HARRIS VINCENT GALLERY MACHINE ON HISTORY CHANNEL SOON
In October, the History Channel came to Austin to film an episode of a story they’re doing with JESSE JAMES and JEFF DECKER and vintage bikes. The story involved the special and historic racing, watercooled pre-war Harley engine developed for use in midget racing. This was The Drake and should have offered relief from the biggest flaw in using a motorcycle engine in a car—heat. Drawing off that much heat required some very skilled engineering to have a non-pumped coolant system with radiator and water jacket added to the bike. This system, a siphon system relied on the heating and cooling of water to circulate the coolant. JESSE told me the story going back many years and how he outlasted the owner and his family to obtain this tremendously "cool" (forgive the pun) engine. The workmanship, engineering of the cycle parts are pure genius and attributable to JESSE.
JEFF DECKER’S ride is the customized VINCENT which started here in our shops and which JEFF finished in his own genius way. We called it “The Vincent Black Platform” and by now, its in the hands of its new owner here in the States. It ran, you guessed it, flawlessly. The three guys left Austin and went to the Texas Big Bend area, desolate, desert and all Texas. Randy Smith, our HVG shop foreman went along to wrench on the bikes if needed, but everything ran fine. Cool ride and cool video I’ll bet.
JUST OUT-HVG on cover of ROBB REPORT COLLECTIONS!
Read about it
RED RAPIDE W/ BLACNELL BULLET SIDECAR
SERIES "C" BLACK SHADOW "B 30 B"
EX-MARTY DICKERSON "STRANGER BIKE
IMAGES-It will take us some time to put up images of all three projects, but be patient and watch the HVG site for these. These should prove to be great projects.
This past week, we reached the point in the construction of the ZZ bike where we started it. The engine fires right up, sounds good, no bad noises (Thank you Messers Maughan and Healy for this). Oil returns (always pleasant), the clutch clutches and the transmission transmits. As well, the new voltage regulator is excellent.
The bike is SOLD. The new owner is very much an enthusiast and we can't wait until he comes to Austin for a fitting and the quick course in handling, storing, etc. his new Black Shadow.
WHAT NOW? Easy! We have another Series "C" Black Shadow already at the shop being torn down to the very last bolt. As always, we start with the new crankshaft assembly which carries polished, genuine Black Shadow connecting rods. You can't get the very best unless you start out with the very best and I believe in putting so much time and expense into the engine's heart, the crankshaft assembly of flywheels, new mainshafts, crankpin and bearings from MAUGHAN & SONS in Britain and expertly assembled by our mystery builder in Massachusetts and finally dynamically balanced using the piston and ring set of low expansion material. You can tighten up the clearances on pistons of this quality so as to avoid the cold clatter of the original SPECIALLOIDs which really required something like 8 or so thousandths to be safe from heat induced seizure.
HVG clears the decks to begin the remanufacture of 4 Vincent Black Shadows. We have the frames and parts to do four complete HVG remanufactures of Black Shadows of various dates. Real Black Shadows.
Engines--these begin with, of course, the "bottom end" or the crankshaft assembly. On ours, we start with Maughan and Sons newly machined parts, shipped here were our expert adds genuine Vincent connecting rods that have been magniflux tested for cracks and tested for straightness and truth, adds an appropriate set of new 8:1 cr pistons and ships the assembled item back to Maughan for dynamic balancing by their trusted machinist. The resulting assembly is shipped back to us for installation in a Vincent with the knowledge we have the talents of the best in the world in our engines. We have never had a failure in one of our remanufactured engines and I think you can see why. Customers are most concerned, I think, with this part of their purchase and should rest easy to know the lengths to which we go to produce only the best.
One customer, after having his Black Shadow for some time and winning several national concours d'elegance, called to report that after the judging, the crowd wanted to see and hear it run. He admitted he ran it up to 115 mph..."in third gear!" Not recommended on new engines, but an illustration of the quality we produce.
The rest of the process is very similar in that we use components from the best makers all over the world. The Isle of Wight is where our Vincent cams are remade, a famous rebuilder of the genuine KVF Lucas magnetos is in Britain, our saddle maker in California, electric starters from France and more. In the end, we join the best in the world together to build your Vincent.
And speaking of electric starters, we customarily add the very fine electric starters and make the appropriate voltage changes to 12 volts as these can barely be seen--from underneath and make the use of the Black Shadow much easier for most riders. They can of course, be left off if one so chooses. More on these beauties later.