Book Review

Nigel Devereux
February 25, 2020

‘Vincent Motorcycles –The Untold Story since 1946’
Author: Philippe Guyony
Preface: Fritz W. Egli
Edited by: Tim Parker
Published by: Veloce Publishing Ltd, Veloce House, Parkway Farm Business Park, Middle Farm Way, Poundbury, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 3AR
Tel: 01305 260068 Email:
Hardback, 248 x 248mm; 400 pages with 875 colour and black & white photographs and illustrations. ISBN 9781845849023/UPC 6-36847-04902-7 £100 (UK); $180 (USA)

Introduced in May 1946, the new Series B Rapide (1946-1949) was completely redesigned and clearly distinct from the Series A, although its DNA is indisputable, its development began during spring 1944, at a time when designer Phil Irving rejoined the company.

After a halcyon period, sales were falling, then 1954 saw the arrival of the Series D machines – the fabulous fully-enclosed Black Prince and Black Knight models.

With their redesigned rear suspension giving better rider comfort, they were visionary Phil Vincent’s idea of a high-speed grand touring machine – unfortunately, the buying public did not appreciate such sophistication, forcing the company to close in 1955.

Despite being in production for only nine years, post-Second World War Vincents continue to be ridden hard in racing – many with modified suspension or Norton frames (Norvin) to keep them competitive – as well as sprinting and long-distance rallies.

Swiss engineer and lifelong Vincent enthusiast Fritz Egli had modified and improved his own machines while competing in hill climbs and road races, culminating in his design and manufacture in 1967 of a very strong, lightweight spine-framed machine with Ceriani forks and suspension.

So good was his racing version, that he became multi-Swiss hill climb champion. Egli’s machine inspired numerous copies for several generations and this book traces, holistically, the story of all these motorcycles, in the broad context of the classic and modern history of the Vincent.

Midlands engineer Roger Slater became the official British manufacturer of Egli frames, using British cycle parts and reconditioned engines.

John Mossey continued when Slater closed, producing his JMR Egli replicas. In 2000, Fritz Egli authorised the late Frenchman Patrick Godet to be the sole user of his brand name, manufacturing complete machines, with engines of up to 1330cc capacity, using five-speed gearboxes and electric starters, housed in a genuine Egli frame.

This excellent high-quality book includes 875 colour and black and white photographs, many of them contemporary, taken by Geoff Preece.

Featuring the full range of Vincent models, including the Black Lightning and Grey Flash production racers, the Egli-Vincent by Egli, Slater and Godet and replicas by Cheney, Mossey, CTG, McIntosh and Smith; the Capon-Vincent; the Parkin Vincent and Somerton Viscount. Record breakers and sprinters such as Nero, Super Nero, the American Barn Job, Mighty Mouse, Super Mouse and many more are covered too.

Book reviewed by Jonathan Hill

Read Letters, Opinion, News and Features in the March 2020 issue of The Classic Motorcycle – on sale now!

About the Author

Nigel Devereux

Nigel Devereux is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Lincoln, working in the School of English and Journalism. He has worked within the print publishing industry for 38 years. Nigel was editor of his hometown newspaper - The Horncastle News - from 1998-2001. Nigel is currently the Production Editor on The Railway Magazine, the UK’s biggest selling magazine for railway enthusiasts. He is also responsible for maintaining and updating several websites across the Mortons portfolio. 01507 529529 |

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