OHC Douglas – A NZ First?

Kiwis have always been innovative. Burt Munro, Kim Newcombe and John Britten are just a few that come to mind. But what of earlier motorcycle engineering geniuses in New Zealand?

This is a 1919 Douglas that started out as a standard twin cylinder 2 3/4 hp side valve engine and was converted to an OHC in 1921 by W.M. Davy from NZ. Being a OHC with new homemade cylinder heads and open cam chain drives (good to get your dress trousers caught in) would definitely have been leading edge technology.




It has a fixed drive with its original 2 speed gearbox removed and a crossover countershaft in its place converting its final drive from belt to chain. This indicates that it was possibly purpose built for racing and not just a garden shed experiment. However as NZ didn’t have board tracks and with those lightweight tyres where would this machine have been used? On a beach perhaps?

So how well did it go?

And what is the likelyhood of it having survived?