Author Topic: Help Me Identify Two (Probably) Douglas Bikes  (Read 5718 times)

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Offline JethroNull

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Help Me Identify Two (Probably) Douglas Bikes
« on: 18 Aug 2010 at 03:26 »
Hi, I am edging towards an identification of two bikes from old photos of my dad's.  Over at vintagebike.co.uk a helpful chap identified the younger of the two as "possibly" a E29 600cc.  Having looked at the many photos on this site I am sure he's right, or very close.  But I see a few things that look a bit out of place.  For one the kickstand seems to be in an entirely different place and there is a circular section on engine not seen in most of the E29 pics.  I know my dad was an unstoppable tinkerer so he may have 'improved' a few things.  My dad was very interested in dirt bikes and the Manx TT so he may have been trying for some extra performance in his bikes.

The older bike may have been my dad's or my grandfather's and I am not sure what that is, but still looks Douglasy.

Any help is appreciated.



« Last Edit: 24 Aug 2010 at 10:51 by Dave »

Offline Chris

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Re: Help Me Identify Two (Probably) Douglas Bikes
« Reply #1 on: 18 Aug 2010 at 06:00 »
The front forks of the earlier machine do look like Douglas veteran forks and the saddle is a type fitted by Douglas but Douglas did not produce a single cylinder engine like this. The gear change lever and kickstart lever are both reminiscent of those used by Sturmey Archer and it may well be a Sturmey Archer gearbox. Perhaps someone will recognise the quite distinctive engine and the frame shape which appears to taper between the top tubes with the petrol tank matching the shape. Chris.

Offline eddie

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Re: Help Me Identify Two (Probably) Douglas Bikes
« Reply #2 on: 18 Aug 2010 at 06:06 »
Jethro,
            The Douglas is a later model than the E29 - most likely an A31. The round cover on the engine is a BTH pancake dynamo, which was standard fitment for that year. Also, by that time the rear stand had been superceded by a centre stand. the petrol tank also looks to have the tartan surrounds to the side panels (which narrows it down to 1931 or 1932). There is actually an A31 listed in the LDMCC machine register with the registration number RV 2289 (a misprint, perhaps?)
                            Regards,
                                      Eddie.

Offline JethroNull

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Re: Help Me Identify Two (Probably) Douglas Bikes
« Reply #3 on: 18 Aug 2010 at 18:50 »
Thanks Chris.  It could be that the older bike is a Heinz 57 and the latter, when he could afford something better, the real deal.  I'd be really interested if anyone can shed further light on the older one.

Thanks Eddie.  What you say about later bikes having re-positioned kick-stand and the pancake dynamo makes a lot of sense.  From what little I've read, Douglas were getting into increasing business difficulties around this time and started putting out a lot of models with minor changes but very short runs.  This wonderful website lists the A31 but has no pictures.  I Googled and found these two links:

http://www.kynoch-douglas-parts.com/html/wanted/main/douglas%20parts%20wanted.htm
http://classic-motorbikes.net/gallery~douglas-classic-motorcycles

They look very close and both mention 350cc so is that likely the capacity of my dad's?  Would this bike have been purely a road bike or did it have amateur dirt/race pretensions?  I should explain that my dad's pre-war life is a bit of a mystery to me and my sister, but I believe he did have a strong love of motorbikes and racing and might have been competitive.  During the war he was a Spitfire mechanic, and later turned is petrol head to sports cars.

With very small build numbers for these bikes it does seem like more than a coincidence that the RV2289 is indeed a misprint.  That's exciting.  If I get in contact with LDMCC are they likely to be able to tell me anymore than you have? 

Chris, Eddie, thank you for your help.  I'm very glad I asked and am getting more and more interested in these machines.

Offline eddie

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Re: Help Me Identify Two (Probably) Douglas Bikes
« Reply #4 on: 18 Aug 2010 at 20:51 »
You can make contact with the LDMCC via their website (www.douglasmotorcycles.co.uk)  Your message will then be passed on to the Registrar who will contact the owner of the bike to get permission to put you in direct contact.
This way, we can put interested parties in contact without jeopardising an owner's security.
                 Regards,
                             Eddie.           

Offline Doug

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Re: Help Me Identify Two (Probably) Douglas Bikes
« Reply #5 on: 19 Aug 2010 at 00:40 »
Jethro,

The second bike is a 1931 350cc B31 model Douglas. This had the oil contained in a large cast aluminum sump under the engine, where as the A31 saved a little weight by having the oil in a compartment of the petrol tank. The B31 first was introduced in 1929, gained a center stand as the H3/L3 models of 1930, and the distinctive tartan border to the petrol tank panels in 1931.  The following year it became dry sump like the A31. So in this particular case it is possible to narrow it down to a specific model and year. It looks to have lost its rear parcel carrier, probably to make room for the pillion saddle. Otherwise it looks to be quite stock.

-Doug

Offline JethroNull

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Re: Help Me Identify Two (Probably) Douglas Bikes
« Reply #6 on: 19 Aug 2010 at 00:48 »
Doug,

Wow, that is a very detailed and confident answer.  So now I know exactly what it is, thank you!


Offline JethroNull

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Re: Help Me Identify Two (Probably) Douglas Bikes
« Reply #7 on: 23 Aug 2010 at 16:11 »
I just uncovered another picture of one of my dad's bikes.  I apologize in advance because I suspect it's not a Douglas, but being that it was owned about the same time and by an owner of two other  Douglas' I am hoping that you guys might also have an interest in whatever this is:

« Last Edit: 24 Aug 2010 at 10:51 by Dave »

Offline TonyC

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Re: Help Me Identify Two (Probably) Douglas Bikes
« Reply #8 on: 23 Aug 2010 at 19:36 »
Hi Jethro,

This one is a 1920`s  Rex Acme

Regards Tony

Offline JethroNull

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Re: Help Me Identify Two (Probably) Douglas Bikes
« Reply #9 on: 23 Aug 2010 at 20:59 »
Thanks Tony.  I quick Google-about suggests that was quite a sport bike and now a rare thing.  Is there likely to have been any connection between the Douglas and the Rex Acme?  I can't find a reference to a Rex Acme Club, could you/anyone suggest where I might go to find more info?

 

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