You wouldn't believe what a time-consuming stinker of a job it is to deep-etch the spokes on
a motorcycle wheel in Photoshop, not to mention the dozens of little 'peek-through' nooks
and crannies around this machine, including those two in the rocker boxes. After more than
an hour of fiddling (and learning how to do it), here it is, my diorama of a Vincent/HRD
Black Shadow stopped to take in the views on an enjoyable weekend ride up into
the lush mountains in the hinterland, where the winding roads unfold.
So, what's wrong with this model? Well, like the Jochen Rindt Alfa which I blogged about here, this is another example of a mis-labelled model. The little plinth on this 1:24 IXO model says it’s a "1953 Vincent Black Shadow", but it’s actually a 1948 or 49 model. Small difference? Well, the badge/decal on the tank is a dead giveaway. That’s because they dropped the name ‘HRD’ from 1950 onwards, due to pressure from American dealers, who said people thought an HRD had something to do with Harley-Davidson. From 1950 onwards, they all had a ‘Vincent’ label on the tank. Like this one.
These nitpicks aside, it’s a lovely bike, a nice model and one of the all-time great motorcycles, a 1000cc, 60° V-twin that, while a tractable thing around town, was good for 125mph (200km/h) when wound out on the highway. All this in the late 1940s. No other bike came close to it at the time, or for quite some time. No wonder real 1:1 size Vincents are so pricey and sought-after. Australian bike enthusiasts all know about our connection with the Vincent. It was co-designed by Philip Vincent, owner of the company, and Phil Irving, the Australian who was his chief engineer for many years.
However, instead of banging on with a history that's easy enough to find and read if you really are interested, I thought I'd finish off with my favourite song about a Vincent, written by and performed by one of my favourite musicians, one of the greatest guitarists alive, Richard Thompson. It's called Vincent Black Lightning 1952.
With lines like:
"There's nothing in this world that beats a 52 Vincent and a red-headed girl"
and "He gave her one last kiss and died, And he gave her his Vincent to ride"
it's a great story as well as a fine tune, and the guitar-playing and singing aren't too bad, either.