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Dave

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Henry Body Collection Sale

Started by Doogle, 17 Feb 2024 at 00:12

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Doogle

Thought I'd post some info on news I've recently seen, the upcoming auction sale of the late Henry Body's bike collection.
To be held in Chippenham, Wiltshire, UK on Saturday 11th May 2024, auctioneers are Richard Edmonds Auctions. More info due soon.
(no links with myself but thought some may appreciate the early notice)

cardan

#1
Thanks Doogle - quite a collection of racy Douglases. My favourite is the deep-tank racer on the left, but I wonder how the auctioneers went when the catalogued it as it has been represented in the past as (in my opinion) something it isn't. https://www.douglasmotorcycles.net/index.php?topic=5444.msg33161#msg33161

Leon



Link to photo added - Dave, 18Feb2024

Dave

Alwyn posted a piece about Henry Body back in 2007.

Quote from: Alwynroychris alerted me to a story published yesterday by Western Daily Press Co.UK about Douglas sprint king Henry Body. Quoting from the article, Henry is described thus...
Quote"Henry Body is a daredevil aged 72 with health issues who regularly takes his Bristol-built Douglas from 1929 to motorbike meets. He cuts a quaint figure to the uninitiated. Among the crowds are some of the kind who are wont to smile and say "Ah, bless" and when they spot this slow-talking West Countryman with his worn black leathers and ancient steed they do just that. Then they see him in action, and all they can do is shake their heads in disbelief and mutter: "What the...?"

The whole story in .pdf format can be downloaded HERE. It's well worth reading. Thanks for pointing us to it Roy.

I did find a photo of Henry in the September/October 2005 issue of NCR and have taken the liberty of displaying it here.






Photo courtesy of London Douglas Motor Cycle Club magazine "The New Conrod"

cardan

The catalogue is online:

https://richardedmonds.atgportals.net/auctions/8900/ibri10106

Some very interesting Douglases, and a range of other unusual machines.

Leon

cardan

Has anyone been to have a look? As well as the bikes, there are some interesting boxes of bits...

Judging from some of the "unusual" bikes, Henry was a creative kind of guy.

Hope the 1935 "Bottomly" racer finds a good home. If it were in Australia I'd be bidding, but I'm not excited about moving another country's history half way around the world at this stage. It's a super bike, even if I don't understand it completely. (The engine number is 6/E20, and Clew lists 6/E, confusingly, as "600cc. sv engine D and E/33 model" which it clearly isn't. And presumably someone has added the doll's head gearbox.)

Leon

Dave


Doug

Quote from: cardanAnd presumably someone has added the doll's head gearbox.

Interestingly, the gearbox is 'the real deal'. A box with integral positive-stop change mechanism made by Sturmey-Archer specifically for the Douglas Works racers and not a modified Norton 'dollshead' Sturmey-Archer gearbox as seen fitted to many sprinters. However my understanding is these gearboxes were made for the 1934 (or perhaps '35) season to retrofit to the earlier frames. If I remember correctly, after 1932 the factory just kept recycling the  frames for the Works team verses building entirely new machines. And then when they ceased direct factory entities, to the Works bikes that they lent out to select privateers.

-Doug

Dave


cardan

Quote from: Doug on 10 May 2024 at 19:54
Quote from: cardanAnd presumably someone has added the doll's head gearbox.

Interestingly, the gearbox is 'the real deal'. A box with integral positive-stop change mechanism made by Sturmey-Archer specifically for the Douglas Works racers and not a modified Norton 'dollshead' Sturmey-Archer gearbox as seen fitted to many sprinters. However my understanding is these gearboxes were made for the 1934 (or perhaps '35) season to retrofit to the earlier frames. If I remember correctly, after 1932 the factory just kept recycling the  frames for the Works team verses building entirely new machines. And then when they ceased direct factory entities, to the Works bikes that they lent out to select privateers.

Yes that is interesting - if SA built these boxes for Douglas there can't have been more than a handful! Is any of the other "doll's head looking" boxes on Henry's bikes and spares an original box? The ones I've seen in Australia are modified from Norton-style by welding the mounting lug on.

The date is surely c1935. I notice that the carburettors are AMAL 15TT34 (1934 pattern). I can date the magneto if someone can get the stamped serial number. Looks like a fairly original bike - I went through all the old photos I could find and it doesn't seem to appear on the grass track racing scene in the 1950s? Wonder where it spent its life.

