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22nd November 2005


'Vincent and HRD Motorcycles - How They Were Promoted and Sold' by David Wright Books: 'Vincent and HRD Motorcycles - How They Were Promoted and Sold' by David Wright

Frank Westworth reviews David Wright's history of the marketing of Vincent Motorcycles: "Whether your interest is exclusively Vincent or not, you should find this a gripping read"...

If ever there was a moment not to delay, then this is it. David Wright's new mighty tome is a limited edition, and just 998 copies will be sold. On some subjects, that print run might last for a fair while but, as this 300-plus page quality hardback examines one of the world's favourite marques, you can't expect it to stay on the shelves too long.

Talk about a labour of love! Can you imagine producing a book about the marketing of a motorcycle marque? Neither could I until I read this.

The world is awash with Vincent history books, at least a couple of them written by David Wright, in fact, and although there is no doubt always room for another, do not mistake this book for a simple history. It is a history, of course, in the sense that it is a chronological record of HRD and Vincent, but it is not a deconstruction of the marque and its motorcycles.

It is, as the cumbersome title suggests, a study of the way the sundry HRD and Vincent companies went about promoting both themselves and their products, complete with plenty of super-anorak material (spot the shot showing a pile of brake drums made by Vincent for the car industry) and fascination for fans of the old industry.

Random Vincent Stuff on eBay.co.uk

HRD LogoWhether your interest is exclusively Vincent or not, you should find this a gripping read. There's a whole history here, not just of Vincent or of the motorcycle industry, but of the changing fortunes and attitudes of UK Ltd. There's a lot of understanding to be gained, too, and the changing nation is reflected in the way Vincent chose to
market their increasingly unusual motorcycles.

The material is presented in fine style; each page with a gold and black trim bordering the thousands of illustrations. The main text is pleasingly large, too, so you should be able to read it without the aid of a 400W spotlight. Much of the volume is necessarily in mono - but the pages devoted to the most recent examples of Vincent in print are in full colour. And there's even a RealClassic magazine cover lurking near the back!

The book itself is a vast and truly impressive achievement, and I cannot imagine the effort, energy and dedication which lies behind it. If you doubt that your fires could be lit by a vast array of trade ads, letters, lists from secondhand dealers offering rows of Vins for sale (where did those days go, etc!), then be prepared for a surprise. This is gripping stuff, and David Wright deserves a gold star for producing it. My copy is already providing sterling service as a refuge for those It's All Too Much moments, and is worth buying just for that, even if - like me - you have never, ever owned a Vincent!

Frank W

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'Vincent and HRD Motorcycles - How They Were Promoted and Sold'
by David Wright costs cost 25 from 01624 844256 or email davidwright@manx.net

You can buy several of David Wright's other books about Vincent motorcycles from Amazon, including 'Vincent, The Complete Story' published by Crowood

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