1950 Douglas 350cc Mark 3 Competition Trials
Registration no. KOV 103
Frame no. 9074
Engine no. 9074
Douglas did things differently! Indeed, located at Kingswood (Bristol), the West Country firm were always regarded as somewhat "outside" the prevailing culture of the larger manufacturers in the Midlands or London. This reflected in the post war model range inasmuch Douglas was the sole factory producing a 350cc "flat" twin, quite apart from a highly unconventional suspension system! Different they may have been, yet at one point the post war Douglas was acknowledged as Britain's fastest 350; just one of the reasons these unusual machines attracted such a wide following. On the sporting side the 90 Plus model aurally enhanced the road-racing scene, if usually playing second fiddle behind BSA's Gold Star and/or Norton's International! It was in 1949 that Douglas boldly entered the hotly contested trials arena. The trials version employed a "rigidified" rear end, its frame altered to produce increased ground clearance. It was also fitted with the correctly sized trials tyres, alloy 'guards, and an upswept 2-into-1 exhaust system. Although David Tye and Ted Brefitt were included within the factory team it is fair to say the machine was better suited to ISDT or enduro type events than to one-day Observation Trials, where its obtrusive cylinders and an inability of the ultra smooth engine to deliver sufficient grip under muddy conditions were bound to prove a handicap. (David Tye for instance famously once suffered a completely detached cylinder in a rocky north of England trial!) It is believed that barely 150 Competition models were produced in total.
Purchased by the vendor almost exactly ten years ago the machine has subsequently remained untouched, and un-ridden, but stored alongside a selection of historic cars and motorcycles in a temperature controlled motor house. According to the buff RF 60A Log Book the Competition model Douglas has had but three owners during its 60-year lifetime. Originally supplied to a gentleman in Plymouth by the Birmingham branch of Kings Motors (Oxford) Ltd in September 1950, it was next sold to a Cornish enthusiast in 1959. Within the accompanying file there is no evidence that the bike was ever used for trials, although according to a notebook chronicling various replacement items and the accumulating mileage it was certainly used on the road until 1966, since when it appears to have been laid up for the next twenty years. Beginning in 1988 the Douglas then underwent an extensive refurbishment, confirmed by a sheaf of supplier correspondence and invoices. The result of that work has somehow given this rare machine its cared-for appearance. Supplied with the aforesaid bills and V5C.
- Frame number: 9074/C
Engine number: 9074/C