DOT motor cycles “Devoid of Trouble”

By Andre Ling 

It would make a very respectable pub quiz question, or else rank as one of those pieces of interesting but useless pieces of information which once learnt is difficult to forget: “In the world of motorcycle history, what does DoT stand for?” Answer: “Devoid of Trouble”.

DoT was started back in 1903 by Harry Reed and the brand name reflected his confidence in his products. Like most British motorcycle producers he started with the production of the bicycle. His first motorcycle was made in 1906 and production carried through until 1932. In 1906 Reed won the world championship for the flying kilometre at Blackpool. Another big achievement was a win in 1908 in the Isle of Mann TT, where he won the multi-cylinder class. 

Harry Reed left the company in 1925 and Thomas Sawyer took over the running of the company until the early 1930’s when he then passed the handle bars over to Bernard Scott Wade. Although DoT was well known on the racing circuit under the control of Wade, the arrival of the depression in the 1930’s saw Dot cease production in 1932. This wasn’t the end for DoT however. The marque was kept alive by a range of pedal powered three wheeled delivery trucks aimed at the Milk and ice cream trade. 

With the onset of WWII, The British government awarded DoT the contract to build bespoke delivery trucks and supply them around the world. DoT soon added a 122cc Villiers engine to the trucks. The success of these helped secure enough financial stability for the marque to re-enter the manufacture of motorcycles again where production started in 1949. The last DoT motor truck was produced in the 1950’s. By the 1960’s DoT was a leading and successful marque in motor cross. 

Unfortunately like most British motorcycle makers, DoT failed to keep up with the influx of larger Japanese manufacturers and with the collapse of Villiers engines, DoT finished producing motorcycles in the 1960’s. 1978 saw a brief reintroduction of a new motorcycle but this was short lived and The DoT name then turned to engineering and the supply of parts.   

A fine example of a 1928 173cc DoT has been entered into the next Automobilia auction at TW Gaze Diss Auction Rooms to be held on Thursday 21 March. It has recently undergone restoration, and with all the hard work already done it carries an enticing pre-auction estimate of £3,000 – 3,500.

 It joins a varied mix of various mascots, dash clocks, badges, ephemera, pictures, clothing and books, not to mention a Harley Davidson illuminated garage sign to brighten any enthusiasts’ day at £800 – 1,000.

Viewing will be held on Wednesday 20 March from 9am until 3pm and on the sale day from 12 noon, The auction begins at 4pm. Catalogues can be found online at and the auction will be accessible live at Please contact Andre Ling, Head of the Automobilia Department (01379 650306) if you have enquiries or wish to consign to future Automobilia auctions.

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