1955 Vincent Black Shadow Series D

SOLD FOR: $93,625

Out of stock


Additional photos of this Vincent Black Shadow are available here for your perusal.

The Black Shadow might just be the most famous motorcycle ever built, with an iconic history thanks to moments like Rollie Free’s bathing suit speed run on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Black Shadows were handmade, and less than 1,700 were built in total. In the words of Hunter S. Thompson, “If you rode the Black Shadow at top speed for any length of time, you would almost certainly die.“

In a time when cars were putting around at 45 miles per hour, a Black Shadow could comfortably cruise at twice that or hit a top speed of over 120 miles per hour thanks to the 55 horsepower 998cc V-Twin engine. The name was a reference to the black enamel finish on the motor, which stood out when other bikes typically featured polished or chrome finishing.

The Black Shadow was officially introduced at the 1948 Earl’s Court Motorcycle Show and came out to rave reviews. Motor Cycle magazine reviewed it and scored it a 99 out of 100 only because “nothing, it is said, is perfect.” The model gained international acclaim due to a speed run by Rollie Free at the Bonneville Salt Flats on September 13th, 1948. In a famous image, Rollie stripped off his leathers (which had torn from a previous speed run at 147 mph) and just wore a shower cap, bathing suit, and borrowed sneakers while laying prone on the seat and setting an American motorcycle speed record of 150.313 miles per hour. After this, Vincent started calling their bike the world’s fastest motorcycle in ads, noting that “this is a FACT – NOT a slogan!

This example is VIN (Upper Frame): RD12585.B, Lower Frame #: RD12585.B, Engine #: F10AB/2B10685.

It was first registered in the UK on November 5th, 1956. The seller acquired it one year ago from a private party.

The owner history of this bike is known from the day it left the factory in 1955 and it has a box file of supporting information. This provenance, traceability and the fact it is unrestored, makes this a very special Series D Black Shadow of the 144 created.”

The numbers on the bike have been verified by the Vincent Owners Club and a certificate issued confirming its provenance.

During his ownership, the seller has covered 35 miles. The odometer shows 9,505 miles.

It’s very rare to find an unrestored Black Shadow and this one has not been molested and retains its fantastic original patina. The bike is 67 years old and has had six owners from new. The Series D Vincent is the pinnacle of the 1000cc Black Shadow’s design with many elements appearing on these final bikes only. This makes the Series D one of the best handling and easiest to run, maintain and own of all Black Shadows. It is easy to start and more comfortable than the other Vincents to ride thanks to the Girdraulic forks up front and the new geometry for the rear of the bike. This bike has the latest Avo coil over rear damper fitted, with a longer spare damper available also. The center stand is unique to the Series D Vincents and is exceptionally easy to use, even a child could operate it.”

Other Series-D innovations included a new frame and rear suspension – a steel tube replaced the original fabricated upper member/oil tank while the paired spring boxes gave way to a single hydraulic coil-spring/damper unit offering a generous seven inches of suspension travel and it’s this that makes the Series D more comfortable to ride and handle better than the previous models. There were many improvements to the incomparable v-twin engine including coil ignition for easier starting and Amal Monobloc carburetors that didn’t leak petrol like previous models. There were changes inside the engine to beef up the engine shock absorber (ESA) and other improvements.”

New tires were fitted in February 2020, new chain fitted in 2019. Large stack of maintenance receipts, MoTs and other Shadow related information. Last service carried out 08/08/2022 by Quirk’s Classics Vincent Specialists in England.

It is in perfect working order, having done only 35 miles since! Everything works and it starts very easily, usually in one or two kicks. It even has hand painted original registration plates!”

Cosmetic Blemishes
The seller notes:
Small scratch to right side of petrol tank.

4 small paint spots on top of tank, 3-4mm in diameter each (Paint not broken, just raised).

Some paint chips around rear frame struts, paint missing off lower left front suspension linkage at axle.

Normal age-related marks around the bike but nowhere near what you’d expect for a 67 year-old bike.”

The sale includes:
All Logbooks / early Buff + later versions, original factory rider’s manual, reproduction maintenance instruction manual from the National Motorcycle Museum, Vincent Owners club official machine dating certificate confirming all matching numbers, original 1956 buff log book – extremely valuable in its own right, collection of original tax discs, original factory instruction sheets, original Vincent factory spares list book

The seller sums up his bike by calling it “a unique and important Vincent motorcycle in outstanding original condition, the bike needs for nothing other than an owner who will cherish it for the rarity it is and preserve its originality and provenance going forward.

Currently located in Sandbach, England, this Vincent is offered on a clean English title. Have any Black Shadow stories or questions about this listing? Let us know in the “Comments” tab!

Additional Information


Sandbach, England






Black Shadow







Title State/Country


Private Party/Dealership

Private Party

Additional Charges


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Shipping Information

Continental US:
Haul Bikes will ship anything sold through Iconic for a starting rate of $750 in the Continental US (prices may increase in rural markets), and Iconic will handle the paperwork on your behalf. You do not need to crate your bike or drain the gas/disconnect the battery if you go with Haul Bikes. We are glad to work with the shipper of your choice as well, but you will have to arrange it.

Please note:

  • spares/extras will have to be shipped separately via FedEx or similar.
  • the fee includes $15,000 of insurance with a $500 deductible. Additional insurance can be purchased at a cost of $50 per additional $5,000 of value.
  • additional details can be found here

Southern California
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We are located in Santa Monica, California 90405.
Local Rates (one way):
0-50 miles: $150
50-150 miles: $300

Please contact concierge@iconicmotorbikes.com for a quote.

We recommend TFX

$1,500 for Los Angeles, CA to Canada is a ROUGH ballpark, please contact TFX for an exact quote including shipping and customs.

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$5,000 for US to Europe/Asia is a VERY ROUGH ballpark which includes transport as well as customs fees and duties. Please contact Shippio for an exact quote.

Australia/New Zealand:
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