Bonhams to sell historic Vincent Black Lightning motorcycle

Manx Lover

Manx Lover

2017-09-06 09:56:41

A Vincent Black Lightning motorcycle which broke the Australian speed record will be offered for sale at Bonhams next year.

The 1951 Vincent 998cc Black Lightning belonged to renowned racer Jack Ehret, and is regarded as one of the world's most important Vincent motorcycles.

Regardless of its place in history, the Black Lightning is a highly rare machine in its own right, with just 31 examples ever built by the Vincent company between 1948 and 1952.

It was designed as a racing version of the equally iconic Vincent Black Shadow, and at the time was the world's fastest production motorcycle.

Jack Ehrat on his Vincent Black Lightning (All images: Bonhams)

Jack Ehrat on his Vincent Black Lightning (All images: Bonhams)

This example, number 7305, was originally imported into Australia by Tony McAlpine, before Ehret acquired it in 1952.

Just a few months later on January 19, 1953, Ehret and his team achieved a speed of 141.5mph at Gunnedah N.S.W, making him officially the fastest man in Australia.

Following his record-breaking exploits, Ehret rode the bike to numerous victories across Australia throughout his racing career, until running his final race in 1993.

Having spent almost 50 years Ehret's personal collection, the motorcycle remains in remarkably original condition, virtually unrestored since its record-breaking run and retaining a superb patina.

The world's most famous Black Lightning belonged to Rollie Free, the American racer who broke the U.S speed record in 1948, reaching a top speed of 150.313 mph whilst wearing nothing more than swimming shorts and a bathing cap.

"Rollie Free and Marty Dickerson, both legends in the Vincent universe, knew of this motorcycle and Ehret's acclaim," said Ben Walker, Bonhams Head of Motorcycling.

"After the 'Bathing Suit Bike' ridden by Free, the Ehret bike is likely the most important Black Lightning in existence and represents an exceptional opportunity to acquire one of the world's most desirable machines."

The Bonhams Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction takes place at the Rio Hotel and Casino on January 25, 2018.

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