Grey Flash 2751

The history and restoration of a Vincent HRD Grey Flash

As mentioned in a previous post, the Girdraulic fork legs, which are original to the bike, were anodised. This Grey Flash, the third production bike, was a new model for Vincent and they were trying to impress the market. To this end, the bike left The Works with eye-grabbing finishes – later Grey Flashes were simply painted grey. The dull chromium plate has been easy to spot, once the paint was stripped off the parts. However, whether alloy parts still showed signs of anodising has proven frustratingly difficult to ascertain. You see, the anodised finish was silver in colour which looks very similar to bare aluminium, especially on castings. The forks looked incredible, once they’d been stripped of their paint, and we knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that (i) they were original to the bike and (ii) they would have been anodised. They would be the perfect reference point for comparing other parts to, to see whether those parts were anodised or not. Then I remembered that I had an original, untouched Girdraulic fork leg stashed away at home. So, I arranged to have it dug out and my mum sent it to Bert. Once it had arrived, he stripped off the stove enameling and laid it next to one of 2751’s legs.

The difference was like night ‘n’ day!
The attention to detail is impressive…
The standard leg looks rough in comparison.

We were blown away by what we found. Aside from all the usual dings and scratches visible on the standard leg, the whole part was covered in casting blemishes and imperfections. These would have had to have been labouriously polished out prior to anodizing.

“Anodising is a method for changing the surface chemistry of metals and other substrates. It protects against corrosion, enhances aesthetic qualities, resists scratching and is one of the most durable surface finishes available.”

This explains why 2751’s fork legs look so good after all these years. In addition, at some time they were painted (Bert removed two layers of different paint) which added a further level of protection. And it’s very fortunate that whomever painted them, refrained from roughing the metal surface to provide a “key” for the paint.

Just exquisite!

This exercise has taken some organising but we have achieved a satisfying result. This not only allows us to see just how special the forks are but gives us a solid reference point when trying to ascertain whether other alloy parts are anodised or not, which, if they are, will mean that those parts are original to the bike. Very, very happy about this. 🙂

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