When Cees Fick has built his first Vincent Café Racer, the Dutch workshop had already a few specials to its credit, all installed in a Norton Featherbed rolling frame. For the first one, Cees Fick used the Ariel 1000 Square Four powerplant and installed it in a Norton frame, a combination that is commonly called Noriel. The second one was more exotic as the engine was a car: a 1000cc 3 cylinders originally made by Lloyd (1), and the third one was also an interesting and original blend using a Harley Davidson WLA 45 with transplanted \Matchless cylinder heads.
Then came the opportunity to buy on auction, three Vincent engines and a box of parts belonging to the controversial Dutch Poet Jan Hanlo, who died in a crash in 1969. Hanlo was a big Vincent fan, owning a Black Lightning and a Rapide on which he had his fatal accident (2). From all these parts, Cees Fick had assembled 4 engines and 4 Café Racers.
As his first three specials used the Norton Featherbed frame, logically Cees Fick’s first Vincent Special had to be a Norvin. However for following one, Cees Fick showed more originality as he designed a dedicated rear frame section supporting seat and fender, which was bolted to the stock UFM (Upper Frame Member) while the swinging arm was anchored classically to the Vincent engine. As anyone would expect, the Girdraulic was replaced by a telescopic model from Ceriani with a 200 mm Grimeca 4-cams. The net weight was reported to be 148 kg (326 Lbs), although this number can clearly be questionable as very low.
Increased handling capabilities had to be peered with a Black Lightning specification and said to provide 70hp at 5,600 rpm. The Vincent clutch was simply replaced with a contemporary Honda CB 450 clutch, and a coil-battery combo replaced the magneto. It is likely this machine that was featured in several European Motorcycle Magazines (3), although a few details differ between the bikes presented herewith.
If you do some research on Cees Fick, you will also find that he “invented” the hybrid Harley-Matchless mentioned earlier, converting a war horse, widely available in military surplus, into a more noble side valve engine. This recipe made him famous, and as he built a few of them for Choppers, he also inspired many more who did the conversion themselves.
Philippe Guyony © 2014
(1) Information reported in a French Magazine in 1970 by Coen Verburg, however I did not find trace of such engine.
(2) November, 6 1970 issue of the Dutch Motor magazine
(3) Including Motors, a Dutch magazine and Coen Verburg in a French magazine that I just have copy with no the mention of the title.
Hi, I was lucky to purchase one of Cees Ficks Vincents in the early 70’s. It was based on the Rapide engine.A great machine but with some difficulties. Starting it was an ordeal because of the higher pistons fitted. Also, it tended to spit back into the carburettors blowing the thing from its rubber mounts. They were Honda CB450 carbs. Cees was a lovely and unassuming person. He showed us around the stocking factory he ran with his brother. Cees looked after the machinery while his brother managed the running of it. One day we went to the factory to collect a part for the Vincent. Cees arrived a bit late riding a Honda 500-4. Hey, what happened to the great classic meastro? In typical fashion he replied, oh well, you have to keep withe times.
Hi, the Harley/Matchless engine created by Cees Fick is not a sidevalve anymore but an overheadvalve engine,
as shown by the long pushrod covers and the inspection caps in the cylinderheads!
Thank you for the edition, it is indeed a OHV engine as the Matchless, I will edit to make this point clear.