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VINCENT GAS TANKS AND SEATS(see paint section too..)

A Petrol Tank Cleaning Method :      Using a 1600 lb. engine driven high pressure washer, and a home made 30 gal. auxiliary source tank, the job is made easy.  Fill the tank with water made into a solution with common baby powder or pumice, whichever you have on hand.  Modify the pressure washer wand end, bending it into a 90o angle, and cover the tank with a protective wrap to prevent any mishaps with the paint.  With the gas cap and petcocks removed, insert the 90o wand into the gas cap cavity.  Engine running, pressure up, sporadically trigger the wand in all directions for no more than three or four minutes.  This is usually enough to remove all rust to a shiny metal surface.

Cleaning the tank of the grit goes like this: 

Flush a couple of times with water.

Let the tank dry.  You can assist drying by using a shop vac on "blow" in the gas cap hole. 

After the tank is thoroughly dry use your shop air compressor at 125 lbs. pressure. Blow in the gas cap and petcock holes.

When you see no more "white cloud" exiting the tank, the job is finished. 

You can then use the quality tank liner sealant of your choice to protect any further rusting to infinity. 

The trick with tank liner sealants is in the preparation.  It only takes about an hour to properly remove rust and seal tank.  Of course you follow the directions, and there is a cure time on all liner sealers.  It's a good idea to double that time before the tank is put into use. 

After about 10 cleanings with the wand, the pressure tip will have to be replaced.  The nozzle orifices erode rapidly.
( Max Lambky 3/16/11)

Most, if not all restorations, involve the seat.  The best restorations are accomplished by rebuilding an original.  Often when rebuilding an original seat the only items that will be retained are the rolled edge metal tool tray slide, the A frame containing the front seat tab mount, the two rear support tabs, the delta concave rear fender clearance shield, the two flat bar stiffener straps, and the horizontal loop tubing support. 

In every case when restoring one of these old bikes, the ply board base, the foam and the cover, will have to be replaced if you're looking for a quality end product.  Sixty year old foam hardens and loses it's elasticity, the ply board laminations are usually separated and weak, and in the case of the Naugahide cover, where the backing was cotton cloth, the cotton has lost it's youthful vigor.  The cover, the ply board, and the foam are all readily available.  If the ply board on your old seat hasn't deteriorate too badly, you can easily use it for a template to cut a new one.  I make sure when I buy it, that I am buying waterproof marine ply board, instead of the commonplace interior/exterior that's bought at the local hardware store.  If you cut your own ply board base, make sure you sand the edges.  It's a good idea to sand a 1/8" radius on the lower edge of the ply board base, as it will greatly improve the longevity of the Naugahide cover. 

For durability of metal parts, they can either be stripped, primered and painted, or powder coated.  On the seats that the Vincent company had made, the metal was all painted black as well as the ply board.  The covers were attached to the ply board bottom both by staples and by upholstery flat brads.  I prefer the brads.  To me it adds a touch of class.  In regard to the cover itself, you'll probably be happier if you have a reputable upholsterer who specializes in antique motorcycle seats, do the job, rather than using a seat cover manufactured in India.  And selection of the Naugahide is paramount in achieving a "Class Act" seat when finished. 

It's time to talk about the woes of some of the after market seats. 

Here are some of the things I've found to be unacceptable: The front ears too short, not allowing clearance between the seat and the rear of the tank.  Bottom A frame rear seat tabs either too close together or too far apart, causing binding of the friction shock uprights.  Seat base made from particle board.  Poorly fitting fiberglass, delta shaped, concave, clearance shield.  Poor glue adhesive.  Naugahide covering not even close to original.  Naugahide stitching not to original specs. 

If you don't have a seat with your restoration, you have to work with what you do have.  If your bike by some misfortune has one of the aforementioned after market seats, I'd approach it like this:  Ensure that the A frame bottom bracket is correct.  Measure the center distance of the four tabs on the bike's rear frame member.  Ensure that the distance is the same on the bottom A frame attaching support of the seat at the rear.  This cannot be over emphasized, as it is very important for proper operation of the friction operated rear seat upright supports.  All friction is directed at the friction lining, and nowhere else, i.e. seat mounting bushings.  If you're satisfied that the seat mounting points are correct in regard to the mounting points on the bike and the rear swing arm, when friction knobs are backed off, the shock and spring boxes are removed, and that a free, effortless, up and down movement of the swing arm is achieved, (for this check I hang the bike with tie down straps located at the forks and at the rear of the fuel tank with my handy dandy homemade A frame), you can reinstall rear swing arm spring boxes and set the bike back on the ground.  

