Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1921 Douglas 10.5hp Tourer Frame no. 322 (see text) Engine no. 322

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Lot 237
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1921 Douglas 10.5hp Tourer
Registration no. MA 571 Frame no. 322 (see text) Engine no. 322

Sold for £ 29,900 (US$ 41,534) inc. premium
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection
1921 Douglas 10.5hp Tourer
Registration no. MA 571
Frame no. 322 (see text)
Engine no. 322
• Believed to be the sole surviving Douglas car
• Previously owned by Lt Col 'Tiny' Ayres
• Restored prior to acquisition by the Museum
• Ideal for participation in the VCC's 'Creepy Crawly Run'

The vehicle offered here is believed to be the sole surviving Douglas car. The Bristol firm's first interest in four-wheeled vehicles was sparked by the upsurge in popularity of cyclecars: small, relatively crude, lightweight two-seaters often powered by motorcycle engines. Douglas's first effort emerged just before WWI and made use of the water-cooled, horizontally opposed, twin-cylinder engine that Douglas was manufacturing for the Williamson motorcycle. Rated at 8hp, the engine was mounted transversely in the chassis and drove the rear wheels via an integral three-speed gearbox and shaft drive, making the Douglas a relatively advanced cyclecar for the period. A 'V'-shaped radiator was a prominent feature, and the Douglas carried a streamlined open two-seater body with convertible hood. A selling price of £100 had been the target, but when production commenced this had risen to £160 (£175 with C.A.V. electric lighting). Plans to increase cyclecar output were thwarted by the outbreak of war.

When civilian production recommenced in 1919 the Douglas car emerged with several changes, the most significant of which was the adoption of a new 1,224cc engine, broadly similar in specification to the Williamson unit rated at 10.5hp, which was equipped with a self-starter. The patented A.F.S. suspension system was adopted at the rear, necessitating changes to the channel-section chassis. The Douglas was now priced at £450 (rolling chassis) plus £50-75 depending on the type of body ordered, of which there were three: 2/3-seater; dickey seat; and a four-seater. Tested by The Light Car and Cycle Car magazine, a 10.5hp Douglas acquitted itself well on a demandingly hilly course around Box Hill on the South Downs. Maximum speed was around 40mph. Unfortunately for Douglas, their quality product was unable to compete with rival motor manufacturers in the cut-throat cyclecar market and production ceased in 1922.

'MA 571' previously belonged to the late Lt Col Anthony John 'Tiny' Ayers, a stalwart and former Chairman of the Sunbeam Motor Cycle Club and organiser of the Pioneer Run from 1982 to 1997. Already restored to its present condition when purchased by the Museum in 2004, the Douglas would be ideal for participation in the VCC's 'Creepy Crawly Run' and other such events. The car is offered with a V5C document recording the chassis number as '322'; however, the number had not been located at time of cataloguing. The car's mechanical condition is not known; accordingly, prospective purchasers must satisfy themselves with regard to its condition, completeness, correctness, or otherwise prior to bidding.

Footnotes

  • As with all Lots in the Sale, this Lot is sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness, and originality prior to bidding.

Saleroom notices

  • Unfortunately the car does not qualify for the VCC's Creepy Crawly Run as it dates from after 1919. Since the sale catalogue went to press we have received further information regarding the history of the Douglas. London Douglas Motorcycle Club membership records show that Tiny Ayres joined the Club in November 1970 and was the car's owner then. Recorded at that time as undergoing restoration, 'MA 571' had previously belonged, from circa 1948, to Edwin Rich, who many years later wrote a fascinating letter to the Club's magazine recalling his ownership (copy available). The Douglas had been registered originally in Cheshire, which is where Mr Rich purchased it (via a column by Bill Boddy in Motor Sport). An online search has unearthed an old black-and-white photograph of 'MA 571' competing in a road event with a moustachioed driver at the wheel, almost certainly Mr Rich. The May/June 1983 edition of the LDMC's magazine featured two photographs of the Douglas as a part-restored rolling chassis. It is understood that when the restoration had been completed, Tiny Ayres found he was unable to drive the Douglas comfortably, and the car was driven on only one occasion (by Ian Hatton of Verralls) before its acquisition by the NMM in 2004. Bonhams would like to thank Mr Leonard Boydell, Registrar of the LDMC, for his help and research into the car's history. Please click the link to view the walkaround video of Lot 237: click here
Contacts
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1921 Douglas 10.5hp Tourer Frame no. 322 (see text) Engine no. 322
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1921 Douglas 10.5hp Tourer Frame no. 322 (see text) Engine no. 322
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1921 Douglas 10.5hp Tourer Frame no. 322 (see text) Engine no. 322
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1921 Douglas 10.5hp Tourer Frame no. 322 (see text) Engine no. 322
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1921 Douglas 10.5hp Tourer Frame no. 322 (see text) Engine no. 322
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1921 Douglas 10.5hp Tourer Frame no. 322 (see text) Engine no. 322
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1921 Douglas 10.5hp Tourer Frame no. 322 (see text) Engine no. 322
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1921 Douglas 10.5hp Tourer Frame no. 322 (see text) Engine no. 322
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1921 Douglas 10.5hp Tourer Frame no. 322 (see text) Engine no. 322
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1921 Douglas 10.5hp Tourer Frame no. 322 (see text) Engine no. 322
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1921 Douglas 10.5hp Tourer Frame no. 322 (see text) Engine no. 322
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1921 Douglas 10.5hp Tourer Frame no. 322 (see text) Engine no. 322
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1921 Douglas 10.5hp Tourer Frame no. 322 (see text) Engine no. 322
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1921 Douglas 10.5hp Tourer Frame no. 322 (see text) Engine no. 322
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1921 Douglas 10.5hp Tourer Frame no. 322 (see text) Engine no. 322
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1921 Douglas 10.5hp Tourer Frame no. 322 (see text) Engine no. 322
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Memorabilia and Spares
For Memorabilia and Spares (Lots 1-123) the Buyer's Premium is 27.5% on the first £10,000 of the hammer price 25% on the excess of £10,001 and up to £450,000 of the hammer price 20% on the excess of £450,001 and up to £4,500,000 of the hammer price 14.5% on the excess of £4,500,001.

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