The Vincent Grey Flash was one stylish, luxury cruiser!
It is rumored that only 31 of these luxurious Vincent machines were ever built, ranging over four different categories: racing, dual-purpose, road, show, and “TT special” models.
Factoring in however many were destroyed in accidents and natural disasters over the past several decades, it’s possible that there might only be a handful of these motorcycles left in existence.
The Story of Vincent Motorcycles
Every auto aficionado knows the name Vincent Motorcycles. A few might even know that the company went under in 1955 after filing for bankruptcy. But there’s one thing that only the most well-read motorcycle historians know, and that’s why. Why did Vincent fail? That’s complciated.
The Vincent motorcycle company was founded in 1928 and lasted until 1955. During this time, Vincent motorcycles were typically marketed as luxury motorcycles. But what else was happening in the 20’s and 30’s? The worst of the Great Depression for the British people. And what happened from 1939 to 1945? World War Two.
By the time the Vincent Grey Flash rolled onto the showroom floor in 1949, which lasted until 1952, Vincent Motorcycles was already so severely in debt that the company would not be able to last the onslaught of foreign and domestic competition for more than another six years.
Building a Grey Flash
The design that went into the average Grey Flash was marvelous. Not only were these motorcycles custom made for each order, they were incredibly powerful compared to other motorcycles of the time. The engine was a standard 499cc, four-stroke, single-cylinder engine, but it was capable of producing 35 horsepower at only 6,200rpm.
This, combined with the relatively lightweight frame, enabled the motorcycle to climb to speeds as high as 115 miles per hour, making it faster than the previous record holder for the title of the world’s fastest production motorcycle: the Vincet A series Rapide.
Of course, the reason behind this power was that the Grey Flash was based on the design of the Black Lightning, which was the current record holder for the title of the world’s fastest production motorcycles, a record that would be held until the Black Lightning left production in 1952.
Too Few Models to Allow for Any Generational Information
When only 31 models of a specific motorcycle, superbike, or scooter are ever made, you can’t rationally assume that there would be any major difference in terms of generations. Of course, there will always be the contrarian among us who likes to say that, since each model was incredibly different, there were actually 31 different generations.
Vincent Grey Flash (1949-1952)
The engine featured in the Grey Flash series was essentially a stripped-down version of the 1,000cc engine used in the Black Lightning. The goal was to create a version of the Black Lightning engine that was small enough to fit into the 500cc displacement class without losing its power.
Fame and Fortune
A replica of a Vincent Grey Flash went to auction in 2018 alongside one of Brad Pitt’s motorcycles. The Vincent Grey Flash replica wasn’t even an authentic Grey Flash and yet it still was expected to sell for between $31,000 and $40,000.
No famous media includes any prominent feature of the Vincent Grey Flash or even a replica thereof.
There are few, if any, social media groups that are dedicated to the Vincent motorcycle company. Finding one that you enjoy might prove to be more difficult than simply forming your own.
Vincent Grey Flash – The Black Lightning’s Baby Brother
Although the Grey Flash doesn’t live on today with as great a reputation as the Black Lightning, every mention of praise for the Black Lightning carries with it a hint of an acknowledgement for the masterful engineering that went into the creation of the Grey Flash.