Author Topic: 1923 RA outfit chassis  (Read 653 times)

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Offline martin1

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1923 RA outfit chassis
« on: 20 Feb 2020 at 14:53 »
Hello,

I have recently acquired a new project, an RA with a special frame built for sidecar racing. ( see photo attached )

The second photo attached shows the 1923 RA from Freddie Dixon ( number 55 ). Does anyone have a photo
showing this combination from the same side. I am wondering if my frame is similar to the frame shown on this photo.

Many thanks and regards to the Douglas community - again, an excellent forum.

Martin

« Last Edit: 21 Feb 2020 at 07:39 by martin1 »

Offline EW-Ron

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Re: 1923 RA outfit chassis
« Reply #1 on: 21 Feb 2020 at 01:52 »
Its looking rather similar, isn't it.
Nice...

https://cybermotorcycle.com/gallery/douglas-1920s/images/Douglas-1923-RA-SCA-01.jpg

https://cybermotorcycle.com/gallery/douglas-1925/images/Douglas-1925-Model-RA-IOM.jpg

I don't know whats going on with these links - and I see Doug has tried to improve them.
If I copy-and-paste them into a new browser page, they work fine - for me.
« Last Edit: 21 Feb 2020 at 04:42 by EW-Ron »

Offline cardan

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Re: 1923 RA outfit chassis
« Reply #2 on: 21 Feb 2020 at 04:16 »
Hi Martin,

Interesting RA. Do you have a list of unusual features of the frame? I can see a number of weird things - the widening of the frame behind the engine mounts, the way that the "arch" of the frame (under the saddle) bends to the rear before it joins the chain stays (to avoid the sidecar mounts?), the large sidecar lug under the seat, and the slightly unusual top and bottom steering head lugs. Are there other weird things? Doug has a lot of detail on the evolution of the RA frame (see the thread about RAs in Australia in the Racing part of the forum), but I don't think any of these features are on his list!

Is it a DF frame prefix? I wonder if it was a 500 or 600 originally?

Ron I couldn't get your links to work.

I'll start peering at the photos in my RA file.

Cheers

Leon

Offline martin1

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Re: 1923 RA outfit chassis
« Reply #3 on: 21 Feb 2020 at 07:46 »
Hello Leon,

I have added a few more photos. The frame number is EF103 but I think it was restamped at some point since the lugs
where heavily corroded. The 2 top tubes where replaced even they look rusty but you will see this on the soldering.
I think the front part of the frame is pretty much standard RA.

Looking forward to hear from you

Martin

Offline cardan

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Re: 1923 RA outfit chassis
« Reply #4 on: 21 Feb 2020 at 12:06 »
Hi Martin,

Funny that there are so many photos of the Dixon outfit from the sidecar side, but almost none from the other side. A good challenge!

I found this photo in David Mason's book "Freddie Dixon". The caption says it shows "the famous Dixon banking sidecar outfit in later years". I wonder if it doesn't show something in Bob Thomas's shed... in which case the bike is not Dixon's 1923 TT RA.

In the book it says a plate was brazed onto the rear of the frame on the Dixon machine for the rear attachment point - perhaps something like the rear fitting on your frame.

EF103 would be a good frame number for a 1923-ish 600 RA? DF for the 500, EF for the 600, and FF for the 350.

Cheers

Leon

Offline hoejmark

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Re: 1923 RA outfit chassis
« Reply #5 on: 21 Feb 2020 at 18:12 »
Hi Martin and Leon
In 2007 I visited the IOM GP with some friends, and there we got the opportunity to visit the Milntown House to have a look at Bob Thomas' Vauxhall motorcycle. We also had the luck, that Freddie Dixons famous banking sidecar Douglas outfit Nr. 55 were present in Bob Thomas' shed, and as far as I remember, it was on show there from The National Motor Museum on the occasion of the Douglas and the IOM -TT centenary that year. I was told, that the Douglas itself was the original one, but the sidecar body was a replica. I happily accepted the offer to try-out the feeling of sitting in these famous seats and to operate the hand levers and I was totally unable to tear off the smile on my face.
Perhaps the attached photos may give some inspiration to the project.

