When it comes to customising Vincent motorcycles, bike builders have to walk a very, very fine line. One misstep and they’ll have thousands of pitchfork wielding moto-purists beating down their door, baying for blood.
John Surtees was quite easily one of the greatest racers of all time, he won 7 world motorcycle racing championships, a Formula 1 world championship and a North American Can-Am Championship for sports cars.
In 1950, 2 years after his more-famous-than-Jesus swim-suit speed run at Bonneville, Rollie Free returned to the salt to reclaim his title. This time he arrived with a fully enclosed Vincent Black Lightning, a first attempt at streamlining by Rollie and on day 2 he made his first full-speed run.
Vincent is one of the most highly respected names in the world of motorcycling, Hunter S. Thompson was a big fan, the most famous motorcycling photograph ever, Rollie Free at Bonneville in his swimming trunks, featured a Vincent Black Lightning and between 1948-1955 Vincent produced the fastest production motorcycle in the world, the Black Shadow.