I know it'll be hard to do, but for a nice job on the seat you'll more than likely have to throw away the entire after market seat except for the flat bar A frame with mounting tabs, and the foam portion of the seat.  If the delta concave splash shield on the rear of the seat is fiberglass, the only way to get a nice job is to take that piece, and the newly cut marine ply board to a local metal man that can form you a piece by hand, or if your talents lie in that area, and you can do it yourself, you'll save a buck or two.  So you salvage what you can, and undertake the above procedures where necessary.  More than likely you'll end up being a "happy camper" and proud of the end product, which will be functional and show worthy.   Max  Lambky  10-23-10  

Series "A" tanks:  When soldering (actually silver brazing) stainless steel I had good luck using a lower temperature silver brazing compound with metalsmithing flux. I believe that the flux which I used was a commercially available paste specifically for gold, silver and copper work but it was very much like a borax paste. When the silver brazing temperatures got too high the flux would break down and oxygen would then reach the metals being joined not allow the silver solder to flow.   Paul Woebling  8/16/10

Gas Tank Procedures
    Mounting and Preparation             

On almost all motorcycles, the crown of the restoration is the gas tank.  This is what you see first when you walk up to a bike, as the gas tank is the primary identification of the marque.  Any blem, or something that just doesn't look right, i.e., striping, logo badges, gas cap, and in the case of the Vincent, of course, the Mercury Crest.  Before you bring the gas tank to a concourse state cosmetically, it's a good idea to do some preliminaries. 

First determine if the tank you have is the tank you want.  Often basket cases are a hodgepodge of this and that Vincent parts.  There were four tanks made for Vincents, and possibly one other for prototype Indian Vincents.  The outside configurations were all the same, but the bottom cavities provided for carburetor clearance and frame clearance were quite different.  Rapides normally had a smaller cavity in both the B's and C's., than the Shadows in the B's and C's.  The D tank won't fit on the B's and C's due to only requiring a narrow alleyway to clear the strong back tube of the D frame.  The D had about a gallon extra fuel capacity due to it's tank belly pan configuration.  The factory Lightnings were all custom clearanced as to carburetors. 

The soundness of the tank is most important.  Does it leak?  Does it contain rust?  How much body putty is on the tank, if any?  Will it require a tank liner application?  Are all of the tabs correct in separation width?  Does the tank still retain the tire pump bracketry? 

Prior to checking for leaks on a tank that's been setting for a long period of time, it's a good idea to wash the tank innards with muriatic acid.  The muriatic acid will attack those tiny stubborn rust particles that may be plugging up a pin hole in the gas tank that's not detected until a week later when you're 100 miles away from home on your first ride after restoration.  Make sure when you use muriatic acid that you use gloves and eye protective gear.  You MUST neutralize the muriatic acid.  Failure to do so will ruin the tank.  Neutralization can be done with a garden hose placed in the tank running, to allow a six hour or more purge.  Now with a light and a mirror, determine the condition of the tank innards.  Fill the tank with water.  Plug the two drain bungs.  Make a quick gas cap with a fitting of some sort, that will accept a controllable air hose.  Pressurize the tank to not more than 1  1/2 lbs.   Dry off any water spillage with a blow dryer.  Hold the pressure for at least 5 minutes.  If any leaks are detected, repair externally as required.  Gas welding is the best method.  Brazing is the last resort, as sometimes brazing fluxes.  Don't allow brass to steel marrying.  Brazing may hold for as much as a month or so, but eventually gasoline liquefies the flux between the steel and brass surface, and a leak is inevitable.  The same problem occurs with some silver solders, and some lead solders as well.  

