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Vincent to make a Comeback?

You know the proverbial No 9 bus? Wait for hours, then three of them come along at once. The same seems to be true of revived British motorcycle marques. During the 1980s and ‘90s, many British bikers dreamed of seeing BSA, Norton et al back in production, but apart from Triumph at Hinckley, things looked bleak.

That’s all changed now. While revived Triumph and CCM plus a thriving Royal Enfield have been with us for years, recent times have seen Norton, BSA and (briefly) Francis-Barnett come back from the dead as well. In early September, we brought news that the Hesketh name was coming back with a 450cc single.

The latest old name to potentially make a comeback is Vincent. Although not officially confirmed, it’s thought that Bajaj Auto – the fifth largest motorcycle maker in the world, which already has close ties to Triumph – had bought the Vincent name and trademark from British owner David Holder. Vincent, which ceased production in Britain in 1955, would be a feather in the cap for Bajaj. The company has shown a willingness to work with Western brands. It already owns the Excelsior-Henderson name, builds small bikes for KTM in India and is due to start production of Triumph’s 300cc single early next year.

What we don’t know is what form a new Vincent would take. It could be a big single, like the new BSA Gold Star, or a 1000cc V-twin, recalling Vincents of the 1950s, which were the superbikes of their day. Either way, the supply of revived British brands shows no signs of slowing down.

Jim Freeman, Chair of the BMF, welcomed the news: “It’s starting to make me feel like Rip Van Winkle, falling asleep for 50 years, then waking up. It’s not just the names, although Vincent has to be the most iconic of the iconic, but the kind of bikes. Four stroke singles and twins, after decades of four cylinders. Bikes that aren’t being sold as the fastest, whizziest things on two wheels, but as economical, relaxed, fun. It’s great! ”

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of Google Images