RED RAPIDE w/ BLACKNELL BULLET SIDECAR

We have done two Red Rapide restorations before, both to the highest standard of quality and correctness. It is time to do a third, but with flair. One sees Red Rapides from time to time, though they are quite rare. This motorcycle will be treated to the same quality restoration, but we have for it the sidecar used by the Works and mentioned in their catalogue.

The BLACKNELL BULLET is the sports model of sidecar, hence the shape and its nickname, "the Bullet." Other sidecars were capable of serving the family, but not sporting. Blacknell was a maker which supplied Vincent for some time and noting the pricing of it compared to the other sidecars of the period, it was a premium item. Perfect for this job. The condition is excellent and the cushions are now being covered to match the saddle, special for this, but still a factory original type, cream color vinyl.

This sidecar has the distinct advantage of using a perimeter tubing frame with axle fittings on each side. In Britain, the left one carries the sidecar wheel and brake, while the identical one on the other side is the support for the main attachments back to the Vincent. Easily switched for US operation, this car was original to a British Vincent. It features:

  • a graceful, sweeping mudguard topped with a running light
  • a brake on the sidecar wheel
  • a rear hatch using a T-handle similar to British sports cars
  • a small rear bumper
  • clear windshield
  • alloy trim radiating from a central disc on the very nose

So, you can see that with the BLACKNELL, you can load your lady, mainly her luggage, a bottle of fine Champagne and motor to a getaway for the weekend. Red and Cream.


Progress on the "outfit" is being made. The engine cases are back from the welder having had a screw hole crack repaired. The cases are heading for the polisher and should be spectacular when finished.

Touring items include the heavily valenced front and rear mudguard, the wider mudguard stays to fit over these, slightly smaller wheels for slightly fatter tires. Remember that originally, "touring" specs meant "export" or suitable for the colonies. That included the US. Indeed, the vast expanse of America and its roads meant that as opposed to Britain, which has comparatively small distances, the undertaking to create highways thousands of miles long meant stretching the budget. America simply had poorer roads for the most part than did England or most of Europe in the 1940's and 1950's. This is the reason that Harley Davidson and Indian motorcycles carried those huge fat tires and fenders-to provide protection to the rider including bumps, mud and sand. Today, these items provide us a good excuse to make a beautiful, red Vincent even redder.

The saddle is completed and is a Michael Maestas creation. Other items coming to this project include the newly introduced aluminum cam steady plate inside the engine. We laser-engrave the specifics of the bike, including your name in the event you sign up before the motorcycle is completed. Inside the engine!

Electric starting will be fitted. The sidecar will feature carpeting in the passenger footwell floor, cream upholstery and a nice trunk for the overnight romantic getaway for you and your lady. In all, it should be easy to start, easy to own and easy to enjoy fully.