Go over the entire tank with a pneumatic palm sander to remove all the paint.  If there's no primer underneath the black or red, or in the rarest of rare cases, blue tank, it will more than likely be the original paint, as the gas tanks were originally dipped without primer in the case of the black tanks.  I'm not sure about the red or the rare blue, they might have been spray painted, and could have been primered.  If excessive body putty is detected after removal of all paint, a determination is necessary as to whether a portion of the bottom of the tank has to be removed for an access hole, to hammer and dolly back into shape.  If the bottom must be opened, use a thin blade metal cutting saber saw.  When reaffixing the metal door, first drill a series of 1/8" holes, 1/4" away from the edge of the hole in the tank. usually 4 will suffice.  Cut 4 metal tabs from 16 gauge steel sheet, approximately 1" long, 1/2" wide.  Use needle nose vise grips to clamp the tabs to the opening.  The tab should protrude 1/2".  Gas weld the tab in position with a button weld at the 1/8" drilled hole.  With the tank upside down, position the door in place.  Start the weld of the door by tack welding at the four tab areas.  This helps prevent any warping that may occur when final welding is completed.  Retest for any weld leaks.  It's a good idea to use a modern day tank liner.  Make sure the directions are followed, and most importantly, note whether the maker states that the liner is impervious to alcohol.  The reason for this is that modern day fuels often contain a small percent of alcohol.  Around 10% I believe.  Prior to installing tank liner sealant, put a few nuts and bolts in the tank and rattle them over all welded areas to remove weld slag.  Clean weld slag thoroughly from gas tank.  

Next the tank must be fitted to the frame.  There are four mounting points, the rear being a Siamized mounting system.  There are four rubbers, front tank ears right and left, and two rubbers, upper and lower at the rear.  A common problem with Vincent gas tanks is that the foreword ears, and sometimes the gas tank itself, has been squeezed together, decreasing the distance between the two tank mounting ears.  In the Vincent motorcycle parts list book, MO19 shows FT80, the front tank rubber, pointing the wrong direction.  The larger diameter of the rubber should go inboard against the steering head casting.  If the rubber is installed incorrectly, the shouldered bolt puts pressure on the tank, bending the ears.  With new rubbers installed properly without the tank, measure with calipers the distance from the large diameter shoulder of the rubber left and right.  Measure the fuel tank flanges.  The flanges should measure 1/8" less than the rubber shouldered distance.  This will allow, when installed, 1/16" crush on either side, allowing proper elasticity of the rubber mounts.  Too much crush reduces elasticity.  A portapower with a scissor tool can be used to open up the tank ear distance. 

Now the rear tank rubbers.  First check to see that the tank is installed, and front rubbers are tightened to full tube lock of shouldered bolt with washer, and the two tank rear mounting slots are wide enough so that the retaining bolts can be screwed in without touching.  A 1/32" clearance here would be a minimum.  Install the upper and lower pads.  Now with washers, tighten the two retaining bolts where the oil tank flange marries snugly to the bottom rubber pad, and the rubber pad marries snugly to the gas tank flange, and the top rubber marries snugly to the gas tank mounting flange, and the two washers are snug against the upper rubber mount.  Turn the bolts two additional turns.  This will provide the proper crush, and elasticity will still remain.  Of course when the tank is painted (which I'll cover in segment (2) of gas tank restoration) and installed, the two retaining bolts will be safety wired in an X pattern. 

The last thing is to size the aluminum spacer at the rear bottom of the tank to length.  Too short a spacer will cause stress on the tank when tightened, and eventually will cause weld cracking.  If everything is done properly, you'll be able to firmly grab the tank on both sides, and when twisted, will feel a movement.  This movement provides enough elasticity in your rubber mounted tank to prevent harmonic vibration cracks to your newly restored tank.      Max Lambky  8/11/2010

Seat Base:  Marine ply is excellent, the reason for this is that each lamination or layer of wood is perfect, no holes are left in it, and the knots are very very tight leaving absolutely no air holes between the layers.  the quality of the material is very good to excellent and the adhesive used - is not water based - therefor very resilient to water. there are many other types of wood laminates that are made with these characteristics now days such as Multi-laminates where there is a greater a amount of thinner laminations therefor increasing the structural integrity of your plywood. The best thing you can do is take a trip to your local 'exotic wood' or fine lumber store - you wont find what you need at the 'Home' type hardware box stores, find your local wood place and talk to the folks behind the counter - they often have offcut sizes , and you can ask about the adhesive types as well as the quality of the laminates. I've got some if you cant find anything that i can mail to you enough to make your seat , but i'm sure the postage would cost more than buying it locally. after you've made the wood choice, as indicated by others use a high end sealers (you could stain it black while you're at it if you so choose) drill all your holes etc, finish machine the blank and the seal it , and for good measure, when you're done,,,,seal it again.  marc   6/2/09
Tank Bag:   Bruce Metcalf  5/15/09
I have a "standard" Eclipse
tank bag which was a hand me down from another Vin owner. It works very well with the standard Vincent tank as far as the mounting straps go and is quite stable but I would recommend a tank cover if you want to protect a nice paint job. Many years and UV light have clouded the clear vinyl cover of the map pocket somewhat on mine but otherwise it has proved pretty robust any I particularly like the side pockets for easy access to stuff. Like a camping tent one has to spray it with a good water repellent from time to time to make sure contents stay dry.

