1955 Vincent Black Knight


  • A very original example that remain in fantastic condition
  • Reportedly running and riding very well indeed
  • Accompanied by a substantial history file

The Appeal

Where Brough Superior were in their heyday dubbed the “Rolls-Royce of motorcycles”, the Vincent Black Knight was pronounced the “two-wheeled Bentley”, in recognition of its performance and refinement. Here in the UK we’re no stranger to a spell of adverse weather, so the idea of designing a motorcycle which separated rider from the road grime and general oiliness of a ‘50s machine was actually rather clever. The Black Knight therefore used glass fibre bodywork to encase the frame and mechanicals. In the face of burgeoning competition from rival manufacturers, Vincent closed down shortly afterwards, but they’ll always be remembered for creating some of the most impressive and highest quality sporting motorcycles of their era.
This 1955 example remains in very original condition which is quite unusual as many riders decided to remove the glass fibre bodywork from their Black Knights. The gargantuan 998 cc twin has been replaced for an identical unit at some point in the past, but otherwise the bike remains original and in fantastic order. It’s accompanied by a sizable history file, with both frame numbers consistent and correct. For those seeking a prime example of this lesser seen proto-superbike, this one is eminently worthy of your consideration.

The History and Paperwork

  • Current V5C present alongside a collection of older logbooks dating back a number of years
  • Numerous invoices detail previous parts procurement and servicing
  • Certificate of Authenticity from the Vincent Owners Club which verifies the engine change
  • Collection of old MOT certificates
  • Tax and MOT exempt

The Condition

  • Finished in the original black Vincent scheme with gold pinstriping
  • Complete with all its glass fibre bodywork
  • No damage or corrosion to the frame or fuel tank evident
  • All the GRP looks to be in great order, as is the paint finish
  • Very little in the way of wear to the grips and pegs
  • Additional pegs for a pillion passenger
  • The seat upholstery remains in fine order
  • All the decals look really smart
  • The chromework on the wheels in in fine shape
  • The screen remains clear and free from excessive scratches
  • Fitted with high quality, period appropriate Avon tyres
  • Equipped with headlamps, indicators and mirrors for road use
You're unlikely to see anything quite like this Vincent on the road. While full fairings are more commonplace today, with this Black knight you can hardly catch a glimpse of the engine or frame, with everything enclosed so as to keep any moving parts and the rider completely separate. A tall screen allows you to shelter from the weather at speed and this bike was specifically designed for year-round, everyday use.
The paintwork looks to be in excellent order, as are the decals and gold pinstripes. We couldn't see any signs of accident damage, previous repairs or any corrosion to the steel componentry.

The Mechanics 

  • 998 cc four-stroke V-twin
  • 45 bhp from factory
  • ‘Girdrualic’ oil damped front suspension with monoshock at the rear
  • Based on the Vincent Rapide
  • The replacement engine has been verified as a like-for-like unit by the Vincent owners Club
What Vincents are known for above all else was their incredible performance. The Black Shadow needs no introduction of course, and the Black Knight was similarly quick with a simply enormous 998cc V-twin ensconced beneath the bodywork. 
The vendor reports that the bike starts readily and surprisingly easily given its capacity. It reportedly runs very well and performs admirably with plenty of power smoothly delivered. The engine itself presents nicely, with no evidence of excessive leaks and all the casings seem free from any corrosion or damage. We’re assured that it has been well maintained over the years and the vendor comments that it is ready to enjoy.


Seldom do you see a Black Knight on the road and this has to be one of the finer examples in existence. Retaining much of its originality, accompanied by substantial history file and in great cognition both mechanically and cosmetically, we heartily recommend this motorcycle.

Notice to bidders

This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*

UK-registered cars and motorbikes on Car & Classic are run through an online HPI check. On the HPI report, this vehicle shows no insurance database markers for damage or theft. It is currently not covered by a finance agreement.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1955
  • Make Vincent
  • Model Black Knight
  • Colour Black
  • Odometer 16,928 Miles
  • Engine size 998
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Trade
  • Town Cheltenham
  • Location Gloucestershire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
13 bids from 4 bidders
  • Mr•••• £36,000 10/08/23
  • yo•••• £35,500 10/08/23
  • Mr•••• £35,000 10/08/23
  • yo•••• £34,000 10/08/23
  • Mr•••• £33,500 10/08/23
  • yo•••• £30,000 10/08/23
  • km•••• £29,300 10/08/23
  • yo•••• £27,100 10/08/23
  • km•••• £26,600 10/08/23
  • yo•••• £25,500 10/08/23
Message C&C Auction Team

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