"Look at it. Before we start chatting tech specs and bike biography, just look at it. Stare at the splaying cylinders, curling mudguards and serpentine exhaust system, each part a pointed, polished contrast to the black. Black fuel tank, blank "
Vincent Black Shadow: Fantasy Ride
The Vincent Black Shadow is famous for a lot of reasons. Released in the late-40s, into an era of post-war austerity, it was groundbreaking, intimidating and fast enough to turn a pilot’s eyelids inside out. It made such an impression that Hunter S Thompson still thought it was the last word in hellacious two-wheelers in 1970, 22 years after it was introduced.
“Where can we get hold of a Vincent Black Shadow?” HST wondered in his legendary book ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’. “The new model is something like two thousand cubic inches, developing two hundred brake-horsepower at four thousand revolutions per minute on a magnesium frame with two styrofoam seats and a total curb weight of exactly two hundred pounds.
“The f***er’s not much for turning, but it’s pure hell on the straightaway. It’ll outrun the F-111 until takeoff.”
Of course, he got this all wrong. Vincent HRD, the Stevenage-based company that created the Black Shadow, went out of business in 1955. It was just too expensive for the market. But Thompson was channeling the vibe.
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