AUSTRALIA, VICTORIA, BROADFORD. What was just a tool for Jack Ehret to gain an Australian land speed record in 1953 has now transformed into a new record-breaking item – the most expensive motorcycle in the world. What distinguished this Vincent from its brothers is that it has an enthralling history. Stripping down a similar Vincent Black Lightning to record-breaking specs won’t get you the same price at Shannons; you’ll need that magic pixie dust that clouds the eyes of the rabid Vincent enthusiast (NEAL VIDEAN’S BLOWN VINCENT. A million dollar bike to attend the Shannons Broadford Bike Bonanza).
But, there are some noteworthy modified Vincents that could be brothers to the Ehret bike; and one, in particular, is coming out to the Shannons Insurance Broadford Bike Bonanza (March 30 – April 1) this year – to be seen and heard.
Engineer, pattern maker, designer, manufacturer, recreator and the genius behind the new Series A Vincent (readily available for a third of the price of the Ehret bike,) Neal Videan of suburban Reservoir, Victoria; has such a machine.
It’s a Series C Black Shadow that has been stretched, ported, re-carburetted, retro suspended, strengthened internally, reframed and supercharged with an Eldred Norman blower hanging off the front LHS forward of the engine.
It’s a sprint or drag bike, and the builder Bob Satterly used it in events at the iconic Calder Raceway VIC and Salisbury SA. When Bob left to work in Asia in 1972 is was mothballed until he returned 26 years later, by then he ‘too old for this nonsense’ and the bike was returned to road trim.
Here is where Neal stepped in. Hearing it might be for sale he visited Bob and knowing its history and having enough road Vincents of his own, he inquired about where the bits for the sprint bike were. Bob went over to a 44-gallon drum of scrap metal bits and pulled out the tubular backbone frame. Ferreting around the workshop found most of the other bits necessary to complete the bike and so a deal was struck. Bob would rebuild the blown sprint bike and Neal would buy it. Done deal. The bike that Bob bought for fifty quid in 1961 as a non-runner from a frustrated owner has morphed into a machine sprinkled with that pixie dust that blinds the eye and clouds the mind of the believers. See it at the Easter SIBBB before it slips into that rarified level of unobtainium.
Written by Peter Drakeford.