12 February 2024

Vincent Black Lightning, 14th production, estimated at £120,000 – 150,000. 

Bonhams|Cars will auction the 14th production Vincent Black Lightning at its Spring Stafford Sale during the International Classic MotorCycle Show on April 21. With only some 34 machines completed, the Black Lightning is unquestionably the most collectible Vincent ever produced. All other survivors are either in museums or the hands of private collectors, only very rarely is one sold publicly, which makes the sale of this ‘Polish Lightning’, estimated at £120,000 – 150,000, an exceptional opportunity for collectors.  

It was ‘Rollie’ Free’s capture of the ‘world’s fastest production motorcycle’ record in 1948 on a tuned Series-B Black Shadow that led directly to Vincent marketing a racer of similar specification to Free’s machine: the Black Lightning. At the pinnacle of Vincent production sat the Black Lightning: a competition model produced in limited numbers and affordable only by enthusiasts with the deepest of pockets. The example on offer is one of two specially built for sidecar racing and supplied new to Poland, where it was raced successfully by Tomasz Kamiński. The Black Lightning was brought back to the UK in 1972 and has been in the present ownership since 1976. Professionally restored circa 1999/2000 and unused since, the Vincent is presented in ‘barn find’ condition for recommissioning and/or further restoration.  

1959 Benelli 250 Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle, estimated at £60,000 – 80,000. 

Bonhams|Cars will also present one of only three 1959 Benelli 250cc Grand Prix Racing Motorcycles at The Spring Stafford Sale. Initially built for the 1959 season and substantially reworked for 1960, the machine’s showcased Benelli’s newly developed short-stroke engine that produced 33-35bhp at 10,200rpm. The machine on offer – ‘1003 GPX’ – is believed to be the most complete and original of the three and the only one in full running order. It is estimated at £60,000 – 80,000

During their brief Grand Prix careers, Benelli’s works singles were ridden initially by Bruno Spaggiari and Silvio Grassetti, as well as Dickie Dale, Geoff Duke, Tarquinio Provini, Paolo Campanelli and Giuseppe Visenzi. The 250cc single saw major racing success when Geof Duke rode to victory in the non-championship 1959 Swiss GP, one of his last wins before retiring. Escaping the fate of becoming an increasingly uncompetitive club racer, the Benelli was retired intact and it is believed Widar sold the machine to Switzerland, after which it passed to a German enthusiast who sold it to Jürgen Wiehage. Mr. Wiehage restored the machine to its present condition and raced it at a few European classic events. 

Guinness World Record Holder, 2003 Whitelock 4.2 Litre 48-Cylinder Tinker Toy, estimated at £40,000 – 60,000. 

Additional sale highlights include: 

  • Guinness World Record Holder, 2003 Whitelock 4.2 Litre 48-Cylinder Tinker Toy, estimated at £40,000 – 60,000
  • A Suzuki TR750 Racing Motorcycle c. 1975, estimated at £18,000 – 22,000
  • 1952 MV Agusta 123.5cc Monoalbero, estimated at £15,000 – 18,000
  • 1913 Triumph Model C, estimated at £7,000 – 10,000

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