- Written by webmin
High miles are seldom a selling point for any vehicle, but it’s certainly a bigger issue with bikes than cars. So there has to be something very special indeed for a high-mileage bike to attract attention, and mileage doesn’t get much higher than that accumulated by a 1955 Vincent Black Prince offered by Bonhams at Stafford in England on April 21.
Vinnylonglegs, as the bike is known, has racked up 721,703 miles in the hands of its original owner, Stuart Jenkinson, who bought his new 998cc Black Prince from St. Andrew’s Motors in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1955.
Stuart rode Vinnylonglegs as regular transportation and on tours for the next quarter-century, but really started accumulating the miles in 1980 when he started running his own European bike tours, including travel in Germany, Belgium, Austria, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Albania, Macedonia, Czechoslovakia, Montenegro, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Hungary and Greece. In fact, Stuart estimates that about 120,000 miles were accumulated in Greece alone, in the course of 40 tours there. In a Bonhams statement, Stuart said, “As any long-term owner of a bike or car will understand, selling Vinnylonglegs after 56 years and almost three quarters of a million miles is going to be a serious wrench. I’ll just have to make do now with the memories of all our wonderful trips.”
According to the description, “modifications have included a re-designed front fairing, incorporating twin headlamps, and replacing the original upper frame with a stiffer box section Series C frame, while a four-gallon Series C fuel tank now caters for the longer distance tour. Electrical equipment has been modified to provide greater safety and reliability, while disc brakes and Koni dampers provide both safety and riding comfort. The pannier frames carry two five-gallon boxes, while the shelf above normally carries a large army kit bag with full camping gear.” Bonhams estimates £35,000 – £40,000; do you bike people think that price makes sense?
Full catalog description follows after the jump.
Vinnylonglegs – one owner and just 721,703 miles!
1955 Vincent 998cc Black Prince
Registration no. WTN 92 Frame no. RC/1/11492/B Engine no. F10AB/2B/10913
Estimate £35,000 – 40,000
Phil Vincent described the new stylish 998cc Black Prince as a ‘two wheeled Bentley.’ It was launched at the 1954 Earls Court Motor Cycle Show alongside the 998cc Black Knight and the 500cc Victor. With its innovative full enclosure fairing and side panels, the new Black Prince was the sensation of the show. The new fairing and ‘bodywork’ was designed primarily for rider comfort and not for additional speed, as it was considered that the big-twin Vincents already had power-a-plenty. Although launched in 1954, it was early 1955 before delivery of the fibreglass components had been sorted out and the first models were offered to the public. With Vincent production ceasing in December 1955, the ‘enclosed’ Black Prince is one of the rarest of Vincent models.
WTN 92 was bought new in 1955 by its present owner from St. Andrews Motors of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Some fifty-six years on, he is the only person who has ever ridden this machine – with the sole exception, presumably, of the original works tester – and has covered 721,703 well-documented miles at the time of cataloguing. In Vincent circles, this machine is known world-wide as Vinnylonglegs. Until 1980, it was used for riding to work and long-distance touring holidays and in subsequent years was extensively used as lead bike on European tours in the owner’s guided motorcycle tours business.
Many modifications were carried out to ensure that Vinnylonglegs became the ultimate Vincent for coping with Continental tours in mountain terrain and temperatures often between 30˚C and 40˚C. The original front fairing, mudguard and engine enclosures were replaced with a redesigned front fairing with twin sealed-beam headlights and two large side pockets. This significantly enhanced cool running. The original flimsy upper frame member was replaced with the much stiffer box section Series C frame member and a Primmer Series C four-gallon fuel tank fitted. The Series C upper frame member is now a six-pint reserve fuel tank. The original upper frame member and fuel tank are also offered with this machine. Electrics were enhanced with the fitting of a 240-watt alternator together with a range of modern electrical accessories, including winkers, high-level LED brake light, high-intensity rear fog lights, Lucas Rita ignition, electronic rev counter, twin six-volt Cyclon batteries (recently renewed) and headlamp flasher. Disc brakes have been fitted along with Koni dampers, hydraulic steering damper, ‘O’ ring chain with Scott oiler, magnetic drain plugs in crankcase, gearbox, primary chain case and in the return oil supply to the tank. A side stand has been fitted. The pannier frames carry two five-gallon boxes, and the frame above normally carries a large army kit bag with full camping kit.
Other original parts removed from the bike are offered with the machine and include the original six-volt Lucas dynamo and regulator, Lucas distributor with long bolt and stud, six-volt coil with bracket, original front fairing cross piece, battery carrier and strap and two adjusting screws and steel magneto cover.
This remarkable Vincent, which itself is a magnet at Vincent Owners’ Club meetings, is offered with its original purchase receipt, buff log book, several expired MoT certificates and old tax discs, bills for spares and repairs and useful wiring diagrams. It comes also with the moulds for the front fairing and screen, a new rear tyre has been fitted and the bike will be offered with current MoT certificate and road licence.
The vendor regrets that only advancing years prevent his 750,000 mile target from being achieved. His interest in Vinnylonglegs in its new ownership will continue and he will be happy to advise the new owner regarding the niceties of modification carried out and the bike’s unique idiosyncrasies.