Author Topic: WW1 motorcycle production figures ?  (Read 942 times)

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Offline friday

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WW1 motorcycle production figures ?
« on: 23 Jan 2017 at 00:46 »
Hi , new guy
I dont have a douglas but am interested in all old stuff . Ive got HD and a 25 scout project , slowly getting parts , basic chassis .

Im curious of the actual production Douglas figure of WW1 ???

Indian 1917 - 19 and HD 1919 - 23 copied the Douglas 2-3/4 hp . WW1 was 1914 - 18 , USA didnt join in the fun until just about closing time . 

Ive seen different prouction figures for all 3 brands but without a doubt , then Giants , HD and Indian would have to take notice as it could indicate a new trend in future engine configuration .

HDs Vee began in 1909 , Indians Vee began in 1907  so the Vee design was only new , its only today we see a long history .
then along comes BMW  copies the Douglas and they still make flat twins
It obviously worked for BMW but not HD and Indian


Offline cardan

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Re: WW1 motorcycle production figures ?
« Reply #1 on: 24 Jan 2017 at 08:26 »

I think production was 30,000+, but at the end of the war there were only 18,315 on the books. Quite a few lost.

It wasn't only the Americans that thought the flat twin would be a good idea. At the end of the war and into the 1920s there were quite a few British efforts: Humber, ABC, Raleigh, Bradbury, Brough, Williamson... Funny that Douglas and BMW stuck with it.

Leon

Offline Doug

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Re: WW1 motorcycle production figures ?
« Reply #2 on: 24 Jan 2017 at 16:14 »
I am thinking about 23,500; derived by counting half the serial numbers for 1914 and on through all of 1918. As a rough estimate and rounding off. I do not know if all the numbers in between were assigned, or if they were shared with the Douglas generator sets that used a similar engine.

Douglas purchased back large lots of surplus ex-military Douglases (damaged or sound), cannibalized and refurbished them, and sold them in the post-war market! Old William was a canny Scot!

-Doug

Offline cardan

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Re: WW1 motorcycle production figures ?
« Reply #3 on: 24 Jan 2017 at 21:20 »

I think you're close Doug: funnily I can't find a number in any of the books to hand, even Douglas books. A couple suggested "about 25,000".

My ridiculously precise number comes a fascinating table in the Olyslager Auto Library book "Motorcycle to 1945". It clearly comes form an official source as it lists the complete inventory of motorcycles and sidecars in possession of the British Armed Forces at the Armistice in 1918.

For the record, the Douglas figures are: Overseas: 9,515, At home: 8,800, Total in service: 18,315, including 13,477 2 3/4 hp solo and 4,816 4-hp combinations.

The total number of Triumphs was 17,998.

Leon

Offline Hutch

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Re: WW1 motorcycle production figures ?
« Reply #4 on: 24 Jan 2017 at 22:16 »
I think the number of 25,000 came from Douglas themselves as stated in their "Peace program" brochure of 1920. Douglas were still selling to the public in the early years of the war and along with the number of dispatch riders who signed up with their own bikes in 1914 it would be hard to work out an exact number I would think. I don't think Doug's number would be far off the mark so I would guess somewhere between 23,500 and 25,000.

I did read somewhere what the number of bikes in the original order to Douglas at the start of the war, that might be a clue. i will see if I can find it.

Cheers

Ian

Offline Hutch

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Re: WW1 motorcycle production figures ?
« Reply #5 on: 24 Jan 2017 at 23:47 »
Douglas Advert just after start of WW1

Offline Hutch

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Re: WW1 motorcycle production figures ?
« Reply #6 on: 24 Jan 2017 at 23:52 »
....Interesting the reference to only horizontally opposed cylinders being acceptable for twins!. Might have had a bearing on the development of similar engine configurations by other manufacturers?

Cheers

Ian

Offline Hutch

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Re: WW1 motorcycle production figures ?
« Reply #7 on: 25 Jan 2017 at 00:08 »
Just found what might be the earliest order from the War Office to Douglas for 90 bikes in 1914? (under "Quick Delivery)

Offline friday

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Re: WW1 motorcycle production figures ?
« Reply #8 on: 25 Jan 2017 at 08:08 »
thanks for replies .
Hard  to say but with Douglas peace program stating 25000+ thts gotta be close to the mark.

with all the positive reviews of douglas , HD and Indian would have to see the 2 3/4 as an eye opener .

1912 douglas won Isle o man jnr , the year before , 1911 Indian won snr = a historical moment so to keep seeing and hearing douglas name , the yanks would have to consider the design a possible sign of the future .

when that peace program was printed and released BMW had their M2B15 built in 1920 then the R32 in 1923 ....airheads until 1995 !!

but any ways , the HD and Indian production figures are again here n there . seeing original print material is undeniable evidence
Ive seen Indian was equal to Douglas , then Ive seen double  :shock:

.....its the internet



 

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