The Jack Ehret Speed Record-Setting 1951 Vincent Black Lightning Auctioned For $929,000 In Las Vegas

To the sound of cheers and applause in a packed ballroom at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Bonhams – led by auctioneer Malcolm Barber –  just sold the rare, original condition, British-made, Australian speed record-setting, 1951 Vincent Black Lightning motorcycle for $929,000, making it the most valuable motorcycle ever sold at auction.

Built by special order and imported new into Australia by Tony McAlpine, the Vincent Black Lightning – number 7305 – is one of just approximately 30 Black Lightning models ever built by the Stevenage, England factory.

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.

“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 is one of the world’s most desirable machines.” In original, unrestored and running condition – recommissioned by none other than Vincent master Patrick Godet, this tremendously important and rare Black Lightning was in Ehret’s ownership for nearly 50 years.

8 Responses to “The Jack Ehret Speed Record-Setting 1951 Vincent Black Lightning Auctioned For $929,000 In Las Vegas”


  1. 1 Sharkey Jan 26th, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Only original once; well kept historic survivor. A spartan beast in it’s day…

  2. 2 Number6 Jan 26th, 2018 at 9:52 am

    Though this one is a 51 ;To borrow the words of Richard Thompson’s ” 52 Vincent Black Lightning ”

    ” … there’s nothing in this world
    Beats a 52 Vincent and a red headed girl
    Now Nortons and Indians and Greeveses won’t do
    They don’t have a soul like a Vincent 52 “

  3. 3 James just another crazy kiwi Jan 27th, 2018 at 1:22 am

    God They are Horny Beasts… Built and ridden by real Men !

  4. 4 Bob Jan 27th, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    Who ever bought this Vincent, could be president of the more money than brains cub!

  5. 5 rebel Jan 27th, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    and it’s a softail with a 2×10 for a seat

  6. 6 Boomer Jan 27th, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    So much of this bike was way ahead of its time like the rear suspension and badass engine but one thing was far behind its time; that dang seat! I could make one like that out of a 1.5 foot 3×4 board and a little bit of vinyl and foam. Oh wait, I did that when I was just a kid for a 1958 Sears Allstate moped; my very first motor powered bike. I’d post a pic but this forum won’t allow me too. Let’s just say that little bike was the best $20 I ever spent and my passion for bikes is as strong now as it was then when I was only 13 years young.

  7. 7 Sharkey Jan 28th, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    Bob; whoever bought this bike is so stupid he’s probably a multi-millionaire

  8. 8 nicker Feb 6th, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    So who was it that authenticated this bike as “the original”….???

    -nicker-

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