me up with all the juiciest left overs he had from Rollie Free & Marty Dickerson. I took a perfectly built motor with all the rarest goodies, spine, ’48 forks & tail section & spent a few hundreds of hours more with my uncle Curtis creating/ finishing/customizing this bike. I will not go into details as to what is correct & what is my expression. Read ‘KNOW THY BEAST’ because that is exactly what a Vincent is… a beast, a racehorse at heart & a Clydesdale when street legal. It is inspired by the Drag & Bonneville bikes of the era when these bikes were relevant”. And with humor Jeffs adds: “I am open to critique. Please send me photos of the latest Vincent Black Lightening 1952 you have customized in a more tasteful manner than I did” Jeff Decker Studio. (photography Mark Shubin)