Author Topic: Douglas OB at Stafford auction  (Read 317 times)

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Offline douggie S1

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Douglas OB at Stafford auction
« on: 18 Mar 2020 at 12:53 »
Hi there,
I have just seen a Douglas OB being up for auction at the Bonhams Stafford sale in April. Engine number is OE129, frame number is 5759/3. Is there anybody out there who can tell me, if this is a genuine OB? The engine number looks strange to me....
Thanks a lot
Christian, Kiel, Germany

Offline cardan

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Re: Douglas OB at Stafford auction
« Reply #1 on: 18 Mar 2020 at 21:58 »
https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/26111/preview_lot/5357657/

"1925 Douglas 596cc RA Model OB"

"The Model OB offered here has larger brakes than the standard production version, which may indicate that it was specially built as a 'works' machine."

I tire of the nonsense Bonhams - and other auction houses - post in their descriptions. There is nothing even slightly RA about this bike. Nothing "Works".

The bike has some nice bits, and I think would be best described as a "racy Douglas Special". Presumably the frame is OB, but I don't know where they've found the number they quote.

Cheers

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Douglas OB at Stafford auction
« Reply #2 on: 20 Mar 2020 at 04:12 »
but I don't know where they've found the number they quote.

In fact you can read the frame number in one of the photos. The OB frame number was usually on the other side of the frame lug, and was HF followed by three digits.

Perhaps the original frame number was lost when the seat lug was "racerised" by removing the original seat mount bar.

The major modification to the frame seems to be the change in rear axle lugs to suit the drum-brake wheel, rather than the simple OB setup.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Douglas OB at Stafford auction
« Reply #3 on: 21 Mar 2020 at 01:56 »
Some more of my favourite parts from the Bonhams description:

"Originally used for off-road racing". I bet it wasn't. There was almost no "off road racing" (read dirt track?) in Australia in 1925, and certainly not in the UK.

"Capitalising on the RA's success, Douglas marketed it as the 'IOM Model', claiming that it was identical with the TT- winning machine." True, they did.
"The first standard production versions of the RA were launched at the Olympia Show in October 1923 designated OB/24 (596cc) and OE/24 (346cc.)." No. The first standard production version of the RA was the RA/24, which truly was (almost) "identical to the TT-winning machine". However the OB and OW were the touring models, using different engine, different gearbox, different frame, different fork, different saddle, different wheels, different brakes. They were both OHV Douglases, but there was scarcely a component in common.

"We are advised by the private vendor that it was originally used for off-road racing before being modified for road use with mudguards and road tyres." Perhaps they were so advised. This expression is one of the weasel-words (weasel-expressions?) often used in advertising. "We are advised...", "It is said...", "It is reputed..." ... all phrases to watch out for. I think I could state with some certainty that "Every OB in Australia finished its life as a dirt track racer", but with equal certainty "No OB started its life as a dirt track racer".

"Accompanying documentation consists of a Douglas Club dating letter..." No doubt, but let's not read too much into this. The main part of the engine seems to be OB, likely 1924-5, as is the main part of the frame, so there's no problem dating it to around this period. I'm not sure how the Douglas Club handles later parts in a dating latter, but perhaps it mentions the later rear axle lugs, later brakes, later gearbox, later airbox, later twin carburettors (probably 1928 AMACs) and so on.

It's a lovely-looking bike, and it would be fun to own and ride, but as a "vintage Douglas Special" rather than a "1925 Douglas 596cc RA Model OB ... Originally used for off-road racing" which is it not.

Cheers

Leon