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Jack Ehret’s Vincent Black Lightning Motorcycle Auction | Manufacture News | News

Famous Speed Record-Maker to Headline Bonhams’ Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction

Sixty-five years after it landed in Australia, a Vincent Black Lightning has been shipped to Las Vegas where it will go under the hammer in January. Imported by Tony McAlpine and then owned and raced by Jack Forrest (of Forrest’s Elbow fame), the Phil Irving-designed machine ended up in the hands of Jack Ehret, who used it to set a land-speed record of 228km/h in 1953 and claim many Australian race wins during the following 25 years. Another piece of Australian racing history appears to be lost.

Built by special order and imported new into Australia by Tony McAlpine, the Vincent Black Lightning – number 7305 – is one of just approximately 30 Black Lightning models ever built by the Stevenage, England factory.

At the time of its build, another well-known Vincent nicknamed “Gunga Din” was undergoing work in the factory. Upon completion of both, the two machines were contested at an airfield where it was said that McAlpine’s bike was a clear 30 yards ahead of Gunga Din, and factory records later indicated speeds in excess of 130mph in third gear.

Most important, however, was that in 1953 the McAlpine-ordered motorcycle smashed the existing Australian speed record when Jack Ehret achieved an average speed of 141.5mph. Under the ownership of Ehret, the Black Lightning would also clinch numerous race victories throughout Australia and become renowned around the globe.

“Rollie Free and Marty Dickerson, both legends in the Vincent universe, knew of this motorcycle and Ehret’s acclaim,” says Ben Walker, Bonhams Head of Motorcycling. “After the ‘Bathing Suit Bike’ ridden by Free, the Ehret bike is likely the most important Black Lightning in existence and represents an exceptional opportunity to acquire one of the world’s most desirable machines.”

In original, unrestored and running condition – recommissioned by none other than Vincent master Patrick Godet, this tremendously important and rare Black Lightning that was in Ehret’s ownership for nearly 50 years will be auctioned in January.