Icon 1000 Axys Collection

The “new” Vincent Black Shadow

Vincent Black Shadow
In October 2002, a press release made motorcycle enthusiasts around the world sit up with a jolt. It announced the return of Vincent, one of the most iconic names in motorcycling. At a palatial house in San Diego, self-made millionaire and long-time Vincent aficionado Barney Li whipped the covers off five prototype motorcycles: a ‘Phase 1’ machine based on the Black Lightning, and four modern interpretations—including the Black Shadow pictured above. The modern bikes were built by Roush: they had that distinctive, low-slung Vincent look, and there were neat touches throughout, such as the large vintage-style headlight hiding several projector-style beams. The engine was Honda’s RC51 fuel-injected V-Twin, pumping out around 136 horsepower, and the lure of the Vincent name was so strong that Honda was prepared to sell its engines to an American maker. But American investors were uncomfortable with the idea of a Japanese motor in a resurrected Vincent. And the 19-liter fuel tank forced the wheelbase out to 62.5 inches—the same as a Harley Dyna Super Glide. So Li took a breather, and scouted around for alternatives. In the midst of this search, he went out for a ride on the morning of Saturday 3 May, 2008. Out of sight of his riding buddies, he crashed on Highway 260 in Eastern Arizona and died as a result of his injuries. That was the end of the latest Vincent dream, and although the Vincent Motors website is still online, it’s little more than a memorial to what could have been.