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An illustration of iconic Rollie Free stretched out over his Vincent Black Shadow at on the Bonneville Salt Flats Utah, clad only in a bathing suit and tennis shoes. He claimed stripping to his trunks gave him extra 2.3mph, enough to reach the magic 150.

That stretched-out riding pose was developed by Free in the 1920’s, when he was racing Indians. When Indian no longer developed motorcycles capable of trouncing Harleys, he turned to Vincents as the next likely candidate. His goal was to beat Joe Petrali’s record (on a streamlined Knucklehead – 137mph) by a sizable margin, so he began discussions with Philip Vincent on delivering a specially tuned Black Shadow which would do 150mph.

On the morning of September 13, 1948, Free raised the American motorcycle speed record by riding the very first Vincent HRD Black Shadow.





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