Jack Ehret’s record breaking 1951 Vincent 998cc Black Lightning

Auction house Bonhams will put up the sale of their acquired 1951 Vincent 998cc Black Lightning on January 25 at the Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction. It is not just any Vincent, but the one which broke the Australian Land Speed Record piloted by Jack Ehret.

This could be the most expensive unrestored motorcycle sold at an auction, while the previous Black Lightning was sold at $293,423 back in 2008. That is not even the most expensive figure. That goes to the 1931 Brough Superior BS4, which was sold last year by Bonhams for £331,900 ($460,000).

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Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world’s largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. This year, Bonhams promise 1,750 bikes in a 5-day sale and the most exquisite of them will be the record-breaking machine that was owned by Jack Ehret for 47 years (1952 to 1999).

This is the second most desirable Vincent bike on the planet, after the “Rollie” Free’s 1948 Black Shadow that ran on the Bonneville Salt Flats (150.313mph). In 1953, Ehret achieved an average speed of 141.5mph and went on to claim numerous race victories throughout Australia on a bike that featured high-performance racing components. It gave the bike 70 hp, 15 more than the Rollie Free’s Black Shadow.

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Ehret’s bike- number 7305- is one of the 29 bikes ever built by the famous English factory, Stevenage. This one was specially ordered and imported into Australia by Tony McAlpine. Available only by special order, the standard Black Lightning was supplied in racing trim with a tachometer, Elektron magnesium alloy brake plates, racing tires on alloy rims, rear-set foot controls, a solo seat and aluminum mudguards. Today, there are only 19 or so such Lightning bikes tucked into garages across the globe.

This makes Ehret’s bike a rare slice of history that also comes with a cosmetically unrestored example, with its glorious racing heritage. The original condition bike has accumulated, over the 50 years, 5,000 miles of pure racing until its last race in 1993. Today, the Black Lightning is perhaps the most coveted production motorcycle ever built.

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Introduced in 1948, the Vincent Black Shadow was without question the first true Superbike of the modern era. At that age, it cost a hefty £400 price tag and £108 purchase tax. That is $1,670 in those days.

Description: “In original, unrestored and running condition – recommissioned by none other than Vincent master Patrick Godet, “ Sources say Ehret’s Black Lightning can fetch anything upwards of £300,000.

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