Las Vegas Bonhams Vegas Motorcycle Auction: Jack Ehret’s Vincent Black Lightning
Even those unfamiliar with motorcycle history can picture Rollie Free donning a bathing suit while laying flat across a Vincent Black Shadow.
The picture—arguably the most famous in motorcycling—is from Roland “Rollie” Free’s 1948 record-breaking run at Bonneville Salt Flats (150.313mph).
Though it’s argued that Rollie’s bike may have been a Vincent Black Shadow, the majority believes it was a Black Lightning, making the model one of the rarest in motorcycle collecting.
This also puts more of an emphasis on the second-most known Vincent Black Lightning in history—the Australian speed—record maker and race winner ridden and owned by Jack Ehret.
Now that bike will be available during Bonhams Las Vegas Motorcycle Sale September 25 at Rio Hotel & Casino. During the famed motorcycle auction, Ehret’s 1951 Vincent Black Lightning—un-restored and in running condition—will go on the block. The bike is being recommissioned by Vincent guru Patrick Godet.
“Rollie Free and Marty Dickerson, both legends in the Vincent universe, knew of this motorcycle and Ehret’s acclaim,” says Ben Walker, Bonhams Head of Motorcycling.
“After the ‘Bathing Suit Bike’ ridden by Free, the Ehret bike is likely the most important Black Lightning in existence and represents an exceptional opportunity to acquire one of the world’s most desirable machines.”
The Ehret Black Lightning—number 7305—is one of just approximately 30 Black Lightning motorcycles ever built by the Stevenage, England factory. This one was specially ordered and imported into Australia by Tony McAlpine.
Bonhams provides additional history: “At the time of its build, another well-known Vincent nicknamed “Gunga Din” was undergoing work in the factory. Upon completion of both, the two machines were contested at an airfield where it was said that McAlpine’s bike was a clear 30 yards ahead of Gunga Din, and factory records later indicated speeds in excess of 130mph in third gear.
“Most important, however, was that in 1953 the McAlpine-ordered motorcycle smashed the existing Australian speed record when Jack Ehret achieved an average speed of 141.5mph. Under the ownership of Ehret, the Black Lightning would also clinch numerous race victories throughout Australia and become renowned around the globe.”
A price has yet to be set, but expect this bike to sell for more than $250,000.
Bonhams says other consignments are now invited to accompany this rare, original condition and legendary British motorcycle. Owners interested in consigning special motorcycles of all makes and vintages to the Thursday, January 25th auction at the Rio Hotel & Casino may contact:
- US: 415-391-4000 / firstname.lastname@example.org
- UK and EU: 0208 963 2817 / email@example.com