This is a continuation to the last post on why the timing chest cover build number (96) differs to that of the build number for 2751 (42). I sent an email to the VOC Registrar, Simon Dinsdale, and he got straight back to me with some interesting information.
So, I wish to correct something that I wrote. I stated that all 128 “B” Meteors would have been branded “HRD” – this is incorrect and the truth is somewhat more complicated…
2751 is recorded as being manufactured on 27th August 1949 and left Stevenage with “HRD” castings and a “Vincent” transfer on the tank.
The “HRD” to “Vincent” logo branding changes occurred across all series “B” & “C” bikes manufactured during an 18 month overlap period between 1949 and 1950. I knew this and I also knew that towards the end of this period, bikes left Stevenage with a veritable mishmash of logos on castings and painted onto petrol tanks. As the new “Vincent” branding project gathered momentum some stocks of “HRD” castings had this old logo removed and left The Works in a plain state. To make matters even more confusing, Simon tells me that it is believed that some early “Vincent” logo castings also had the logo ground off as they had been badly cast…
The series “B” Meteor & series “C” Comet were introduced at exactly the same time with the 1st production machines leaving The Works in August 1949. To quote Simon: “The first Comets & Meteors being HRD bikes with ‘HRD’ crankcases and the change occurred in late 1949 to ‘Vincent’ – so the last ‘B’ Meteors (made up to mid 1950) actually had ‘Vincent’ on the tank and ‘Vincent’ crankcases with a few plain crankcase bikes thrown in as well. So basically don’t assume an ‘HRD’ single is a Meteor and a Vincent single is a Comet.”
I’m not sure of the exact numbers but certainly “HRD” branded singles are exceedingly rare.
Now, why the correct pattern timing chest cover with the incorrect build number…? Simon managed to shed some interesting light: “This leads to your HRD timing cover with mating number 96. I know from the records mating number 96 is from a series ‘C’ Comet that was despatched to a dealer called Weston Webb in New Zealand on the 30/09/1949 and this was the 40th series ‘C’ Comet made. The rest of the engine was last reported to be in New Zealand in the 1980’s but I have nothing since. The UFM for this Comet was reported to have been for sale on eBay in USA in 2005 but again nothing since, so it looks like the bike was broken up a long time ago.”
2751 was also originally exported to Weston Webb, so, therein lies the “rub”!! Now we know what happened. Whether it was an intentional swap (if the original cover was damaged) or whether the covers were inadvertently swapped whilst work was being undertaken in the Weston Webb shop we may never know… This has all been very interesting and another reason why complete transparency is important and can often tell a fascinating story.
And there is a faint possibility that the original timing chest cover – stamped “42” – is still out there…
Thank you Simon!