Beginning 1988 to 1989

Beginning 1988 to 1989

The How's, When's, and Why's that inspired me to start the Black Lightning Project are a bit vague. I guess it all started at the drag strips with my Vincent powered machines. They always seemed to make lots of horsepower, and usually could beat the multitude of competing Harley Davidsons.

When I read about Dave Campos piloting the Easy Rider, and taking the record from my old friend Don Vesco in 1989, I began to wonder what a couple of blown Vincents could do to the record. So here's my story of that quest.

Never having seen a motorcycle streamliner with it's pants off, I thought, "How hard can this be?". If only I'd known, I probably wouldn't be preparing Black Lightning for the 7th time to attempt to set the World Motorcycle Land Speed Record with two supercharged Vincent engines at the Bub All Motorcycle Meet in September of 2007.

First, I had to figure out how I was going to couple the engines together, how I was going to start it, and how I was going to supercharge it.

The engines would be built with an attached starter, as I felt weight would not be a factor. I selected a Ford starter, as the flywheel was relatively small in diameter, and a Weiand roots supercharger built for small block Chevy street motors with a swept volume of 144 cubic inches, which should give 2000 cc's enough boost to do the job.

The supercharger turned the wrong direction, so modification ensued to make the thing work. A belt drive with all the hardware, i.e., shafts with bearing housing, pulleys, and a ten V groove flat belt, was selected. With that done, I built the hat or injector throttle body from an old two port injector by Hilborn for use on top of 4- and 6-71 G.M.C. blowers. The thing was cut in half, using only one of the throttle bodies. Next step was to lay out the engine cases on the work bench to determine how small I could make the power plant. From talking to Don Vesco, I learned that the smaller you could make the frontal area, the faster you're going to go.

A lot of welding on the cases ensued. I made plates to couple the beasts together, designed motor mounts and so forth.