The bag is large enough that it covers the gas cap so one has to make an air tunnel (mine is carved out of a chunk of ps foam) so as it does not block the breather. At refueling stops the bag has to be loosened on the front straps to allow access to the gas cap.   Tim Holcroft 5/15/09

I originally had my tank cracks brazed, but that was before TIG was available. I now have them TIG welded.  In either case I drill a 1/16 inch hole at the
either end of the crack to stop further growth then have the tank brazed or TIGed.  John Mead  4/16/09

Petrol tank leaks: When they start leaking there the problem is in the forward tank mounts.Good idea to change rubbers frequently;don't reuse the old ones if they are hard.  Bones has a pressure tester for Vincent tanks.He submerges them and pumps in a little air.   Also be careful welding tanks.A guy I respect saw one blow up after 20 years!!  You can pump in exhaust fumes to eliminate any oxygen.  Somer 4/16/09
Good point about the
need to purge the tank during welding. I use a small table outdoors for welding tanks, and back my truck up next to it. A 1-meter length of VW hot-air heater tubing (as used on old beetles to get air from the fan shroud to the heater boxes) connects 1 tailpipe to the filler neck. Petcocks should be removed to give as much flow as possible. Be wary of pressurizing the tank (especially automobile tanks: 1 psi = 144 pounds of push on each square foot of tanks surface, so a little pressure can do a lot of damage.) I also wear a leather welding jacket and a full face shield; it’s hot, but I know I’d be hotter if it flashed.
Tom Volkmann  4/16/09

Petseal sloughing off with Methanol:  One of the Scots members has a B Shadow which has suffered in this way (with "Old Petseal"). The flakes were very thin, maybe 15 -30 thou, just the right size to break up and plug the fuel system. I used a coating I bought from Frosts, about 5 years ago, called something like K9P. So far, so good, run on unleaded, with the occasional belt of Avgas.  The only practical difference between ethanol and methanol is that the first can be drunk, the second can't.  I think "methanol" is a contraction of "methylated ethanol". I don't know if that is different from "methylated spirits" (meths) but my late father-in-law used to start the 175 Francis Barnett on which he went fishing on meth, then changed over to paraffin (kerosene) once warmed up. Money were tight in them days... You can make your own ethanol (hundreds of Norwegians do) from sugar and yeast. It's been calculated that if all the yeast sold in Norway was used to make bread, every Norwegian, man woman and child, must consume 18 loaves a day. Of course I don't for one moment suggest you drink it, put it in your vehicle and save the planet. I pass over in silence making a fuel with ecological pretensions that used neat gives about 7 mpg in a 500 cc race motor. If I were a cynic I'd say it was another way of subsidising farmers. But I'm not, so I won't.  Sunbeam  4/6/09
Ethanol has 2 carbon atoms & methanol only 1 carbon. If a chemist heard you saying "methylated ethanol" then he might assume you were
talking about Methy Ethyl Ketone  or alternatively you didn't know what you were talking about. Many chemicals were used to "denature" ethanol
& 10% Methanol was the most common but Isopropyl alcohol was also used. It was all about excise duty on the pure stuff but
not on the denatured product.  In England they used to put a blue dye in it but here in Australia it is clear.  Alyn of Thirroul  $/6/09
Seat Hump:  I took a piece of 5" stove pipe (opened up), traced and cut the profile from the "seat well", hammered the perimeter flat and the job was done in 10
minutes.  Galvanized steel as well.  It could not have been any easier.    Richard Friedman  2/27/09
When you're
putting your tank back on a useful tool is a piece of 3/8" diameter mild steel with the end turned down to 1/4" diameter and the nose
tapered. You put it through the rubber on the first side and wriggle the pilot into the tapped hole which is then lined up to accept your piloted
shoulder bolt, which you don't tighten fully. You then go to the other side and repeat the process. Fit the bolts at the rear of the tank before you
finally tighten the front ones.Roy Cross  2/20/09
Getting the rust out:I have attached a 12"square of good quality plywood to a device consisting of a 6" X 6" plate of 1/4" steel welded to a 14" long piece of 1" o.d. iron pipe. I firmly attach the tank to the plywood panel..insert appoximately 1/4 lb. of ceramic media and 2 cups of dish washing detergent. This fiendish thingee is then locked into the three jaw chuck( having been inserted through the spindle hole from outside of the headstock). After Double Checking for security I set the lathe on 'back gear' @ 3rpm.  I let it run for three hours at a time...never when I am more than half the shop length from the set-up... and, eventually and with minimum risk or violence and No viscous acids; Bob's Your Uncle... Dave R. 2/18/09

