The timing chest cover has the “HRD” script cast into it. This makes it a very hard-to-find item because compared to a total of 3,791 postwar “Vincent”-branded “C” singles (all Comets) manufactured only 128 “B” Meteors were produced. These Meteors, as far as I’m aware, would have all been “HRD”-branded. There might have been some variation in the way the tanks were painted but the engines would have all had the “HRD” logo castings. So, the chances of 2751’s timing cover being original to the bike seemed highly likely. Once it had been removed it was inspected.
One clue is the absence of the two cover locating dowels. This cover is not original to the bike and the inclusion of the dowels would mean that it didn’t mate to the crankcases correctly – the covers were each mated to their respective crankcases. I know that a timing cover was included with the disassembled bike and parts that Peter Johnson bought. I also know that a cover was present with those parts in NZ when the bike was offered for sale – it’s mentioned in the list.
Assuming that this is the cover currently fitted then it must’ve come from an “HRD”-branded Meteor that lived in NZ. Hard to imagine what went on here – was the original cover damaged and replaced with a similar “HRD” item? This scenario seems very unlikely due to the scarcity of this part. Also, when the parts were gathered together for sale by Bill McCahon, in the late ’60s, there would have been surely little interest in trying to find an “HRD” timing chest cover when “Vincent” scripted ones would have been much more readily available. A more likelier scenario is that 2751’s original cover was inadvertently swapped with the cover of a “B” Meteor. On the off-chance I’m going to take this up with VOC numbers guru Simon Dinsdale and see whether any “B” Meteors still exist in New Zealand.
I’m a bit disappointed to have found this but at least we have the right component even if it wasn’t the one the bike originally left the Works with.