History for Sale: Record-Breaking Vincent Black Lightning

Bonhams to auction Jack Ehret's Australian-land-speed-record-breaking 1951 Vincent Black Lightning at its annual Las Vegas motorcycle auction, Jan. 25, 2018, in Nevada.

Jack Ehret’s 1951 Vincent Black Lightning

Jack Ehret’s 1951 Vincent Black Lightning, still in its original racing form.

Sponsored by Bonhams
October 2017

Introduced in 1948, the Vincent Black Shadow was without question the first true Superbike of the modern era. Officially timed at 122mph, it was faster than the Jaguar XK120, then the world’s fastest production car. But even more performance was to come with the introduction that same year of the ultimate — and today most collectible — Vincent, the Black Lightning.

Weighing just 360 pounds compared to the Black Shadow’s 458 pounds, the Lightning was a production racer based on the bike that Rollie Free famously rode to an AMA land speed record of 150.313mph. Featuring high-performance racing components, the Lightning produced a claimed 70 horsepower, 15 more than the Black Shadow.