Gettting the gum out:    In any event, on Oct 4th, I bought a Shadow basket including its fuel tank a third full of 32 year old high test and adding to the challenge, "indifferently" stored during that time, leaving an extreme example of the "lacquer" gum you referred to along with some superficial rust in the form of a pungent sludge.   I too wanted to preserve the exterior finish - not because it was original - but to add to the planned antiqueing of this machine to which now looks like a comfortable well worn but polished English gentleman's boot here.  The finish?  Nothing spectucular, a Conway's job superbly applied prior to 1959, but lined in gold paint rather than gold leaf.  To add to the challenge, 32 years of regular applications of cat urine to this tank had turned the single stage enamel clear coat - a popular top coat finish technique of the time - into a milky vinyl type consistency exposing the fragile lacquer color coat and decals beneath it.

As I've done over the years with Indian tanks (soldered not welded) and on my Red Rap tank.  I filled it half full with lacquer thinner and a lb of 1 1/4 zinc plated roofing nails sat it on the work bench and then made a daily  habit as I passed by on the way to work with the machine on the lift of slowly agitating it then letting it sit.  Don't recommend bb's, not enough mass, too smooth and have a tendency to want to stick where any gum remains. Zinc plating on roofing nails is done very thick to act partially in a self-sealing capacity when damaged (hammer blow) and is rather soft. The perimeter edge of the head and the sharp end do their job with less "violence" so to speak than required with other metal based media when agitating by hand.  Having less mass than a bolt or nut, they are far less prone to dent your tank.

Unless you have pin holes leaks which might explain the presence of a sealer in the first place, then your only vulnerability with a solvent like lacquer thinner is from the vent on your cap (seal it) and when your pouring in/draining off.   I have a long tube which I affix to the filler neck for both activities and apply a thin layer of grease as a sacrificial barrier around the filler neck to act as a sacrificial barrier for the short time it takes to reach for a rag if any splashing might occur.  Peter Williams 2/18/09

Removing petrol tank liner:   Old liner material will have to be removed before any effective repair can be made. I would attempt to remove some small bits of the liner for diagnostic experimentation with solvents. Start with Berryman, brake clean, carb clean etc, and if none of those work, try acetone, NMP or TCE. MEK should be a last resort. (They don’t call it Methyl-Ethyl-Death for nuthin!)   Once you have a solvent that works, even if it only works very slowly, add a carton of BBs to the tank, and use them as a mechanical scouring agent to work with the solvent. Be patient; it may take a while. If the stuff is really stubborn, tumble the tank by wiring it to a car wheel driven by the shaft of an electric motor. Email me if you want more info on how to do this. (This is how I tumbled my UFM.) Beware that your pinholes may get bigger as you do this.   I will also caution you that some of the aforementioned solvents are highly toxic and/or highly flammable. Make sure you download a MSDS for whatever you are working with to avoid hurting yourself or burning your house down. Nitrile chem. gloves and goggles should be the minimum for safety gear.  Tom Volkman  2/16/09 (Once  does NOT recommend use of any solvents.  Use of solvents is better left to professionals as some are reported to be carcinogenic, flammable and/or highly toxic.)

