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Lot 455: 1914 Douglas 3.5hp

Collectors' Motorcycles, Bonhams (16 October 2005)

The Bristol-based Douglas Foundry took up motorcycle production in 1907 with a machine powered by a horizontally-opposed, twin-cylinder engine, and the company would keep faith with this layout until it ceased motorcycle production in 1957. Fore-and-aft installation made for a slim machine with a low centre of gravity, and the designís virtues were soon demonstrated in competition, Douglas machines taking first, second and fourth places in the 1912 Junior TT in the Isle of Man. Douglas were quick to realise the advantages of the countershaft gearbox, its three-speed entries gaining the Team Prize in the 1914 Six Days Trial, a conspicuous success which resulted in the firm obtaining a wartime contract for the supply of military machines.

Having established an unrivalled reputation for excellence with a succession of 2.75hp (350cc) models, Douglas announced an entirely new 3.5hp (500cc) model towards the end of 1913. The engineís design closely followed that of the smaller Douglas, though the valves were now placed above the cylinders and the crankcase extended downwards to incorporate a deep sump. In addition, a welcome improvement had been made to the gearbox mounting, greatly facilitating tensioning of the primary chain. Sold in considerably smaller numbers than the contemporary 2.75hp model, the 3.5hp Douglas is consequently much rarer today.

Believed restored around 1970, this rare 3.5hp veteran Douglas is listed in the machine register of the London Douglas Motorcycle Club (no. 263). Recently rediscovered after a long period out of use, it will, therefore, require re-commissioning before returning to the road. It should be noted that that the Swansea V5 registration document has been mislaid; however, we are advised that the machine is listed with the DVLA and that its registration should be recoverable.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motorcycles
Bonhams, Classic & Motorcycle Mechanics Show, Stafford
TypeMotorcycle
Lot Number455
Estimate£6000-£7000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£5800
Hammer Price (inc premium)£6670
Year1914
Condition rating
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number
Engine number1352
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors