1953 Douglas Mark V
Frame no. 121895
Engine no. 101215
During a 50-year production run that lasted from 1907 to 1957, the Bristol-based Douglas family produced unique motorcycles with horizontally opposed cylinders, early on with the two pistons situated fore and aft. So reliable and well-respected were the machines that in World War I British armed forces purchased some 70,000 Douglas motorbikes. The company did its part in the next World War as well, this time providing stationary 350cc electrical generators, again with their two cylinders facing each other, boxer-style. It's reported that a Douglas generator was responsible for providing electricity for Prime Minister Winston Churchill's wartime summit alongside the Sphinx in Egypt.
With the war over, the generator motor was repurposed as a motorcycle powerplant, this time with its cylinders situated left and right, jutting into the cooling breeze a la BMW. While this was a quick way of getting back into civilian production, the engine, designed for steady-state droning, would need some recalibration for bike use. This came in 1949 in the form of the Mark III, with redesigned cylinders, combustion chambers and pistons. This was followed by the Mark V, produced from 1951-54.
Larry Lattin's Mark V also displays the model's other innovative features. At a time when most other makes had rigid frames, Douglas was running a unique torsion-bar rear suspension. Up front there's the company's "Radiadraulic" oil-damped forks, a compact leading-link setup. Douglas was pretty proud of their machine and made no bones about, as this brochure entry clearly shows: "The Mark V represents one of the most highly developed models in the industry and has no rival for the motorcyclist who needs efficiency, comfort, reliability and perfect road-holding. A twin is best and Douglas is the best twin."
A selection of Douglas manuals is included in this sale.
- Please note that the title for this motorcycle is in transit