Tuesday, April 01, 2014

ROYAL ENFIELD BUYS VINCENT!

It would appear the historic Vincent-HRD marque is hurtling towards India!
In shocking news today, it appears Eicher Motors Limited, owners of the Royal Enfield brand, have claimed Vincent-HRD as their own, and plan to manufacture new Vincents in one year.  A bit of back story: Matt Holder of Birmingham purchased the names and rights of the Royal Enfield, Velocette, Scott, and Vincent-HRD marques at their bankruptcy sales, over the decades-long decay of the British motorcycle industry from the 1950s-70s.  The Holder family, with their HQ in a former Triumph warehouse in Meriden (the last Triumph factory building still standing), have kept these machines on the road by their continued manufacture and distribution of spares. When Enfield India, which had been selling 'Enfields' since it licensed the Bullet design in the 1950s, decided it would prefer it's 'Royal' back in 1994, they snookered the Holder family out of the right to the Royal Enfield name, using a team of lawyers to argue, successfully, that the Holders weren't actually trading under the Royal Enfield name.  Hence, Royal Enfields are now made in India: read the court decision here.
The latest model Bullet from Royal Enfield, the 2015 'Sideburner', co-designed with Gary Inman of Sideburn magazine, and Nico Sclater of Ornamental Conifer, who is rumored to have already moved to Madras to head up Cosmetics at Eicher Motors Ltd.
Now, the ever-growing Madras factory, owned by Eicher Motors Ltd, has reached across the waters to Birmingham once again, claiming the name 'Vincent-HRD' as its own, and announcing its intentions to produce a new V-Twin to rival all others.
Siddhartha Lal, MD of Eicher Motors Ltd, and now the Vincent marque
Siddhartha Lal, the Managing Director of Eicher Motors Ltd, explained, "the only reason to revive the Vincent marque, with all its amazing history and legendary riders like Rollie Free, is to make the fastest motorcycle in the world, once again.  We have the money, the design talent, and the facilities to do just that.  Our in-house industrial designers got their degrees at MIT and Cal Tech, and have come up with the latest generation of engines and chassis, which we will reveal in one year; April 1st, 2015, and the all-new the Vincent Black Rapier."
In a Vintagent.com exclusive, I can reveal that the new Vincent Black Rapier will be based on the remarkable Bernard Li design of 1994, using a supercharged engine co-designed by Lamborghini.
(thanks to the Egli-Vincent.com for alerting me to this startling news)

20 comments:

Rob D. said...

You had me cursing every lawyer's name there for a minute...

The Vintagent said...

Why stop now, Rob? Haha...
Actually, the story of 'Royal' Enfield is 100% accurate - click the link to the court filing - it's all too real.

Capion mc said...

Mort de rire! Bravo

pguyony said...

Well done ! Philippe

GuitarSlinger said...

Good god ... you fell for this as well ? The major clue its a hoax being that Madra/Redtich owns Royal Enfield ... not Eicher

Sheesh ! Even a couple of VOC members fell for it until the facts came to the fore . Got to admit though ... that Egli - Vincent site fellow sure did a mighty fine job o' snookering everybody !

Indian built or god forbid owned Vincents . May hell freeze over first

The Vintagent said...

Wow, you mean it's not true, Guitarslinger?

Dave Smith said...

When I toured the Enfield factory I asked why they don't build a twin. They proudly said Enfields are completely unchanged "just like Harley Davidson".

David said...

Enfields are still beautiful, manly, military designed. What a sad end for the Vincent, to look so fay and ovestated.

David B. said...

And if it is true, then how cheeky of him to try and make money in the motorcycle business and even do so in conformance with law. I'm shocked.

WhitelinePsycho said...

You've become quite adept at this April Fools Day caper Paul . . .

David Blasco said...

I am not a lawyer, but reading the decision causes me to recall my general understanding that, to retain rights to a name, you have to use it. No Royal Enfield motorcycle was or had been manufactured under that name in England for quite some time when the Indian company could say, in effect, that it is and had been making what recognizably are Royal Enfield motorcycles the whole time. Had the decision gone the other way, presumably, someone could have bought up the name and begun selling any sort of thing under the name. It was smart of Eicher to head off that possibility but it doesn't make them evil. Just my three cents. Disclosure: I own a RE made in India, I blog about them, and I am a fan.

Davidabl said...

Yet another 4/1 hoax could have been to photoshop a second exhaust onto this and to claim it was the new Enfield parallel twin.

The Vintagent said...

David, the key to a good hoax is enough truth in the mix, and as you note, the story of 'Royal' and the Holder family is 100% true - the link to the court's conclusion is real.

Holders owned the name and have been selling Royal Enfield spares for decades, but under the 'Velocette Motorcycle Co' banner. This was the opening Enfield India needed, and David Holder lost the court battle over 'Royal'.

The 'Vincent' name, also owned by the Holders, is similarly vulnerable, although I'm sure (or hope!) they've taken steps to create new companies to protect the names paterfamilias Matt Holder purchased decades ago.

Having said all that, it would have been far less shitty of Eicher Motors to have bought/licensed the 'Royal', instead of the money they spent on lawyers!

David Blasco said...

Paul, no need to post this (unless you want to) but I was going to add, yes, it would have been more palatable for Royal Enfield to have purchased the name but you have the answer right there in the suit: offering to pay implies you don't already have the right to the name. It weakens your position. If it had bought, RE might someday have been in the position of defending what it had bought, the value of which it actively questioned. Again, I'm no lawyer. Just my reading of it.

Anonymous said...

That "Sideburner" may be suspect. Would a carb bike be legal in the US or the EU?

Anonymous said...

Holder has licensed a clothing company in Glasgow to produce t shirts and so on for Velocette. Good for them as it brings a range of modern gear to a wide audience. Good for Eicher for taking up the baton and moving ahead aggressively to market real motorcycle products rather than merchandise. I am sure both visions can co-exist. As a former Velo clubman owner and a Bullet efi owner I love em all, so more mileage to their individual plans.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I could think of no company better suited produce Vincent Motorcycles than Eicher/RE.

The rumour mill clearly has them working on a twin and this would make it a star overnight.

Charles Statman said...

first, Enfield DID make a twin.
http://www.realclassic.co.uk/royal_enfield_500_twin.html

second, nut cases have made twins - http://www.bikeexif.com/royal-enfield-v-twin

moriniboy said...

"reached across the waters to Birmingham" er dont you mean Stevenage with Vincents?

The Vintagent said...

@Moriniboy, no, the Holders are located near Birmingham - Vincent the brand left Stevenage in 1955(?) or so, and was purchased by Matt Holder, as mentioned.