1931/32 Douglas 750cc Works Racing Sidecar Outfit
The 1930's were difficult times for Douglas for although the company had achieved massive success and publicity in its dirt track racing days this was not having the desired impact on sales of production models. 1931 was the year of the 'tartan tank' models and this works outfit is presented in that livery. It is believed to be one of just three examples of this works model built and thought to be Jack Douglas's own machine. Jack had of course enjoyed particular success in dirt track racing, notably at the Bristol track. Cyril Pullin campaigned a 746cc sidecar outfit and the Bury brothers were to campaign one of these machines with great success, Ted Bury steering winning the Syston Championship in 1931, the Mountain Mile Grand Prix organised by the Sydenham Club in 1932 and going on to be placed well in many road races until late in the 1930s. The 750cc racer featured Douglas forks, Sturmey-Archer gearbox to Douglas's order, a bronze crankcase for extra strength with cylinder barrels spigotted and ground in, and distinctive exhaust porting. The model also featured highly effective 9" servo-assisted brakes and a two-section fuel tank while the sidecar was cleverly hinged for easy access to the engine.
The Douglas racing fraternity is a small and select group and this machine passed through the hands of Dr Joe Bailey and Len Cole before its acquisition, in fully dismantled state, by renowned Douglas collector Colin Clifford in the late 1960s or very early '70s. By one of those amazing coincidences, the sidecar was located in Bristol at a later date and reunited with the machine. A painstaking restoration followed, returning the machine as closely as possible to original works specification and presentation. This is believed to be the only complete works outfit surviving, although the whereabouts of the remains of one other is known.
The outfit was purchased by the current owner in October 2007 when Colin Clifford's collection of important Douglas motorcycles was auctioned at Bonhams' Stafford sale (Lot 366) and since acquisition has been on display in his private museum. The customary safety checks and re-commissioning are recommended before use.
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