Douglas motorcycle collection heading to auction

John Anstice-Brown’s 1927 Douglas SB27 Combination was last used on The Banbury Run with his wife Brenda in the sidecar in 1959 | H&H Classics photos

Among other pursuits, John Anstice-Brown wrote for Britain’s Motor Magazine, collected Douglas motorcycles and, in 1972, was British GT auto racing champion. 

After his death in 2018, his family discovered his motorbike collection in a shed in Hitchin Herts and found Douglas models that the Douglas Owners Club said may be the only examples of their kind to still exist, albeit in various states of disrepair.

Anstice-Brown’s collection of Douglas machines

Ten of those machines will be offered for sale July 30 when H&H Classics stages an auction at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham, England.

“It is people like John Anstice-Brown who embody the true passion of the collector,” noted Mark Bryan of H&H Classics motorcycle department. “It is thanks to his work on saving Douglas bikes that we are able today to rediscover some machines that had slipped off the radar.”

Brothers William and Edwin Douglas opened their blacksmith business in Bristol, England, in 1882. They evolved into a foundry that had Light Motors as a customer and in 1907, with the demise of Light Motors, they took over the production of the company’s flat-twin cycle engines and motorcycles.

During World War I, they supplied 70,000 motorcycles to the British army. Afterward, Douglas machines were the first with disc brakes and became popular with dirt-track and TT racers.

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They also built four-wheeled cyclecars from 1913 to 1922.

Douglas ended motorcycle production in 1957. 

As a four-wheel racer, Brown started 29 races, winning 9 and with 19 podium finishes.


A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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