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Douglas Dragonfly For Sale (1957)
|Here we have a stunning Douglas Dragonfly in a beautiful Cream and Green colour |
first registered 5/7/1957
Vin/chassis/frame number 2485-6-2
Engine number 2485-61-2
This motorcycle has been totally rebuilt nut and bolt restoration and looks absolutely fabulous it was last owned for astonishing 21 years.
The Douglas has come from a private collection the engine starts superbly when kicked over into position this is a superb looking 350 Douglas Dragonfly from a true perfectness everything had to be spot on.
I have ridden this Douglas and it’s a fantastic motorcycle to ride there’s very few Douglas Dragonfly’s that come up in this kind of condition and surely has not to be missed.
The 350cc Dragonfly was the last bike built at the Kingswood factory, Bristol in 1955, as the company went into receivership soon after. It was also known as the Dart while in development and was based on the Mark V Douglas and an earlier 500 cc prototype.
Aiming to overcome the outdated image, designers were commissioned from the Reynolds Tube Company to develop a completely new open duplex frame of welded tubing, including a swinging arm with state of the art for the time Girling dampers and leading link front suspension.
The strengthened and streamlined 348 cc engine had a modern coil ignition, AC generator and distributor, with bolt-through cast iron cylinders and heads and pushrods made from Duralumin. Some 1,500 examples are said to have been produced.
This restored example, one of the last built was purchased by the late owner in 1996 and rebuilt soon after. It remains in excellent overall condition having been stored in a heated garage since. Supplied with a UK V5C logbook and owner’s handbook
The brothers William and Edwin Douglas founded the Douglas Engineering Company in Bristol in 1882. Initially doing blacksmith work, they progressed to foundry work.
Joseph F. Barter's Light Motors Ltd. was one of Douglas's customers. Barter built a single-cylinder bicycle engine between 1902 and 1904; he then developed the Fée bicycle engine system. The Fée's 200 cc flat-twin engine was mounted in-line with the frame, using chain drive to a countershaft beneath (with clutch); this then used a drive belt to power the bicycle's rear wheel. Barter founded Light Motors Ltd. to build the Fée system. Production began in 1905; the Fée's name was anglicized to Fairy shortly afterward. In 1916 The Motor Cycle magazine claimed that the 1904 Fée was the earliest flat-twin motorcycle engine, of which there had since been many copies. Douglas made castings for Light Motors and took over the manufacturing rights when Light Motors went out of business in 1907.
From 1907 a 350 cc Douglas version was on sale, similar to the Fairy with the engine in-line mounted high in the frame, but without the chain driven countershaft beneath, and with belt final drive. Around 1911 the frame was modified to make the engine lower, and in 1912 the automatic inlet valves were replaced by mechanically operated valves.
During World War I Douglas was a major motorcycle supplier, making around 70,000 motorcycles for military use. In a 1916 review of flat-twin engines in Motor Cycle magazine two models of Douglas engine are listed. The 2.75 hp (350cc) with 60.5mm bore and 60mm stroke, with the valves placed side-by-side on the side of the engine. The other engine was the 4 hp (544cc) flat twin of 72mm bore and 68mm stroke. One of the significant differences with this larger engine was the oil was carried in the sump and supplied by pump to bearings and cylinders. The sump had a glass window to inspect the oil level. The valves were placed side by side above the cylinders. A third engine was the Williamson Flat Twin made by Douglas with cyclecars in mind but produced for the Williamson Motor Company to use in their motor cycles since 1912. This was an 8 hp engine of 964cc, 85mm bore and 85mm stroke. Initially water cooled, from 1913 it was also available air-cooled.
In the 1920s Douglas built the first disc brakes, and had a Royal Warrant for the supply of motorcycles to the Princes, Albert and Henry.
Douglas motorcycles also became popular in dirt track racing. The 1923 RA model with disc brakes was favored initially and this prompted Douglas to build specific dirt track models. These motorcycle designs were gradually increased in size and power with 500 cc and 600 cc engines fitted to the DT5 and DT6 Dirt Track models in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The engines had hemispherical heads and a short rigid forged crankshaft. They dominated dirt track racing for about three years. In 1929, the most successful dirt racing year, 1,200 Dirt Track motorcycles were sold.
The Endeavour, a 494 cc (30.1 cu in) shaft drive model came out in 1934. This was again a flat-twin, but for the first time Douglas fitted it across the frame instead of in-line. Like other companies of the time, they were struggling, and attempting to diversify into other modes of transport. In 1935 they were taken over by BAC, Bond Aircraft and Engineering Company.
Motorcycle production continued into World War II and was extended to generators. In 1948, not long after the war, Douglas was in difficulty again and reduced its output to the 350 cc flat twin models. The first of these models designated the T35 was one of the first production motorcycles to be fitted with rear suspension (swinging arm) unique in that the spinging medium was a longitudinal torsion bar. The 1955 350 cc Douglas Dragonfly was the last model produced. The Westinghouse Brake and Signal Company Ltd bought Douglas out and production of Douglas Motorcycles ended in 1957.
Douglas continued to import Vespa scooters into the UK and later imported and assembled Gilera motorcycles.
Douglas gained significant attention in 1932–1933 when Robert Edison Fulton, Jr. became the first known man to circumnavigate the globe on a 6 hp Douglas twin fitted with automobile tyres. Fulton went on to write a book on his adventure titled "One Man Caravan".
Viewing by appointment only at Craner Classic Cars, The Gateway House, Nottingham
Please feel free to telephone any time as we don’t get a chance to answer all our emails.
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