RK Leighton offer replacement squabs for Vincent seats, along with replacement bases (Complete with all strengthening bars).  Phone:
(44+)  (0)121 359 0514   or E-mail:   Neil.   1/6/08
Petrol tank tap threads:  1/4" BSPP (British Standard Parallel Pipe) with a major diameter of 0.518" and 19 threads per inch.  Not to be confused with American 1/4" National Pipe Thread (NPT) which has a major diameter of 0.540" and a pitch of 18 tpi.   Ken Targett  9/17/08
Gold Leaf Pin Striping on the tank:  These were all hand painted using lining brushes and they vary from a quarter to five sixteenths. Anything within those sizes looks good.  Roy Cross  9/4/08
Tank and UFM Cleaning - Sealing:  Rusteco is good.

It ain't cheap, but can be reused. I've had a big bucket of it for a couple years and have used it about 3 times, it's still doing its thing. Safe, too. I am not big on their gel product, though, but maybe I didn't use it correctly. You'll like that liquid stuff.  Bev Bowen  8/18/08

When I restored my Prince 5 years ago there was corrosion in the petrol tank. Having clean it out as best as I could, I lined it with a white epoxy compound two pack product, very successfully. A great advantage being you can see the tank contents very easily and any sediment that can later accumulate. Be careful to mask off the petrol tap threads before carrying out the process as they are hell to clean up afterwards. The final result is excellent and very durable.The supplier is :-
C.Wylde & Sons Ltd,
1 Roundhay Road,
Leeds LS8 5AJ (sorry I don't have their phone no.)

Product :- Flo-Liner White Epoxy Compound ( a pack contains 1 large tin and 1 small tin and is sufficient to treat a Vincent tank)
Paul Craven. 3/11/07

There were 4 articles in the 'Throwing Light on Some Obscure Components' Series describing gold leaf lining and transfers; the relevant MPH editions between April and July 94 (was it that long ago?) were:
No. 543 The Petrol Tank
No. 544 Enclosed D Lines
No. 545 Enclosed D Transfers
No. 546 Applying Gold Leaf      Frank Griffin  12/2/06

Tank Sealer: The best out there is a product called Red Kote. You can get this through some commercial truck stores or radiator shops.  Holt BMW offers this service for  around $80 with about a 2 week turn around. Your original paint will not be harmed.  It's money well spent as it is a PITA to do this. If your tank already has a white liner  in it it will not work. Red Kote is not compatable with Kreeme which is junk anyway.   Some folks use a product called POR wich is still not as good as the Red Kote. Plus the Red Kote liner is reddish and it a more of a rubbery coating.   .  Holt BMW/Ducati, 15530 US Rt. 50, East Athens, OH  (740)593-6690.  BMW message board. 12/08/02 
Removing Tank Sealer: When I acquired my bike, its fuel tank had been coated (probably with Kreem although I'm not certain).  Surface prep had evidently not been done correctly, as rust had loosened the coating and chunks were coming loose
and ending up in the carbs.  This did not enhance performance, and created a fire hazard when debris held the float needle open and the carbs overflowed.

Anyhow, Kreem advised me that their product is soluble in acetone, so I bought a gallon at the Home Depot.  This worked very nicely; it actually dissolves the coating rather than just softening it, so you can remove all the material if you're patient.  Also, acetone is one of the less-dangerous solvents to work with.  I'm not sure how universal it is with regard to other brands of coating, but it may be worth a try.   Dave Hartner  8/3/02 (  does NOT recommend Acetone as a solvent.  Use of Acetone is better left to professionals as it is reported to be carcinogenic.)

Your front tank bolts can and should only be done up to the shoulder, just captivating the rubber, the tank sits on this. No way should the tank be clamped by the front bolt. All the clamping is done at the back, by the two 5/16 bsf bolts two rubbers and a top plate of steel. The rubber should be fitted with the head between the headstock and the tank, the bolt should have a washer 3/4" diameter under the head. and the shoulder bolt should be 3/4" long under the head. So that when the bolt is done up tight to the shoulder, it lightly compresses the rubber to expand in gently and grip the tank. should have no effect in clamping the tank at all.   Trevor  Southwell  07/05/01

Bob Culver of Letchworth, UK (see Drat engine case advert in a year old MPH) had Dunlopillo make some NEW seat foams in the right material a year or so back. Right shape and "weight" and standard length. Real labour of love and very expensive at around £50 each. not stocked by VOCS as they would rather stock something cheaper apparently. Arthur Farrow  12/29/00
Bob Culver has run out of the
Dunlopillo seat foams as of not very long ago. He is having some polyether ones made subject to getting the underside geometry of the squab of the correct contour, and the chemical composition of the mix optimized. About a month he said and about GBP50 delivered UK. His number when I rang today is: +43 (0)1462 673705. You may get it for this price in US cos you won't pay the VAT. The seat arches are available from West Country Sidecars in glass fibre (see MPH).  The rest you can make with your bare hands.  Ken Tidswell  02/27/01

