Douglas SW5 motorcycle c1930

c1930-32 Douglas SW5 motorcycle

This bike is now sold. Thanks.

Frame Number TF780, Engine Number EL936, Gearbox Number TG125

On offer is a Speed Model Douglas, the road-going version of the famous Dirt Track Douglas. Introduced for 1930, the Speed Model (SW5) is basically a Dirt Track Model (DT5) fitted with brakes, clutch, silencer and mudguards. A Douglas advertisement from October 1929 announced the new model:

For the competitive Speedman the NEW SPEED MODEL is introduced. This is based on our all-conquering Dirt Track machine, and owing to its design and light weight will be found more easily to handle at speeds well over the hundred mark than the modern heavy road racing machine at 80 m.p.h. Whether you are racing as a profession or as a hobby you cannot afford to be without a SPEED MODEL DOUGLAS.

Be assured that the handling of this machine at "well over the hundred mark" has not been tested, at least not in recent years...

Whether or not this machine left the factory as an SW5 or DT5 is not known as engine and frame prefixes were shared between the DT5 and SW5 models. Many Dirt Track machines were converted for road use either after they were no longer competitive in their original role, or during subsequent restoration. Our machine is presented as a road racing machine of the late vintage period, and vintage components are used throughout (other than the 23" wired on rims and tyres, fitted as a concession to safety). Nice touches are the straight-pull twist grip, inverted levers, and friction dampers on both the steering and the front fork. The "small air box" motor was used on both the DT5 and the SW5 from the 1930 model range, and is shown in advertising material in late 1929. Exact dating information is sparse for Douglas models, but it is believed that the "c1930" date is justified based on the prefixes and numbers of the major components. If you plan to use the machine in an event with a strict date limit, please do your own research to ensure that the machine will meet eligibility requirements.

The bike was expertly restored by the present custodian in the late 1980s. It was used in vintage rallies, but such was the allure of the TT Model in the same garage that the SW5 was used only sporadically. Recently it was woken from its slumbers, and after draining the over-full sump and topping up fluids a bump start (no kick starter on and SW5) had the bike running quietly, after which a very short test ride was undertaken. The performance of the machine is exhilarating, but manageable: an up-hill clutch start was accomplished without drama. The bike would benefit from a good clean and some minor some recommissioning may be required.

The Dirt Track Douglas was a hugely successful machine in its day, and the DT5/SW5 is now both relatively rare and highly sought after. A search of the internet will produce other examples of similar bikes, including and

Don't miss this opportunity to acquire one of the truly iconic sporting models of the vintage years. 

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The images below show the motorcycle in its present condition. Click on an image below for a high resolution view - return to this page with the back arrow of your browser.

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