Classic archive: Transatlantic twin Vincent


A restyled Brit with an American accent, a long way from home in Stevenage, in terms of looks and in actuality.

Photographs: MORTONS MEDIA ARCHIVE

Writing in the July 18, 1957 issue of The Motor Cycle, American Vaughn M Greene extolled the virtues of ‘one man’s ideal mount’ as he put pen to paper to explain all about his Vincent special, which, frankly, must have caused something of a stir when the pictures were published in the UK press, as it was most unlike anything seen on contemporary British roads.

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Greene started: “Of course it’s a Vincent! But call it a Series E Model if you like, for nothing like this ever left Stevenage.”

He went on to explain the story of the special motorcycle, as well as making the point, near the beginning, that it’d come to him at some cost – a standard Vincent Black Shadow, a 1955 AJS (model unspecified) and a ‘goodly sum in cash’ too.

The story went thus: “The first time I saw the machine I was at a meeting in California and strolling through the rows of parked models, following the pleasant pastime of hunting for fellow owners – and suddenly there it was; but could that be a Vinc?”

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Impressed and gobsmacked in equal measure, it would seem, Greene tracked down the owner Mort Holland, ‘… a gifted tool and die maker who had lavished four years of spare-time work on constructing his special.’

Holland’s original plan had been to turn the Vincent into some sort of desert sled scrambler, but once it was finished, Mort thought it so beautiful he couldn’t bear to ride it, so duly sold it on.

Read more in the December 2019 issue of TCM – on sale now!

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