Grey Flash 2751

The history and restoration of a Vincent HRD Grey Flash

Gearchange

As acquired, the foot controls of 2751 were as set up and adapted by Peter Johnson for his racing use.

On the timing side the gear change lever looked like this.

Firstly, the drilled footrest support plate appears to be non standard. I managed to acquire an accurately reproduced pair of plates that I may employ in the restoration.

These are correctly drilled.

I do not want to write-off the plates currently fitted to 2751 as being unoriginal until they’ve been removed and carefully inspected. The bike is an early example and may have differed from later “standardised production” Grey Flashes. Unfortunately period shots that I have of 2751 do not clearly show the foot control arrangement on either side of the bike very well so I will probably default to the pattern that was used and is widely accepted..

The interlinked gearbox actuating arms are both drilled and seem longer than those depicted in the Spare Parts List, which are of the Black Lightning pattern (utilising the Vincent gearbox).

These would be hard to fabricate.

The gear shift lever appears to be the original item but I need independent confirmation regarding all three drilled levers in the linkage.

Chum Franc Trento had some NOS and original racing parts and we came to a deal.

Details of the NOS linkage as acquired.

I would like to positively identify what this assembly might be for – is it a Black Lightning gear change linkage? The lever is not of a pattern that I’m familiar with and was sent to India as spares for a twin raced by a Mr. Ramanan..

29.3.2020 An update on the provenance of these parts. Shanker Ramanan trained at the Rootes Group in Coventry and resided in England during the period of his training. He already had an interest and some experience of tuning and racing motorcycles. So, in 1952 he ordered a Rapide to take back to India with him. The bike was build to special order, with many racing components as he planned to use it for record breaking. He also ordered a cache of spares to enable him to maintain the bike. In 1953 he set two Indian records on the bike on a Bangalore road. He unfortunately lost his life whilst attempting to better the records he’d previously set.

Shanker Ramanan.

Australian Peter Faulkner travelled to India to meet with Shanker’s widow and research the story (I do not currently have a date to add to the timeline). Peter managed to acquire all the remaining spares, many of which were special racing items. Later on these parts were sold to Franc Trento from whom I acquired the foot controls.

Foot Brake

On the primary or drive side the foot brake assembly looked like this when acquired:

Again the footrest support plate appears to be of the wrong pattern.

Disassembly and inspection should help to determine originality. Parts acquired from Franco for this side:

These are NOS (Ramanan cache) and can be employed in the restoration if deemed necessary.

The drilled brake arm/lever will be retained in the restoration as it was present when the bike was being raced in earnest in Australia. Decisions will have to be made about what will be retained and replaced, refinished and left as-is.

Footrests

The lovely folding footrests fitted to 2751 were fabricated by Peter Johnson. Later pattern Vincent racing foot pegs are beautiful things and I was offered a set in the Ramanan parts Franc had in his possession.

Perfect, or so I thought…

Alas it was not to be… Early racing Vincents made do with a regular part adapted – these knurled beauties didn’t appear until later on, along with the more svelte racing seat. They certainly would have been very suited to the Black Lightning but one has to question whether fitting non-folding footrests was appropriate for the agile Grey Flash…

As per the MO62 drawing, 2751 was fitted with pillion footrests furnished with kickstart rubbers.

Plainly visible in this period shot of 2751.

As so often, when I’m stuck for parts, brother Franco came to the rescue!

It would appear that spacers are employed, behind the footrest hanger plate, on the timing (gear change) side only, whilst the plate on the drive side is bolted directly to the inner chain case.

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