Monday, November 22, 2021

DMW Motorcycles 1954

Here's the range of DMW (Dawson's Motor Works) machines for 1954. Leslie 'Smokey' Dawson was a well known pre-war grass track rider. When the War started he was ineligible for service in the armed forces due to his grass track riding injuries, instead he became an RAF mechanics instructor and despatch rider. Later on in the War he opened up a small garage in Wolverhampton - Dawson's Motor Works.

Smokey Dawson is in some places credited with patenting several important developments in motorcycle development (swinging arm suspension, telescopic forks and double sided front brakes). This is indeed true but it is perhaps more fair to say that he patented minor modifications to existing technology that allowed him to produce such parts without infringing existing patents. None-the-less he was certainly an innovator and one who embraced moves forward in technology.

DMW machines for the large part used Villiers engines and were of high quality with some unusual features, some models had semi-monocoque frames and many were fitted with earles forks. For a while I owned a DMW Cortina and a fine machine it was too.

The 1954 range is interesting in that this is the year that DMW listed machines fitted with French built AMC engines (a different company from the British concern Associated Motor Cycles). The French AMC motors were fitted with ohc engines (DOHC in the case of the racing model) and looked quite glamorous and exciting. Sadly it appears that these machines only reached prototype stage, they were exhibited at motor shows but seemingly did not roll off the production line.

There's a good history of DMW at the


  1. Looking at the link to your Cortina, is that the horn incorporated into the right side of the nacelle? Remarkable that it fit and must be a nearly unique arrangement. The catalog entry for the Dolomite gives you the option of having a speedo OR a rev counter, an interesting accommodation to preference.

    1. Yes, spot on it's a horn in the nacelle. It's neat and in the right place for a horn, very sensible really and it keeps the wiring neat. I can't think of any other bike with the arrangement but I'd hesitate to say that it is unique.
      The and / or option of rev counter and / or speedo on the Dolomite is indeed bizarre. I thought a speedo was a legal requirement at this time so perhaps someone got muddled on the writing of the brochure?