The record for the world's most expensive motorcycle ever sold at a public auction was recently broken at auction in Las Vegas. The new bike to hold the title of the world's most expensive motorcycle is a Vincent Black Lightning with five different owners, that sold for a record $929,000 when the hammer finally came down for the third and final time at the Bonhams auction in sin city.
The record-breaking Vincent Black Lightning took the record of the 'World's Most Expensive Motorcycle' from a 1915 Cyclone, once owned by the actor-rider Steve McQueen, that went under the hammer for $775,000 (Rs 4.92 crore) in 2015.
The pricetag for the Vincent Back Lightning is expected to rise, as Bonham have not yet added buyer's and seller's fees and is expected to hit $1 million (Rs 6.35 crore).
The Vincent Black Lightning is considered to be the first superbike of the modern era and during its production run between 1948 to 1952, only 33 were made.
The Vincent Black Lightning that took the title of World's Expensive Motorcycle is one of just 19 numbers matching examples left. While the Vincent Black Lightning was officially timed at 122mph (196kph) which at its time made it the fastest vehicle on wheels (both two and four).
The new world record holder for the most expensive bike, which was built on special order for Tony McAlpine and bore the number 7305, was clocked by the company doing 130mph (209kph) in third gear.
This isn't the first time that this specific Vincent Black Lightning has made its way into the record books. Mr McAlpine imported the world's costliest bike into Australia and in 1953 with new owner Jack Ehret (the third owner) riding, the Vincent Black Lightning broke the Australian Land Speed Record clocking an average speed of 141.5mph (227.7kph).
The Vincent Black Lightning was a purpose-built factory modified Black Shadow and the company would produce the bikes on order and during its production run it commanded a then-enormous £400 price tag plus a hefty £108 purchase tax which in those days could get you a few houses. A standard Black Lightning was supplied in racing trim with magnesium alloy components, special racing tyres on alloy rims, rear-set foot controls, a solo seat and aluminium mudguards which meant that the Black Lightning weighed in at 172kg which was 36kg less than the Black Shadow's mass.
The Vincent Black Lightning's 998cc air-cooled, overhead valve 50º V-twin engine also got higher-performance racing components compared to the Black Shadow including Mark II Vincent cams with higher lift and more overlap, stronger, highly polished Vibrac connecting rods with a large-diameter caged roller-bearing big end, polished flywheels and Specialoid pistons delivering a 13:1 compression ratio when the bike ran on methanol.
The combustion chamber spheres were polished, as were the valve rockers and the streamlined larger inlet ports. The ports were blended to special adapters and fed by twin 1¼-inch Amal 10TT9 carburettors. The single plate clutch features middle and rear cooling holes and the gearbox was beefed up as well.
All these factory modifications resulted in the Vincent Black Lightning kicking out at least 70bhp (the Black Shadow had a claimed 55bhp) which was sent to the rear wheel via a four-speed gearbox and a claimed top speed of 150mph(241kph).
The Vincent Black Lightning is the first superbike of the modern era and it comes as no surprise that one featuring original paint and matching numbers along with being a former land speed record holder saw the bidding end at such a crazy number. The new owner will cherish the Vincent Black Lightning that now holds the record for the worlds most expensive bike while we wish that we could turn back time and take a ride on it ourselves.