19 of the bikes built are believed to still exist. This three-owner bike has a glorious racing history.
It was built by Sydney rider Tony McAlpine, who became virtually unbeatable in Unlimited class events aboard the Black Lightning, winning 12 major races from 13 starts. While racing the 1951 Isle Of Man TT between races, McAlpine worked at the Vincent factory at Stevenage assembling this bike. He sold it to a racer, who crashed it, and sold it to Jack Ehret who owned a couple motorcycle shops. He worked on it and broke the Australian speed record for the sales promotion for his business. He raced it occasionally, storing it for a decade at a time.
This Vincent stayed in Jack Ehret’s hands for nearly half a century, and he finally sold it when he was 76 yrs old, and running nightclubs in the Philippines
The standard Black Lightning was supplied in racing trim. It had a tachometer, Elektron magnesium alloy brake plates, racing tyres on alloy rims, rearset foot controls, a solo seat and aluminium mudguards. Dry weight dropped to just 172kg versus the Black Shadow’s 208kg.
The Lightning’s 998cc air-cooled, overhead valve 50º V-twin engine got cams with higher lift and more overlap, stronger Vibrac connecting rods and Specialoid pistons delivering a 13:1 compression ratio for methanol fuel. The combustion chambers were polished, as were the rockers and inlet ports, fed by twin 1¼-inch Amal 10TT9 carburettors. The Ferodo single-plate clutch’s cover featured centre and rear cooling holes, while the 4-speed gearbox was beefed up to transmit extra power.