French Vincent expert Patrick Godet, 67, passed away suddenly on Nov. 25, 2018, at his home in the Normandy countryside. His loss will be keenly felt by Vincent owners and enthusiasts around the world, many of whom used the huge array of high-quality Godet Motorcycles Vincent parts to restore or maintain their original Vincents. Others were fortunate to own one of the more than 250 Egli Vincent V-twins that Godet constructed during the past 25 years with the approval of Fritz Egli himself, the only officially recognized Egli Vincent motorcycles. Fritz has one, and thanks to its electric starter he still rides it today even after turning 80 last year.
Godet became enraptured with the British marque when he bought his first Vincent, a Black Shadow, in 1974 at the age of 23 after completing his military service. He then used his saved up military pay to establish a restoration and tuning business concentrating on Vincents. He bought a Black Prince for touring, but when the classic racing scene started in France in 1979, he sold it to raise money to go racing with his modified Black Shadow, which evolved into the Spéciale, tuned to Black Lightning specification.
Godet’s fanatical attention to detail and dedicated enthusiasm in helping his customers brought him business from around the globe. After expanding into a new, 6,500-square-foot factory with a six-man workforce 12 years ago, he turned his attention to turning the 500cc Vincent Comet single into a highly competitive classic racer.
After losing his wife, Sophie, to cancer four years ago, Godet threw himself into his business with renewed gusto and to good effect with the help of his business partner, Florent Pagny.
The long line of Vincent owners patiently awaiting their turn to have Godet Motorcycles restore their bikes paid testament to Godet’s expertise, and his ability to deliver on expectations. His sad passing means that many of his exciting future projects will remain unfulfilled, with the brand-new but visually authentic electric-start Vincent Black Prince with 1,330cc V-twin engine and full-enclosure bodywork with special panniers, all made in carbon fiber, that he was working on for an Australian customer, the most tantalizing. “Patrick Frog” spoke English fluently with a glorious French accent; it’s hard to think we’ll no longer have the pleasure of hearing him live on stage in a classic racing paddock anymore.