Leon

EW-Ron

On the face of it, thats an interesting statement ?
Sturmey Archer were defunct (1932 ?) before the "dolls head" box was introduced (1934).
Design revisions by Norton, actually manufactured by Burmans of Lee Bank Works in Brum.

But obviously someone was doing that case with mounts suitable for a Douglas.
Brough Superior must have had a not so dissimilar arrangement ??

cardan

Norton v Douglas. Not much in it, and everything in the Body collection has one! If the casings are cast rather than welded, someone must have done it...

Leon

EW-Ron

Be interesting to see the gears inside, wouldn't it ?
All marked with their regular Norton numbers ??

My money is on Burmans/Norton supplying them to special order.
SA had quite a successful business supplying engines/gearboxes to all and sundry,
be difficult to imagine that just stopped dead in its tracks.
Might even have just been an ongoing order ...

cardan

I assume the internals of all the boxes were the same - you could get close and wide ratio gears alongside the standard configuration, different length main shafts etc. Attached is a c1932 list of the more common gearbox shells SA were selling; presumably there were others like the boxes for the 1932 TT Douglases. I suppose there is a SA historian out there somewhere who might know the details of when gearbox manufacture was handed over to AJS, Matchless, Norton et al. but I have no real ideal. However, as I noted above, if someone made special dolls head cases to fit Douglas racers of the mid 1930s it must have been in very small (tiny?) quantities. And with Douglas in such a precarious financial state from 1932-on, hard to imagine it being a commercial proposition.

Leon

Doug

The gearboxes in Henry's sprinters were modified Norton dollshead 'boxes with mounting bosses welded on. I do not recall Henry having provisions for welding alloy, so likely had someone do them for him. I do recall a comment that you needed to fit the mount very tightly to the case to avoid bridging large gaps and pulling the case out of true with the contracting weld fillet. I believe that statement was relative, as I would think welding around such a large pad on one side of the case would distort it no matter how carefully fitted. Just a matter of what your personal engineering tolerances are, I suppose. Plenty have done it and run it, but the bearings likely have a shorter life depending on how much distortion there is. Ideally one would bore out and sleeve the bearing housings after any welding and stress reliving. I have not heard of anyone bothering to do that.

-Doug

eddie

#14
When I built my sprinter, welding the plate to the side of the dollshead gearbox caused the casing to crack between the mainshaft and layshaft bearing housings. Being left with the option of buying another complete gearbox or buying a billet of alloy, I decided to machine up a new casing. I ended up machining the main casing plus a closing/mounting plate for the selector cam - then getting them welded together after all the machining had been completed - see attached photo!

   Regards,
                 Eddie.

cardan

The highest complement: "Just like a bought one!"

Leon

EW-Ron

Indeed - wow !

Quote from: eddie on 12 May 2024 at 09:30
crack between the mainshaft and layshaft bearing housings.

Nortons have long had that potential problem, even with normal use.
Check carefully when buying anything - and the hairline crack can be near invisible.

Its not clear (to me anyway) how much of a problem this may be ?
Some must be in happy service with this, if it shows on later inspection ??
Any don't show as having any spinning bearings ???

graeme

I had a look at the auction results - wow, some real bargains there! Even the sprinters sold pretty cheap, and many of the other machines sold really cheap. Portent of things to come I think, as prices of even expensive machines are dropping substantially now

cardan

If they are indeed the prices paid, it's pretty thought provoking. The asking price for old bikes in Australia is still very high, but I'm not sure what people are actually paying.

Did anyone go to the auction?

Leon

Alan

 Not just bikes ! I know people trying to sell a range of muscle and classic British cars. Prices dropping like a lead balloon and I'm sure Shannon's saw this coming, one reason why they have sadly closed their auction room.
Price drops understandable in someways, how much have your insurance policies or your weekly food bill increased ?

Dave

We do have some pretty significant factors affecting the market at the moment. We have a generation retiring from motorcycling/collecting which brings lots of machines onto the market. Second is the global economic climate with high inflation and high levels of uncertainty for the world economy. So people have less disposable income and tend to hold back on new purchases that aren't essentials.

When put together, both the supply and demand sides of the equation are combining to push prices down. This may be a greater than usual downmove than would happen if just one side of the equation were affected. In five to ten years time, both these factors may have passed and things may be totally different.