Vincent Motorcycle Sold for Record-Setting US$929,000 at Bonhams

A classic Vincent motorcycle that once set an Australian speed record just broke another new record at Bonhams in Las Vegas. This rare, original condition, British-made, 1951 Vincent Black Lightning motorcycle was sold for US$929,000 (with buyer's premium), making it the most expensive motorcycle ever sold at auction.

Vincent Motorcycles was in the business for 27 years only from 1928 to 1955. Built by special order and bore the number 7305 for Australian racing legend Tony McAlpine, the Vincent Black Lightning is one of approximately 30 Black Lightning models ever built by the Stevenage, England factory. It has 998cc air-cooled, overhead valve 50º V-twin engine, with an official top speed of 122 mph.

Jack Ehret hit an average speed of 141.5 mph with Vincent Black Lightning

Certificate of Jack Ehret setting Australian speed record

In 1953, Jack Ehret, the new owner (the third owner) of the Vincent Black Lightning, smashed the existing Australian speed record with an average speed of 141.5 mph riding on it. Under the ownership of Ehret, the Black Lightning would also clinch numerous race victories throughout Australia and become renowned among motorcycle enthusiasts worldwide.

The present Black Lightning motorcycle is in unrestored, running condition

English singer and songwriter Richard Thompson

More interestingly, there is a song named after the motorcycle. Composed by English singer and songwriter Richard Thompson, the song 1952 Vincent Black Lightning tells the story of a thief named James and the girl Red Molly whom he charms with a ride on his 1952 Vincent Black Lightning motorcycle.

1915 Cyclone board track racer

It is believed that only 19 matching-numbers Lightnings still exist.  The current lot, in unrestored and running condition, obliterated the previous record set in 2015 by a 1915 Cyclone board track racer. The Cyclone, once owned by "The King of Cool" Steve McQueen, was sold for US$825,550.

Here is the song 1952 Vincent Black Lightning for you to fully experience the enthusiasm for this coveted production motorcycle.


Most Expensive Motorcycle

1951 Vincent 998cc Black Lightning

Auction house: Bonhams
Sale: The Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction
Auction date: 2018/1/25

Lot no.: 131
Price realized: US$929,000