1953 Vincent 998cc Series C Touring Rapide
Upper & Rear Frame no. RC10764
Engine no. 10/A/018864
• Fully Matching-numbers example
• Mike Parti-built engine
Vincent was quick to regroup following the close of WWII’s hostilities, with the postwar Series B Rapide even then seen as an iconic V-twin in a class of its own for performance and handling. A significant proportion of Vincent production found its way to the export market in line with then government policy, allowing the funds to continue development. The arrival of the Series C saw improved handling with the introduction of Girdraulic front fork, a blade-type girder fitted with twin hydraulic dampers. The new model bristled with innovative features, including adjustable brake pedal, footrests, seat height and gearchange lever. The superlative factory finish was to the highest of standards, commensurate with the retail price which was almost double that of some of its contemporaries.
Restored 4 years ago, this Series C Rapide reminds us what an impressive sight a showroom-fresh Vincent must have been in 1953. The bike was purchased in boxes in 2014, having traveled 36,000mi. to that point. While the new owner sorted chassis and body parts, the disassembled engine parts were taken to Mike Parti. Machinist, champion off-road sidecar racer, collector, Parti was drawn to the speed trials at Bonneville, where he rubbed shoulders with fast Vincent riders like Rollie Free and Marty Dickerson. Back in Southern California he worked with Clem Johnson, builder/rider of the famous Vincent ‘Barn Job’ drag bike. Accumulating more and more Vincent knowledge, Parti became one of the ‘go-to’ guys for riders of the fabled British brand. Over the years he literally had a hand in hundreds if not thousands of Vincent restorations. He was inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame in 2001. Sadly, Parti passed in 2016, which makes this Rapide engine one of the last he ever overhauled.
Engine bolted back into the Rapide Touring, steel valanced fenders freshly painted, the restoration continued in a mostly ‘by-the-book’ fashion with a minor exception of a hidden electronic regulator. The bike has covered 1,400 easy miles since restoration.
The engine number, F10AB/1/8864 and the upper and rear frame number, RC10764 has been confirmed by the VOC to be a matching numbers Series C Touring Rapide.
Additional photos and details are forthcoming. The motorcycle is currently being serviced to ensure good running condition upon sale.