Bonhams motorcycle auction at the Bicester Heritage Centre on the 14th and 15th of August includes a pair of machines to tempt the Douglas enthusiast! The first is described as a 1925 Douglas 596cc RA Model OB, while the second is a 1928 Douglas 500cc RA/DT Racing Special, fitted with Douglas’ innovative disc brake. Both machines appear to be in excellent order. More information about the machines is available on Bonhams website www.bonhams.com and viewing is possible from Wednesday 12th, by appointment.
People have always built ‘specials’. Sometimes in a bid to create superbikes, like the Tritons and Norvins of the 1960s, or for sheer quirkiness, like the friend who removed the front downtubes of a featherbed frame and replaced them with a 600 Panther engine, complete with home-made megaphone! In earlier times, it was often a case of ‘needs must’ – rebuilding an engine could be more expensive than finding something else that could be made to fit and would do the job.
For lovers of mechanical ingenuity, however, the appeal of specials often trumps elegance, practicality – and usually, cost! If you want to join the ranks of special owners, with much of the hard work already done, this Austin Seven-engined Douglas S6, currently for sale on the ‘Car and Classic’ website, could be the answer. The future owner can be sure of two things – no-one will have one like it, and the words “What is it?” will follow them everywhere!
Dirt Track Dougies were fast bikes in their day, and are still impressive performers 90 years later. The gear ratios offered by the factory, however, were never well suited to road use; over-geared or under-geared, they either went like a rocket up to 50mph or had such a tall first gear that they were hard to get off the line. Club member Roger Harrison email@example.com believes there are DT models around today that are not getting the use they should because of this, so he is producing new gear sets offering more practical ratios. The new gear sets will be available later this year – more details in the next issue of New Conrod magazine, which should be hitting your door mats shortly.
The Douglas Bantam is a fairly rare bird, with maybe twenty known to the Club. This 1933 example had been off the road since 1965, according to the old tax disc, but was largely complete and mechanically sound. The sheet metal bodywork had suffered, however, and new leg shields and toolbox had to be manufactured. This beautifully restored example, recently completed, is a credit to the skills and patience of one of our Cornish members. You can read more about the 150cc 2-stroke Bantams on the 1930s Models page.