How Philip Conrad Vincent Became a Pioneer Entrepreneur

Philip Conrad Vincent was a British entrepreneur who was born on March 14, 1908 in Fulham, United Kingdom. As a motorcycle designer and founder of Vincent Motorcycles, he is now considered a pioneer in the motorcycle industry.

Philip Conrad Vincent
Philip Conrad Vincent (Photo Credit: SheffieldHoop)

Philip Conrad Vincent was the son of a wealthy Argentinian cattle rancher. As a young student at Cambridge, his studies were distracted by his preoccupation with motorcycles. At age 18, he produced his own design after quitting school with the blessing of his father who actually financed his design. In 1928, he obtained a patent for his diamond-shaped motorcycle with his twin-spring, friction-damped cantilever rear suspension. That same year, he founded the Vincent HRD Co., Ltd. after acquiring the debt-ridden Howard R Davies (HRD) marque including the trademark, goodwill, and some spare parts left.

In 1935, Philip Conrad Vincent launched the first Vincent motorcycle model, the 499 cc Comet model, using his own designed engine. It went on to develop other models. During the Second World War, the company’s facilities were converted to the production of armaments. After the war, motorcycle production resumed and export to the United States began. To avoid confusion with Harley-Davidson’s logo, the HRD was dropped from its own logo. In 1948, the Vincent-H.R.D Owner’s Club was formed and further innovative designs came off the company’s gate, some of them became a must-have for motorcycle racers and other enthusiasts.

In the early 1950s, the company encountered financial difficulties. Philip worked doggedly to make the business survived but it did not last very long and the company was sold in 1960. He turned to journalism, writing several magazine articles about what he loved the most: motorcycles.

Philip Conrad Vincent died in 1979 at the age of 71. He had one daughter with his wife Elfrida whom he married in 1953.


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