Alp Racing & Design builds a nitro-fueled 182-mph Vincent LSR…
Legend has it, Vincent engineer Phil Irving was working in his office one day when he noticed a pair of tracings of Vincent 500cc singles lying on top of each other in a narrow-angle “V” configuration — thus, one of the most legendary engines in motorcycling history was born, the Vincent V-twin. The Series A Rapide was the first Vincent V-twin motorcycle to go into production, built from 1936-1939:
“The makers have aimed at providing a 100 mph machine that is docile and does not rely on supertuning for its out-of-the-ordinary capabilities or require an ultra-high compression ratio.” –1936 press release
After WWII came the Series B Rapide, radically revised with unit construction, internal oil galleries, oil-in-backbone frame, and the cylinder angle increased to 50°, allowing the engine to be installed as a stressed member. Said Philip Vincent of the chassis design:
“What isn’t present takes up no space, cannot bend, and weighs nothing — so eliminate the frame tubes!”
The Series C Rapide arrived in 1948, featuring “Girdraulic” forks, and the Black Shadow soon followed, featuring a blacked-out engine in a higher state of tune (55 bhp), capable of pushing the machine to 125 mph in stock trim. The Black Lightning was the factory racing version, lightened from 460 to 380 lbs with an output of some 70 hp. In 1948, Rollie Free, racing prone across the Bonneville Salt Flats in a bathing suit and his wife’s shower cap, would break the US motorcycle land speed record with a run of 150.313 mph — the iconic photograph in motorcycling history.
Enter Alp Sungurtekin, whose background in Transportation Design and hot-rodding led him to found Alp Racing & Design in Los Angeles in 2001, building race engines and bikes. As Alp says, he builds experimental racing machines, not show bikes:
“Most of my ideas on a build are not visible to the naked eye which is the opposite of a custom/show bike.”
In 2007, Jalika Gaskin (@artisteobscure) joined the team, becoming crew chief in 2011 when they started land-speed racing at Bonneville. Alp now holds 3 AMA National and 12 SCTA World Land Speed Records, and the two were married during Speedweek 2018 — what a team!
The nitro-burning LSR Vincent you see here is built around a 1948 Vincent Rapide, serial #F10AB/1/666 — hence the bike’s nickname, “Vincent 666.”
“It is built for the unfaired/’naked’, naturally aspirated, vintage 1000cc class ‘A-VF’. The design is all about efficiency and top speed.”
This was Alp’s first time laying hands on a Vincent V-twin, but he was able to bring to bear what he’s learned from all of the previous racing engines he’s built. Then there was the frame design:
“I machined the entire Vincent 666 out of 6061 Aluminum, and all components are mounted together with modular construction, no welds, no bends.” –Alp
We can only imagine that such innovation would astonish and delight the likes of Phil Vincent and Phil Irving, happy to see their engines still setting records more than 80 years after the first Rapide rolled out of the Stevenage factory. Says Alp:
“So far I have a total of 14 minutes run time on it and it has proven to be a successful design. It already broke the Vintage class record at the ‘Bonneville World Finals’ last month in September. The average speed within the flying mile was 177.375, top speed at the end of the mile was 182mph.”
Below, we get the full details on the Vincent 666 from Alp himself, as well as more stunning shots from Chuck Null of CFN ImageWorks.
Vincent LSR Project: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My background is industrial design, I’ve worked with yacht designers and naval architects. Prior to that I had always been interested in hot rods; over the years I’ve owned and built a few 60’s cars including a ‘63 Chevy II and couple ‘68 Camaros. As of 2006 I began to convert my two-car garage into a fully equipped machine shop and started building racing engines and bikes. Currently my bikes and engines hold 15 land speed records in the most competitive 650cc and 1000cc Vintage classes.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the engine donor?
My latest project is built around a 1948 Vincent Rapide serial# F10AB/1/666.
• What class was it built for? What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
It is built for the unfaired/”naked”, naturally aspirated, vintage 1000cc class ‘A-VF’. The design is all about efficiency and top speed.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
I don’t build custom or show bikes — my design works can be considered experimental racing vehicles or conceptual/prototypes. Most of my ideas on a build are not visible to the naked eye which is the opposite of a custom/show bike.
My bikes are designed to perform in challenging conditions such as at the Bonneville Salt Flats. The engineering/design is in accordance with the SCTA, AMA and FIM sanctioning bodies’ requirements. Some features are that I machined the entire Vincent 666 out of 6061 Aluminum, and all components are mounted together with modular construction, no welds, no bends.
• What’s the story behind the bike’s nickname?
The engine is the the original Vincent production number #666 made in 1948 its entire serial# is F10AB/1/666.
• What’s it like to ride the finished machine? How’d it go at El Mirage and Bonneville?
So far I have a total of 14 minutes run time on it and it has proven to be a successful design. It already broke the Vintage class record at the ‘Bonneville World Finals’ last month in September. The average speed within the flying mile was 177.375, top speed at the end of the mile was 182mph.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
The frame design, the way it handles is important but I’m also very happy with the nitro burner Vincent engine I built particularly as this is the very first Vincent engine I have ever laid hands on and had the opportunity to apply what I’ve learned with other engines I’ve built previously to this engine.
I must give a big thank you to: All my sponsors, including Lowbrow Customs, Morris Magneto, Amal Carb Co – Burlen Fuel Systems, KpmUSA ‘Kibblewhite’, Klotz Oil, Coventry Spares, Pingel, RC Comp Series, Mooneyes, Web Camshafts, JRC Engineering Inc., CP Carrillo, Speed is Expensive, and Worldwide Bearings. My crew members this season, Mikey Hanrahan, James Salter of the SoCal Section, Chuck Null and Vanimal Manley. The SoCal Section of the VOC, Bill Hoddinott, David Dunfey, John Healy, Bryan Thompson, Mark Atkinson and thank you to my wife Jalika for your love and immeasurable support. It takes a lot of good people to make a project like this work and to ALL of you I am very grateful.
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All Photography: Chuck Null of CFN ImageWorks