The short (old) style seat is (about) 12" from the nose to the first high point and 22" from nose to tail.  The long seat is 15.5" to the first high point and 26 overall. On this one the nose appears extended up the tank a bit and this part of the extra length
doesn't help my own big end much. I find it less comfortable than the short one also because the foam comes up more steeply to the middle crest and makes it harder for one to slide back against it.  Mike Hebb 12/29/00

click image for larger photoLarge Petrol Tanks: The large tank fitted to Charlie Cannon's bike is not  a Montlherry tank as it is the wrong shape. I have been fortunate enough to see an original Montlherry tank some time back, belonging to Pat Highsmith from Northern California. (currently owned by Jim Baltusnik 5/06) These tanks were identical at the front to the standard tank but were raised at the rear by a couple of inches to give a capacity of about 4 1/4 UK gallons. On side profile the top of the tank was almost horizontal. Charlie's tank is a "one off" from an unknown source.

Things start to become interesting when you talk about the correct locations for the gold lines and transfers. Series C's are fairly straight forward, if you took the mean average of all the tanks you could measure then you would not be far out with the positioning on the transfers etc.  The series B tank was something else. When I first started painting tanks I went to Alan Lancaster's pub where on the wall was an original advertising poster from the factory. It had photographs of both sides of the same Series B and I had brought all I needed to faithfully record the positioning of the gold lines etc. I was wasting my time, this show model had the HRD about 1 inch out, in relation to the opposite side. In truth you cannot see both sides of the tank at the same time and the factory had not expected someone to inspect their poster years later with a slide rule.
I have since taken detail measurements from several so called original tanks and yes they are different, the gold lines were applied by hand without the obvious use of a template. Very few people will be able to draw an identical arch to the left and to the right freehand, so don't let anyone tell you the lines on your tank are wrong.

A word of warning for anyone about to use Series D Black Shadow  transfers from the spares club. They look OK but over the years the water soluble glue has disappeared from the backs and it is only possible use them by painting them with a replacement glue.

For anyone who is interested the older tradesman in Southern England (as described by Robert Watson) is still producing  4 3/4 gallon aluminum petrol tanks to my design but they now sport flush aircraft fillers as the twist neck type appear unobtainable. If you know different please mail me with the source. If you are interested in getting one (photos available) then order early as the old guy only works one day a week.     Paul Adams  12/05/00

Vincent Colours: I've actually seen pictures of one of the blue ones. It was called "Egyptian Blue".It was a Touring Rapide. A few years ago, some NOS blue touring fenders turned up. I also came across an orginal Shadow that was sent over for the New York show. It had chrome hardware(this was common on show bikes) and a blue tank. Over the years I've also come across original Touring Raps that had red fenders and tanks. Charlie Taylor told me about having a Shadow go through his shop that had an orginal red tank on it. Red was not popular then. I've found several red raps over the years that were repainted black upon removal from the crate. Some red ones also had white seats. There were 17 Red Comets made, making them one of the rarest of all Vincents. Somer Hooker  12/09/00

Rare Colours:   Perry Osgood's Shadow is a Red" White" Shadow with a 1A number. There is another one too. One
of my friends found it a few years ago.He happened to pull in into a service station on his Vin..A guy in there commented that he knew where one of those was(Meaning a Vincent)It was still in the hands of the orginal owner. See what happens when you RIDE your Vin.  Somer Hooker  12/09/00
Rare Colours: On one of the sets of cases I just recorded for Gordon (Mr numbers) Powell he said it was a "Red/Black" Rapide, which "I think the red/black ones were black frame and fork parts with red tanks and mudguards (fenders?)". Perry Osgood's bike was originally sold in Vancouver and has a /1A/ engine number, painted red with polished cases but would question the touring statement John! Although I'm sure Gordon or Perry could clarify if you really wanted to know.  I question it as Perry does not have touring fenders on it and I know he wanted a very original restoration.  Robert Watson  12/09/00

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