Archive for February, 2011

A 100,000 Mile Vincent, Touring Rapide F10AB/1/8920

Friday, February 25th, 2011

When the So Cal Section hosted the 1991 International Vincent Rally, a special booklet was produced and provided to the entrants.  Here is the story from that booklet, of a high mileage Touring Rapide, as told by Al Mark.

“In the summer of 1954, a young blueprint rider in Los Angeles purchased a new Touring model Rapide, engine #8920 from Hawthorne Motor Sales in Hawthorne, California.  At 2000 miles, the shifting fork pins had to be replaced due to a fault in the hardening.  The rider arrived at the shop at 7:30 AM and had the gearbox out of the bike when the owner, Marty Dickerson, arrived.  Marty replaced the pins and the rider had the bike together and running by 12:30 PM.  Except for primary chains and adjuster springs and clutch linings, that was the only internal repairs done to the bike until it was overhauled at 100,000 miles.  At 46,000, the driven rear drum separated and was replaced with a ribbed Shadow drum.  Normal maintenance was performed at regular intervals.  The first set of points lasted 72,000 miles and the generator was serviced at 30,000 mile intervals.  Three voltage regulators were used and the electrical system never failed.  After 4-1/2 years of being used on a delivery schedule the owner turned to driving trucks and the Vincent was used for transportation to and from work.  In late 1959 the engine was rebuilt.  It was in remarkably good condition for the type of use.  There were few freeways at that time and over 90% of the mileage was accumulated on city streets.  Dag colloidal graphite in 50 weight Valvoline oil was used throughout the first 40,000 miles in the engine only.  K.L.G. FE50 plugs and Union 76 regular gas worked well.  Champion plugs would foul immediately.  Tires lasted 15,000 miles, primary chains 30,000, and rear chains 15,000.  Purchase price new was $1,260 plus tax and license.  In 1960 it was sold to Joe Powers for $600.  The machine’s present whereabouts is not known.  I certify these statements to be true and correct.  Al Mark.”

March Ride

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

For the March ride, we will once again join the So Cal Norton Club, this time for their Mt. Palomar ride. Meet Sunday March 20th at the Swing Inn on Front Street in Old Town Temecula just east of the I-15 on the southern end of town. The ride will leave at 10 AM via Hwy 79 with lunch in Julian and returning via Warner Springs. The group has been invited to stop at the Doffo Winery in Temecula on the way back from Mt. Palomar.

March Meeting

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

The March meeting will be Saturday, March 5th, at 3 PM, hosted by Haig and Setsuko.  Please RSVP to Setsuko, details in K17.

New Vincent Rapide

Monday, February 7th, 2011


Above is a photo of my almost-new Rapide (I’d only owned it a few months back in 1954 when I took the photo), which I’d bought from Jack Baldwin Motorcycles in Santa Monica.  I’d recently sent a copy of the photo to our sharp-eyed editor, Steve Doherty, and sure enough the first remark he made was, “Touring Rapides had a wider section tire on the front, which was normally a ribbed tire.  How come your front tire wasn’t a ribbed tire?”  Well, after some thought (remember this is 56-years later), I finally came up with the answer.  Yes, my Rapide was brand new and stock, but after dickering with Jack Baldwin on the trade-in price on my old one-lunger Matchless, he knew I had been riding some dirt up in the Santa Monica mountains, so he asked me if I wanted ribbed or block tread on the front tire…my choice at no extra cost.  I chose the block tread and never regretted it, even though at the time I lived in the Valley and commuted to and from the old Hughes Aircraft Co. over the Sepulveda Pass, which was not the freeway we know today.  That was a really wild ride then, around the sharp curves and through the tunnel with other bike riders, especially at night while I was working the swing-shift.  Some fun I’ll never forget!

Mal Hewett sets 4 records at Bonneville in 2010

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Mal Hewett had quite a year on the salt last year.  First, he went to Speed Week, and after making a rookie orientation run, Mal laid down a qualifying run of 151.033 MPH in the M-VG 1350cc class, almost 50 MPH above the existing SCTA record.  The next morning, Mal backed it up with a run of 152.637, for a new record with an average of 151.835 MPH.  After adding his very nice looking fairing to run in the MPS-VG class, Mal qualified at 156.863 into a 10 MPH head wind.  The next morning, the back up run was 163.293 with a slight tail wind and pulling 6100 RPM, for a new record at an average speed of 160.078, again breaking the existing SCTA record by almost 50 MPH.  After a little sightseeing, Mal returned to Wendover for the BUB Speed Trials.  Unfaired, Mal ran 151.223 and 150.080 for a new record of 150.651, breaking the old AMA record of 121.795.  With the fairing, Mal ran 162.692 and 161.317, establishing the AMA record of 162.004 in an open class.Way to go Mal, quite a banner year.

Mal at Bonneville 2010
Click photo for a full size version