Vincent HRD. "RAPIDE" 1938




1938 VINCENT-H.R.D. "RAPIDE." The basic development of the pre-war Series A Vincent-H.R.D. "Rapide" . This engine was capable, with only modest tuning, of producing several more b.h.p. than the "works" 500 c.c. racers of the period, so it was only natural that soon after the introduction of the model some of them should appear on the race track.
Legend has it that one was raced (the name Ted Frend comes into the story) on grass tracks in the South-Eastern Centre. On wet tracks it proved an awe-inspiring spectacle . . . and soon after the "unlimited" races in grass-track programmes in the centre were listed as "up-to-650 c.c". It's rather a nice story!

The Vincent-H.R.D. factory had always produced "springers"; Vincent was a man who had invented a very good spring-frame at a time' when there were several very bad ones about, and he had joined forces with H.R.D. (Howard R. Davies, the 500 c.c. T.T. winner on a "350") to build the first Vincent-H.R.D.s in the late twenties.

It was no surprise, therefore, that when the "1,000" was announced it was equipped with pivoting-fork rear suspension. What was interesting was the employment of two brakes on each wheel, to provide stopping power to match the performance, and the latter was very good. After the various journals had tested the new Vincent-H.R.D., another maker of big twins stopped advertising his products as "the fastest production machine in the world".

The Achilles heel of the pre-war Vincent-H.R.D. was the transmission. Motor Cycling's road test spoke of clutch slip at over 100 m.p.h., and only if the clutch was kept in perfect condition could the full potential of the machine be realized.
"Ginger" Wood, seen in action in the picture, was one rider whose clutch worked. . . .


Engine: 47^° Vee-twin 1,000 c.c. o.h.v.; valve operation
by high camshaft and short push-rods. Ignition: magneto.
Transmission: chain through four-speed gearbox. Frame: single down-tube cradle type, with pivoting-fork
rear suspension. Forks: girder