Vincent White Shadow Series C - 1

At a time when the world’s fastest production car was the Jaguar XK120, with its top speed of 193 km/h, the Vincent Black Shadow could do 201 km/h, with drum brakes and girder forks. Vincents were expensive and rare, with only 1,507 Series ‘C’ 1,000 cc V-twin Black Shadows produced.

Rarer still was the White Shadow, essentially a Black Shadow with the engine block and cases – melted down from Supermarine Spitfires – polished to a bare-metal shine. Vincent made only 15 White Shadows between 1949 to 1951, and most were lost to history. One unit popped up for auction at Bonham’s auction house in 2009, but little more was heard from this rarest of Vincents.

Till recently, that is. According to an autoevolution report, a Vincent White Shadow appeared in the listings at Bonham’s for the Las Vegas motorcycle show in January. What is even more intriguing about this particular example, instead of having its bodywork painted black, as was the norm with both Black and White Shadows of the series, this one came painted red.

From the factory, the Chinese Red colour was only used on the Vincent Rapide touring motorcycles, and how and why this particular White Shadow came to be painted this shade of red remains a mystery. This bike’s peculiar paint-job only came to light when the owner wanted to restore it in the 80s, and found red paint in the crevices of the girder fork.

Retro-fitted with electronic ignition and Amal Mk II carburettors, the authenticity of this Vincent White Shadow Series ‘C’ is verified by the Vincent Owner’s Club. What does it cost? Well, this one sold for USD434,000 (RM1,750,000) at the Las Vegas auction in January.