Thursday, 18 November 2010

Original 1929 Douglas Dirt-Track Bikes for sale

The OldTimeSpeedway group has just highlighted these incredible and totally original 1929 Douglas dirt track bikes for sale. They were originally sold at Sotheby's in Australia in April 2010 and it looks like they're both up for grabs again. I've pasted in the original description from the Sotheby's catalogue which really brings the bikes to life.
1929 Douglas DT6 600cc 
Manchester born Reg Hunt came to Australia in 1949. His Grandfather, notable speedway and Isle of Man champion Pa Cowley and his daughter Dot being an integral part of speedway and dirt track track racing world in the UK between the Wars. Reg first rode the 600cc bike (lot 104) when he was 9 years old, then raced it at Charnock Richard near Manchester when he was 14 years old. He had lied about his age to the race officials saying he was 17 in order to get the entry. He won that race. This was the beginning of his extraordinary life in motor racing achieving a spectacular career in hill climbing, trials and in Grand Prix Racing becoming a household name in Australian sporting history.

The two motor cycles offered are dear to Reg’s heart having been with him since the 1960s when he acquired the two Douglas machines in the UK bringing them back to Australia where he and his son Graham have enjoyed club level racing together.
 Douglas DT5 speedway bike
The Douglas Motor Cycle Company founded in Bristol, England in 1907, was at the forefront of innovative design right through to the 1950s. Its first success at the Isle of Man came in 1912 with Bill Bashall winning the ‘Junior TT’ at 39.65 mph. In 1920 Douglas introduced over head valves for racing bikes but the real technical advances came in the winter of 1922-23 when the Douglas designers, urged on by the famous Brooklands’ race, Freddie Dixon, introduced many major changes. The most significant change perhaps, being the now famous dropped frame providing many advantages for the TT machines and the yet to come dirt trackers. Most new TT models were also fitted with a front disc brake designed by the British Research Association, which also led to a model being called an R.A.

With this style of Douglas bike Tom Sheard won the 1923 500 TT, and Freddie Dixon won the first Sidecar TT, his machine also being fitted with a revolutionary banking side car. Many more TT and G.P. road racing successes followed, but it was in the new sport of “Cinders” or dirt track racing that the Douglas motor bikes really excelled. The low weight of the Douglas (approx 250 lbs) and low centre of gravity made this bike the machine to have. Ridden by stars such as Australian, Vic Huxley and the great American showman, “Sprouts” Elder, the Douglas dominated the world circuits in Australia, America, Argentina and England.

The Douglas is a machine held in such reverence amongst the cognoscenti that they rarely become available on the open market and more often than not most change hands between private collectors
The Douglas DT5 that may have been ridden by Lloyd "Sprouts" Elder
 Reg Hunt purchased the 500cc ‘Cinders’ dirt track bike on the understanding that it had once belonged to Sprouts Elder himself, distinctive by its silver frame a Signature of Sprouts’ bikes. It is highly original and in its dirt track form. The Ex-Pa Cowley 600cc Douglas has been fitted with alloy rims, Amal concentric Carbs and front drum brakes for road use. This engine was put together by Colin Clifford and Len Cole in England 20 years ago and has not been used since.

The same auction also had a Douglas DT5 Long-Stroke engine for sale. The engine was originally used on a 1929 dirt track bike and bears the engine number EL1013
1929 Douglas DT5 Long-Stroke Engine


  1. I am continually amazed at the stuff you find to post up here.

  2. Hey Travis - It's just a load of stuff I like so I'm glad you enjoy it too... and thanks for stopping by.


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Whitehaven, Cumbria, United Kingdom
Disenchanted City Boy who rode out of the fast lane and into the back lanes! Life on Two Wheels is so much fun.