Dance of the Dragonfly

Although the 1949 Douglas Mk.3 Sports looked purposeful with its upswept pipes, the power output of its 348cc engine remained at a moderate 22bhp. A top speed of 85mph was claimed for some sports models.

Founded by brothers William and Edwin in the 1880s, the business started as a blacksmith’s shop, before becoming an ironfounders, and by 1905 the Douglas Engineering Company was building a prototype Joseph Barter-designed engine that was developed into the Fairy motorcycle in 1907.

The first of Douglas’s legendary 2.75hp horizontally opposed engines followed soon afterwards, and while the firm was preoccupied by wartime production, these were developed into 3.5 and 4hp models.

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Until the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the roaring Twenties were a golden age for the Bristol firm, with an expanding range of motorcycles including the 350cc EW, 500cc and 600ss models, and successes in road racing and speedway, but the family decided to sell the business in 1931.

Douglas’s fame was built upon its legendary fore-and-aft flat twins and its huge contribution to the 1914-18 war effort. The marque reached the height of its achievement in the 1920s and early 30s.

Founded by brothers William and Edwin in the 1880s, the business started as a blacksmith’s shop, before becoming an ironfounders, and by 1905 the Douglas Engineering Company was building a prototype Joseph Barter-designed engine that was developed into the Fairy motorcycle in 1907.

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The first of Douglas’s legendary 2.75hp horizontally opposed engines followed soon afterwards, and while the firm was preoccupied by wartime production, these were developed into 3.5 and 4hp models.

Until the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the roaring Twenties were a golden age for the Bristol firm, with an expanding range of motorcycles including the 350cc EW, 500cc and 600ss models, and successes in road racing and speedway, but the family decided to sell the business in 1931.

Read more in this month’s edition of Old Bike Mart
 

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