2. Vincent

Rollie Free Salt Flats

“As your attorney I advise you to buy a motorcycle.”
“No way,” I said. “Where can we get hold of a Vincent Black Shadow?”
“What’s that?”
“A fantastic bike,” I said. “The new model is something like two thousand cubic inches, developing two hundred brake-horsepower at four thousand revolutions per minute on a magnesium frame with two styrofoam seats and a total curb weight of exactly two hundred pounds.”
“That sounds about right for this gig,” he said.
Hunter S. Thompson
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Thompson embellished for sure, but so were many of the legends surrounding the Vincent brand inflated back in its mid-20th-century heyday. Vincent was, in fact, the fastest production motorcycle in the world for a spell, showcased above in one of motorcycling’s most iconic images. But the fate of Vincent came all too fast when in 1955 Philip Vincent announced the closing of the factory. There was an attempt by Bernard Li who, after acquiring the Vincent trademark, tried resurrecting the brand using a Honda RC51 V-Twin, but sadly Li died in a single-bike accident in 2008.