About 6 months back (say Feb 2011) I was in my garage working on one of my bikes when a neighbor dropped by for a chat and makes the casual remark along the lines of “you must know the inside if that bike better than the outside”. One thing led to another and with me making the observation that I had always wanted a classic British bike to restore then ride – the neighbor out and tells me that he knows of an old Vincent Comet single that has stood unloved in a garage for over 20 years.
He then offers to see if the owner might consider selling it – eventually putting me in touch with the owner. So I talk with the owner but it’s not convenient for her to let me see the bike just then.
In the meantime I start looking at the small number of Vincent Comets that are available for sale locally just so I will know what I am looking at and what the price range should be. I also head off to a number of Vintage rallies and also make contact with the local Vincent Owners Club.
After a 4 month romance on the telephone it is eventually agreed that I can have a look at the bike. In this time I have already seen 4 or 5 Comets so I know what I am looking at. I have also seen 2 that were available for sale, both were/are in very good condition and the prices of each were in line with each other – so on the agreed day off I go to look at the bike that I have been told by the seller is an original 1950 Vincent Comet – all matching components – just like it came out of the factory.
What a disappointment – it was unkempt, and far from original – the motor, rear frame and front frame were from 3 different bikes and cobbled together, there is significant rust all over the bike and large dents in the fuel tank. A lot of the electrical parts seem to be from old BSA’s or such like,, and the seat has all but disintegrated. Even the motor itself is a composite of at least 2 different motors with main casting not matching each other. All in all its a mongrel. I make what I think is a reasonable offer but it is rejected out of hand – it transpires that there is an expectation on the part of the owner that the bike is worth much much more – something like a 25% premium more than the near concourse Vincent Comets I had seen earlier.
Oh well, that is life. But I did not recognize the real danger – I was now hooked into turning my daydream of owning a Vincent into a reality.
Let the search begin in earnest!