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Bike Profile - Posted 23rd September 2009

DMW P200 De Luxe
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Not every concours champion needs to be a mutli-cylindered superbike. Mick Knowles took top honours with his Villiers-powered DMW a little while ago...

Mick Knowles was born within a mile of Dawson's Motors at Wolverhampton, so when he saw this DMW for sale he was smitten by a bad attack of 'nostalgic must have'.

The classic 'proud owner' photo. Well done Mick! DMW P200 De Luxe

The P200 De Luxe uses the 197cc Villiers 6E engine with three-speed gearbox, but is rather more remarkable for its interesting springing. The firm's founder, Leslie Dawson, was a popular grass track rider of the 1920s and 30s who designed and built many competition machines and patented several solutions to those common braking and suspension obstacles of the era. Dawson opened his own garage in the early 1940s, turning his technical expertise to develop his 'Telematic' forks which were launched in 1942. These were telescopic spring and pneumatic forks which came in a DIY kit form, and were joined by a rear conversion kit a year later.

After the War, Dawson began building racing machines under his DMW marque, then he joined forces with local businessman Harold Nock, who ran the Metal Profiles company. As Dawson faded from the concern so DMW began to build more road bikes for the wider public, using Villiers engines from 1950. By 1951 DMW used a frame made from square section tubing, with clever snail-cam adjustment for the rear chain and Metal Profiles leading link forks - just a little bit more trick than the average Bantam! By 1954, DMW were building an electric-start model, the Dolomite, which could reach 72mph and which cost £240 new.

Luckily, Mick got the white sheet back on the bed before his better half noticed it was missing... DMW P200 De Luxe - As it arrived.

Mick Knowles bought his De Luxe for just £150 some five years ago. That's not as cheap as it sounds: only two-thirds of the bike were present and accounted for, and none of them were connected to anything else. 'Even the petrol tank was wrong' says Mick 'but the correct one came from Arthur Stubbs at Burton who is extremely knowledgeable about DMWs and proved very helpful. The seat was missing so Arthur kindly loaned me a pattern pan from which cardboard templates were duly made and then a new base was cut from steel. I then welded the sections together and sent it to RK Leighton for covering.

Whole lotta tackin' going on... DMW P200 De Luxe - Reconstructed seat base.

'I made the rear number plate in a similar way and the seat hinge in stainless steel. The whole family helped - my son Mark found the speedo at an autojumble.

Whole lotta rustin' going on... DMW P200 De Luxe - Rear frame, before and after.

The frame panelwork needed a substantial amount of work. The rust bug had been having a ball there! So new panels were made and welded in. The mudguards are not original but are as close as we could get. We finally painted it Dove Grey - by aerosol! - and then had to make numerous phone calls to sort out the paperwork. After a trip to the DVLA at Birmingham the DMW was given an age-related number and finally was road legal once more.'

Overspray? Pah!... DMW P200 De Luxe - Frame spraying.

The DMW wasn't so easy to get going at first but this has now been cured 'with a Japanese coil, tucked under the tank. You can't see it, so what the heck…' Mick completed the project in around a year and since then he's been proper pleased with the DMW (and our judges liked it too).

Finished. Lovely...
Villiers engined, and for sale on :

Says Mick: 'It's one of the better Villiers-engined bikes of the 50s and 60s, along with Greeves and DOT. It so well built and I love the Earles forks - and that chunky, comfy seat!'


Show Off Yourself!

All kinds of classics are very welcome at the events we sponsor and almost any old bike might go home with an award. We sponsor several shows spread around the country and throughout the season to give everyone a chance to pop along.

All RealClassic readers are very welcome to attend, with the family or riding solo, possibly as part of an organised ride-in with the rest of your club branch or just on your tod. All kinds of classics are encouraged to come to our events, too, so that means of any origin and in any condition - be it a barn-fresh discovery or a recently restored replica. If you've upgraded your classic to make it practical for modern riding then our judges will be fascinated to see what you've done: we don't run up our noses at non-standard spec although we do, of course, appreciate the patina of ages on an unrestored machine…

There will be a selection of concours awards up for grabs at each event with different categories and classes, and the arrangements for entering differ between organisers and sites. The common thread for show-goers is that if you can prebook and enter your bike for the displays in advance then you will be given discounted - and sometimes FREE - admission to the Show. All you need to do is turn up in time to put your bike on display and then you (and very often a chum too) can enjoy the rest of the day without splashing too much cash (unless the bargains in the jumble lead you astray, of course).

Contact the appropriate organiser and get yourself signed in for an RC event this autumn…

Sunday October 25th 2009
The SOUTH OF ENGLAND CLASSIC BIKE SHOW returns to the South of England Showground at Ardingly near Gatwick from 10am to 4pm. Enter your classic early because places are limited. See or call 01797 344277.

Sunday November 1st 2009
The MALVERN REALCLASSIC BIKE SHOW opens 10am to 4pm at the Three Counties Showground at Malvern (J7/8 off the M5 or J1 off M50). Entries via 01484 452002 or

November 13th to 15th 2009
The Classic Motor Show at the NEC includes a dedicated CLASSIC BIKES HALL with displays from many major clubs plus private entries, museum displays, concours competition and more. Entries are invited to join the bike show (which provides parking pass and admission for the full weekend); call 0121 767 2772 or see www.classicbikes


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