This is the most famous photo in motorcycling history. Rollie Free lying prone along the back spine of a borrowed Vincent HRD Black Lightning with the seat removed. The original photo was taken in 1948 from a speeding car as Free broke the land speed record by going 150 mph across the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
Free had developed his famous ‘whatever it takes’ riding style in an effort to minimize wind resistance. When his leathers tore in earlier runs, he discarded them and made this final winning attempt wearing only a bathing suit, shower cap and a pair of sneakers. The result was history...
The Rollie Free Framed Print is a high quality, digitally restored reproduction with a sepia tone for that extra-vintage look (frame size: 11"×14", image size: 7.5"×9.5").
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Customer Reviews (3)
- The ManReview by Wrongway
- What can I say, it's Rollie Free in a nice frame for the man cave! These great framed prints of the man himself were in such high demand that they went on back order. Well after quite awhile I received the print and the glass was broken, BUMMER! But not after I called and talked to customer service. No questions asked, only apologies and we will get another one out to you right away along with a prepaid return authorization! Way to go Aerostitch! Great customer service!! Thanks (Posted on 12/26/15)
- Rollie Free photpReview by sannic
My partner always wanted this picture and he just loves it.
Great customer service from Aerostitch as I am in Australia and found them a pleasure to deal with.
Arrived in perfect condition.
Thanks (Posted on 2/27/12)
- Rollie Free ForeverReview by Jody
- I have wanted this photo ever since I saw it listed on aerostich.com. I have always thought of it as a pure expression of the spirit of motorcycling. After hanging the photo, I have been surprised at how many non-riders expressed interest in it, and were eager to hear of the details behind the shot. Wikipedia is a useful source of background details on that particular photograph and on Rollie Free's career. (Posted on 9/15/11)
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Some Rollie Free History
The bike in the photo is the first Vincent HRD Black Lightning, not the first Vincent HRD. The Vincent Rollie Free rode was the 900th post WW2 Vincent made, at least its sequential number is 900. It is a technically a Black Shadow (the model number having a “B” in it, F10AB/1B/900), but many consider it the “Black Lightning” prototype. Subsequent Black Lightnings have a model number with the letter “C” in it. The famous bathing suit photo wasn't published in “Life”, but a photo of Free riding flat out in his leathers taken from an airplane was published in Life. This ‘bathing suit’ photo became the most famous one, though.
Below is a photo of Rollie and the bike at Bonneville. John Edgar, the owner of the bike is on the left. The other photo is of a young man on the bike after it was converted to street use.