by Duncan Wherrett
by Victor Wanchena
In the late forties and early fifties the benchmark for speed, performance and safety was set by the legendary British marquee, Vincent. Well engineered and hand-built, they are considered by many to be the finest British motorcycle ever made. Duncan Wherrett has captured them in his book simply titled Vincent.
This book traces the brief but glorious history of the Vincent brand from its beginning in 1927 when Philip Vincent bought the HRD (Howard Raymond Davies) company for 400 pounds to it’s demise in 1955 when production ceased. Wherrett chronicles stories of not only the brand’s history and development but also the riders and racers who made Vincent a feared name on the road and track, and he does so with insights and details throughout the text that help shed light on why the company fell on such hard times.
There are over 120 color pictures of Vincents in their natural habitat–English country roads and racetracks. Wherrett includes plenty of details on all the production machines: the venerable Rapide, the Comet, the near mythic Black Lightning, and some of the race specials and one-off creations of the factory. The lesser known creations included a marine engine, a lawn mower and roto-tiller, a moped, and even a personal water craft called the Amanda.
If you’re a collector, looking for restoration tips, or like me just a big fan of the mighty Vincent, then this book is worth the price of admission for a glimpse back into motorcycling’s golden age.