A visitor to the site has kindly sent me two old photographs to forward to the Club’s archive – but they are too good not to feature here first! The photo above looks like a ‘works’ shot – but it’s the captions which intrigued me. It appears to have been displayed in an exhibition, and is captioned ‘Cyril Pullin’s 100 MPH Douglas‘. On the reverse, in pencil, someone has added ‘23rd March 1922 Brooklands 100.06 mph. 3.1/2 HP 494cc OHV Model S1, 68mm x 68mm. Les Bailey / Cyril Pullin. Cyril Pullin became chief designer.’
The S1 was, according to Mick Walker’s ‘Douglas – The Complete Story’, the star performer of the 1921 range. It was the first series production OHV model from Douglas and featured all-chain drive, a three-speed box, ‘efficient’ brakes and a ‘special heated induction system’ – possibly the sleeve and vertical pipe visible in the photograph, behind the carburettor? At £130, it was an expensive machine for the early 1920s.
But was this really the Brooklands racer? The mudguards, rear wheel with belt rim, rear stand and front number plate do not suggest a racing machine, yet the dropped bars and that impressive oil tank under the seat definitely do. More intriguingly, the front wheel is fitted with Douglas’ early disc brake with cable-operated aluminium caliper. But – the disc brake (more accurately, an inverted vee lined with friction material) did not appear until 1924, when it was fitted on the RW and RA models at the front and rear. At the rear, this machine is fitted with what looks like Douglas’ 8-inch servo-operated brake, which appeared on production machines in the middle of the decade.
So, I’m slightly puzzled by this ‘record breaker’! If you can shed any light on the story, please use the ‘Comment’ box below to let us know.