I am building a bit of a ✅✅✅ triple rare bird at the moment
So here is a build walk through, as I am known for 'having clean looking bikes'
it sort of starts with preparation and technique, and of course attention to details
This also may be interesting as it's not just your every day bike
✅'Last official recognised rod type chassis number' off the British production line.
✅A 1953 Douglas factory open handlebar headlight 'designed purely for Australian Roads'
with the 'very first fully pop riveted horncast' plus it own striking tail light mounted lucas 480.
✅Oh thirdly its also with sidecar, a period lightweight 'Tom Thumb' by Reg Tillbrook SA as well!
This sort of machine being a Douglas is a rarity
so actually it's really a group effort, specialist skills, knowledge and a library of Factory books that are needed.
A working group of friends is very very important (actually it's the most fun bit of the whole thing)
Rolf, Marcus and myself have spent years researching what's actually factory correct
we're at the point that's we're all having some sort of hand in each other's ROD/G model/ GL2 machines.
We are actually at year five of research and building these bikes (Marcus is at year eight)
they are not as documented as the piaggio machines of the same era (1950 to 57) having sometimes obvious or hidden differences - not everything is obtainable, and some piaggio made pieces don't even quite fit.
thus you have a process that also involves parts swaps with international collectors and maybe jumping on a lathe, or using a metal folding press as well
It's years of gaining lost knowledge in relation to both Piaggio and Douglas bikes and spares of the era and what's available now as new (what's the correct best option) .
visually identifying spares from across 2 factories made up to 70 years ago, Douglas shut production in 1957
Is one very major problem .....even for the most experienced Vespa professionals
there are actually only less than a handful of the Australian delivery model and maybe double that in English standards
not a lot seen, even less in a 'working state' Mostly they are ornamental in bits within someone's Vespa collection
remember it's not just building a bike in a ramdom way - it's building factory correct with NOS parts of museum quality
we're talking building down to the total correct nut bolt and washer.....with everyone looking over your shoulder, your friends, other hobbyists, collectors, and even the professionals...
we're also building Frank and Deans (Vespa house) English standard Douglas for their collection, also from 1953! at the same time.
Go figure! And what ever you do don't bugger it up 😆john and don't scratch the paint