1936 Douglas 500cc Endeavour  Frame no. AA189 Engine no. S/J186

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Lot 539
1936 Douglas 500cc Endeavour
Registration no. CLF 187 Frame no. AA189 Engine no. S/J186

Sold for £ 9,890 (US$ 13,363) inc. premium
1936 Douglas 500cc Endeavour
Registration no. CLF 187
Frame no. AA189
Engine no. S/J186
Eddie Withers and Jack Clapham in the Douglas Experimental Department developed the all-new Endeavour, despite a little management resistance to an all-new model at a time of financial constraints within the company. The Endeavour was radical in every way, the Douglas tradition being broken in that the twin cylinder, side-valve engine was mounted transversely for the first time in a specially adapted frame. Shaft drive was an up-to-the-minute feature but the Endeavour retained hand gear-change because of accessibility design problems with foot change. Final drive was through a four-speed gearbox. The contemporary Douglas catalogue described the Endeavour as ‘The motorcycle of the age, a masterpiece on two wheels, car practice employed throughout, silent, safe, light, luxurious. The last word in engineering practice and design’ and the new model retailed at a not inexpensive £72/10s. Sales were slow and only a handful of Endeavours (variously quoted between 50 and 200) were built, stock remnants finally being discounted and sold through Pride & Clarke Ltd. in London for £49/10s.

One of the rarest of all surviving Douglas’s, this machine was acquired by the present owner in 1963 who rode it to work and to court his various girlfriends. During the last 44 years, this bike has been owned alternately and occasionally by the present owner and that great Douglas exponent, Colin Clifford. It has been held in great affection as a trusty stead by both parties. The bike appears to be to original specification in all major respects and, although not used actively in recent years, passed its MoT test in September this year. It will benefit from gentle recommissioning following a rest period and comes with old buff and green log books and a Swansea V5C registration document, (recorded incorrectly in the V5C as a Vespa Douglas Scooter). It also comes with interesting documentation relating to the model and a copy of a contemporary sales catalogue. (A similar machine sold at The Geeson Collection sale in March 2003 for £14,500).

Footnotes

  • An early pre-war owner of this machine was Brian Frank, later to become a noted collector and restorer of early bikes.
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