A beautiful, unrestored ex-Tony McAlpine, Jack Ehret, Australian Land Speed Record-breaking 1951 Vincent 998cc Black Lightning is going under the hammer at Bonhams Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction on January 25.
First shown at London’s 1948 Earls Court show, the production Black Lightning caused a sensation despite its hefty £400 price tag and £108 purchase tax. Today, the Black Lightning is one of the most coveted production motorcycle ever built. It is believed that only 19 matching-numbers Lightning’s still exist, making the cosmetically unrestored example, with its glorious racing history, a rare slice of motorcycling history – and it could be yours.
At present, the most expensive unrestored British motorcycle is a 1931 Brough Superior BS4, which was sold last year by Bonhams for £331,900. The last Black Lightning to go under the hammer went for $293,423 (£185,066) back in 2008. Is the Black Lightning worth more? Probably not; but there’s no telling what a Vincent collector would pay to get their hands on this inimitable piece of motorcycling history.
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