Sunday, August 19, 2012


A rare Cees Fick Vincent.

After I took part in the 11th Annual Diomage Sidecar Rally  Toon van Houtert stopped by LBS Sidecars the following week for a coffee and a chat, I was interested in how the Diomage Sidecar Run got started with the MC de Kleppenjagers 11 years ago.
So in the course of conversation he asked me about the Indian decals on my panniers, and as my Indian story was unfolding he mentioned that a friend of his, Mart, has a couple of old Indians, and 'he has a Vincent too'.

Oohh, a Vinnie, when can I go over there and.......

The next morning we're over at Mart's having coffee (coffee is a ritual here, nearly every business has it's own little coffee bar) and we make our way back into his small narrow railroad workshop and garage that house his 3 bikes, a 1921 Indian Scout, a 1930 Indian Scout, and back in the corner, tucked behind Mart's Indian Scout, there she was......
 ...the Cees Fick Vincent.

I never heard of Cees (pronounced Kees, the C in Dutch is pronounced like a K) Fick before now, so I wasn't aware about the history of the bikes he built, but from my research and what little information is out there he apparently was quite a decent builder.

The only picture of Cees Fick I could find.

Mart had the article written about him in the November 1970 issue of the Dutch Motor magazine, but unfortunately I don't speak Dutch, so I enlisted my friend Coby to read and translate the article for me. Thank you Coby.
However, most of the article focuses of the technical specs of how he built the Vincents and what he did to lighten up parts etc., not much about Cees himself, so this article is what I was able to piece together from the translation and from some other research.

Cees was from a village called Mill in the Netherlands and had a sock manufacturing business. Motorcycles were his hobby.
How he ended up getting at auction a box of parts and 3 Vincent engines from the estate of the recently deceased Jan Hanlo is a story unto itself, so I will give the highlights, if you can call them that.

 Jan Hanlo (1912-1969) was a dutch poet who, apart from being a schizophrenic,  an artist, a poet and a homosexual pedophile was also an avid motorcyclist and a big Vincent fan, owning 3 or 4 of them, a Black Lightning and a Black Rapide being one of them, the Rapide was the one he died on in a motorcycle accident in 1969.

Hanlo was an interesting but very troubled man, he grew up in a privileged environment in the south of Holland, hence being able to afford 3 or 4 Vincent's, briefly contemplated a movie career and founded the Valkenburg department of the Catholic Film Front in the 1930's.
 In 1938, an accident with his motorcycle causing the death of a villager weighed heavily on his mind and was the main incentive for him to leave Valkenburg.

He left Valkenburg and lived in Amsterdam where he studied psychology, but could not finish as he was transported to Germany and forced to work for the Germans during the war.
After Berlin, he started working as an English teacher at a secretary school and his more than casual interest in young boys, coupled with his artistic, social and sexual problems ended up with him being admitted to a psychiatric institute.
Pedophilia was not well known among social workers, so he was all to easily classified as a homosexual. Although he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, he was treated as a sexual offender and was probably castrated in a psychiatric institution.
In the 50's he moved back to Valkenburg to care for his beloved ailing mother after a few stints in some other institutions.

In 1962 Hanlo is imprisoned for a month due to his contacts with a 15-year-old-boy. In 1968 he got a restraining order against him due to a complaint filed against him by the parents of a paper delivery boy. These, and other humiliating experiences alienated him from the Netherlands and in the spring of 1969 found him on a trip to Morocco.
In Marrakech he fell in love, or lust, with a 13 year old boy, took him back with him to the Netherlands and tried to adopt him.
The Dutch authorities didn't accept the adoption and sent Mohamed back to his native country. 

A week later Hanlo was killed in a motorcycle accident when he hit a tractor that suddenly changed direction in front of him.

When news of his death spread throughout the Vincent Owners community there was quite a bit of interest in the Vincent's that he owned, one now wrecked from the accident that killed him.
There was an auction, and from what I can gather, Cees secured the winning write in bid by 1 Dutch Gilder (the Euro wasn't in existence in the 70's) coming in at 5,501 Gilders.

So Cees got himself 3 motors and 1 box of parts from which he made 4 running Vincents.

Nearly everything except the frame and motors Cees Fick built himself, and even the engines were thoroughly gone over by Cees, lightning and rebuilding them stronger.
The whole bike, with oil, but without gas weighed in at 148 kilos, or 326 lbs.
For comparison, a Vincent Black Lightning, the non street legal factory race Vincent with magnesium alloy race components, solo seat and aluminum fenders weighed in at 380lbs, a full 54lbs heavier, so Cees shaved off another 54lbs off the curb weight.

Homemade aluminum brake calipers on homemade aluminum caliper struts in front of Italian Ceriani front forks.

I hope you enjoyed this post from the Netherlands.

Next up will be pictures of the final assembly of my BMW Sidecar conversion and the trip to the EGT European Sidecar Show in Weiswampach, Luxembourg, where it will show for the first time and be on display on the LBS Sidecars stand for the weekend. If you're in the area please stop by and say hi.



Anonymous said...

Having my own Rapide,
I love anything Vincent :-))))))))))


Anonymous said...

I posted this blog link to the VOC forum site and the VOC Facebook site.
Hope thats OK

Anonymous said...

Dear Murph,
I don't know if you will read this or not but I want to tell you that I would be very pleased to meet you. Accordingly to this web site you should be in Sweden already. I live in Gävle, a town at 98 miles NNW from Stockholm. If you will be passing through this town please reply to this message. I wish you all of the best!

Unknown said...

Hi anon, no, I have not yet left for Sweden, I leave for Denmark on Sept 20th, and I am taking my time getting there, going through Berlin first. Send me an email to and we can communicate there.


ihrsq said...

Great post Murph. I follow your travels but had not seen this. I am on AMCA's Facebook page and there was a photo of a hybrid rolling basket case with a Norton Featherbed frame, Ceriani forks, HD bottom end, XLCH mag and Matchless top end. Someone commented, "Oh that's a Cees Ficks build." Then I searched and found the Murph blog entry. Thanks for the archeology Murph. Heres the link to the pick on FB

Mike Love
Olney, MD USA

Unknown said...

Hey Mike, glad you enjoyed the post.