Regards Hoejmark

Offline Doug

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Re: 1923 RA outfit chassis
« Reply #6 on: 21 Feb 2020 at 21:06 »
Hoejmark,

The banking sidecar chassis is from the the original Dixon outfit on long-term loan from the Beaulieu Motor Museum. The body, as you say, is a replica. The motorcycle is a 'standard' RA modified to look like Dixon's machine, but is not the one Dixon rode. I believe Bob Thomas imported the RA (FE20) from New Zealand and the replica was completed in 1973.

Given that the garage block has been torn down and replaced with rental cottages, I don't know if the outfit is in storage or returned to Beaulieu Motor Museum for display. The bike suffered a bottom big end failure in 2015 (I think) and requires a new crankshaft.

-Doug

Offline Doug

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Re: 1923 RA outfit chassis
« Reply #7 on: 21 Feb 2020 at 22:46 »
Quote from: Leon
...and the slightly unusual top and bottom steering head lugs.

I have seen this chassis several times, and never noticed that!

This would be the 'normal' RA head stock, 1924-26-ish:



And as subsequently used on the DT and early F/G31 models.

Then this is what the Tom Sheard 1923 Senior TT winner head stock looks like. A known bike from 1923.:



However, this head stock looks like this:



Which might help identify it in period photos, if a clear enough view can be had.

-Doug

Offline cardan

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Re: 1923 RA outfit chassis
« Reply #8 on: 22 Feb 2020 at 07:45 »

"If a clear enough view can be had..."

Mmm.... I reckon I've found 30+ different period photos of the sidecar side of the Dixon combination, but I'm yet to find one decent photo of the motorcycle side.

Maybe one. Here's a photo (Motor Cycle, 28 June 1923) that SAYS it's Dixon's bike, but I'm not so sure. Freddie used foot boards on almost every bike he raced, but this photo shows what looks to be a standard RA with footrests. Did Dixon use foot boards on No. 55 in 1923? Certainly Freddie's 1924 Senior TT entry was a solo RA fitted with foot boards.

If the photo caption is correct, Freddie's frame was standard RA (with a brazed-on plate for the rear mount).

By the way, the capacity limit of the 1923 Sidecar TT was 600cc, and Freddie's bike was said to be this size.

Cheers

Leon

Offline martin1

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Re: 1923 RA outfit chassis
« Reply #9 on: 22 Feb 2020 at 11:58 »
Hello Leon,

I have now taken a shot from the frame in nearly the same perspective as in the photo I had. ( I wonder where this photo is from....)
and converted it to black/white.

It is a lot of guessing in this but one can see the vertical tube bending backward and the bottom tube continuing to the motor tubes.

All the best

Martin


Offline Doug

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Re: 1923 RA outfit chassis
« Reply #10 on: 22 Feb 2020 at 16:02 »
That reminds me that I have "The Story of the Douglas and the T.T. 1923", a promotional booket put out by Douglas. Quite a few pictures of the cycle side of the outfit, unfortunately all quite small and poor half-tone images that yielded no clues. Perversely the larger images are the well know perspectives from the sidecar side.

However you can see that Dixon forwent his preference for foot boards and used foot pegs in the race. Perhaps the foot boards interfered with the sidecar somehow. There were two other sidecars entered besides F.W. Dixon (#55), D.H. Davidson (#56), and F.T. Hatton (#52). Places were1st, 4th, and 6th respectively.

-Doug

Offline cardan

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Re: 1923 RA outfit chassis
« Reply #11 on: 22 Feb 2020 at 20:58 »
The sidecar was so much more interesting than the bike!

One of the small pics in the 1923 "Story of Douglas and the TT" booklet shows Davidson's (non-banking) sidecar entry in action. Again hard to see much, but there is a centre stand. I think you can also just make out the stand in the bottom right corner of the Dixon photo above.

The mods in the middle of Martin's frame seem to rule out fitting the centre stand?

Also - correct me if I'm wrong - I think the banking sidecar in 1923 TT form didn't have any kind of stay up to the saddle lug. Thus modifying the frame to include a heavy sidecar attachment point at the saddle lug would have been unnecessary for the banking sidecar?

A lot of this waffle could be avoided if we had even one decent photo from the bike side!!!

But what fun...

Leon

 

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