Author Topic: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please  (Read 3427 times)

Offline cardan

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Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2023, 02:05:32 AM »
Thanks for that - except I can't find a cracker on the Ron Robb. Without a story it's hard to know what to think: many machines over the years were registered with the owner/builder's name or initials, but these ranged from just a repaint to an imaginative build, with the odd admin error at the rego office thrown in.

This set me thinking, and I suppose it's worth saying something about Les Diener's Eldee? https://velocetteracing.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/oba_eldee-velos-screen.pdf

(Oh dear: Can anyone prove that Malvern Star actually built a 2F-powered autocycle c1951? The model shown in the 1950 buyer's guide is still the Junior De Luxe, and while there are mentions of the 1F version with 2 gears and ks in 1951 and 1952, I can't find any period evidence for a 2F single-speed model. I'm 99% sure that the "Malvern Star" 2F pictured higher up is not a Malvern Star at all. The frame on the 1F version is quite distinctive - for example at the back the chain stay and seat stay is one curved tube, with a plate welded on in the MS way for the rear axle mount. I'd expect a 2F version to use the same frame.)

Leon



Offline R

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Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2023, 04:28:33 AM »
A number of Shannons auctions of Malvern Stars state that the 2F engine was used postwar.
When the pictures of the bikes sold clearly were NOT !
You'd have to conclude that Shannons wouldn't know a 2F if they tripped over it...

2F


Shannons
" Like many of its British counterparts, the Malvern Star autocycle carried the small type of fuel tank
and post-war Juniors used the Villiers 2F engine. "

https://www.shannons.com.au/library/images/auctions/A4V1P7M6R6D6L8P5/1600x1066/c1947-malvern-star-autocycle.jpg




Offline R

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Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2023, 04:51:46 AM »
There are British examples assuredly powered by the 2F

New Hudsons. Both 1954


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4a/New_Hudson_98cc_Autocycle_-_Flickr_-_mick_-_Lumix.jpg

Very smart little machines. I like that green un ...


Offline cardan

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Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2023, 07:42:32 AM »
Yes the standard Malvern Star story - used by auction houses, museums and others - is different from the version I have come up with. There is a story about "Standard" (rigid) and "De Luxe" (pressed front fork) versions running parallel, but I don't think so - more like pre-1947 and 1947-on. Ditto the stories about "1F and 2F" options in later years. Might be correct, but I've yet to see a (real) 2F-powered Malvern Star - either period or a survivor. There are a dozen of so "facts" in the Museum Victoria description of their "1948" MS https://collections.museumsvictoria.com.au/items/374641 that I disagree with. Dating of the various survivors is pretty fanciful, usually dated way to early but sometimes - like the Shannons "1947" in your link - too late. A rigid MS is certainly 1941-1946.

Funny how hard it is to get to the correct version of events for such a popular and "recent" machine.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2023, 07:46:09 AM »
By the way, were the pressed forks Webb, or Web pattern?

Offline 33d6

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Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #20 on: June 24, 2023, 09:34:47 AM »
The Vic Police registration book mentions 1F engines only in Malvern Star only never the 2F. I suppose Iíll have to get the relevant tray of engine number cards and trawl through them to answer this question once and for all. How long have I got?
I just did my latest tray changeover two days ago. The current deal is I sort yet another tray of Ford engine numbers and get a motorcycle tray of my choice. I currently have Scott, Star and some Simplex. Sorting them out and writing them up is not an overnight job.
 How soon do you need a definitive Malvern Star answer?
As far as I know Webb were the last man standing providing postwar pressed steel forks. Iíve seen no evidence of anyone else.
Cheers,

Offline cardan

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Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #21 on: June 25, 2023, 01:41:20 PM »
Thanks - don't hurry to check the MS records, as I'm pretty certain they never used the 2F, seemingly confirmed by your police book. At any time,  Bruce Small Ltd adverts (from all over the country) only mentioned 'Malvern Star Autocycle' or 'Malvern Star Autobyke', without listing different models. The new MS Autobyke for 1951 was 2 speeds + ks in all the (many) adverts I've seen. My best guess is that during 1950 MS were still using the Junior De Luxe - I wonder if they were still working their way through the 500 engines they supposedly had "on hand" in 1941. No doubt engine and frame numbers would shed light, but that is work for the MS Marque Specialist, which is neither you nor me!!! That said, I'd love to know if there were any "52M" frame prefixes out there; I suspect there was some manufacture in 1952.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #22 on: June 25, 2023, 01:48:19 PM »
Found this frame for sale online, a 1951/52 IF (2-speed + ks) model. Good opportunity to see the welded frame - presumably bronze welded with oxyacetylene.

Leon

Offline john.k

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Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #23 on: June 26, 2023, 11:02:01 AM »
yes ,the bronze /brass filler can be clearly seen..........beat the Rickmans by 20 years

Offline R

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Offline R

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Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #25 on: June 27, 2023, 01:39:14 AM »
Museums Victoria have a 1F "motorcycle" https://collections.museumsvictoria.com.au/items/374641 which they date "c1948", probably 3 years or so too early.

So is this a 1F or 2F ?


Offline cardan

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Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #26 on: June 27, 2023, 02:58:26 AM »
1F has two speeds and ks, 2F is single speed, so the one in the Victorian museum is 1F. Naming seems counterintuitive! The two units look quite similar from the drive side. https://www.james-motorcycles.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/1954-villiers-mk1f-instructionsbook.pdf

Lest anyone take museum info too seriously, some comments below.

Leon

1. "The Malvern Star Auto-byke was first introduced after World War II." Prototype in 1940, production models from late 1941.

2. "Malvern Star assembled the machine in Australia using locally-made frames and a variety of imported components including a British-built 98cc single-cylinder Villers Mk. 1 Junior two-stroke engine with a two-speed gearbox." From the prototype until 1950, MS used the Villiers Junior De Luxe, which was single speed. (Not sure of the exact nomenclature, but the Mk 1 Junior was probably the late 1930s verision, with the one-piece cylinder and head, which pre-dated the De Luxe.) The 2-speed Villiers 1F (maybe this is what they mean by "Mk 1"?) was used in 1951, into 1952.

3. "Small had obtained an exclusive Australian licence for these engines in 1945." Interesting, but if true I don't know why Bruce Small Ltd didn't advertise the engines for sale loose. I don't know of anyone else in Australia making autocycles post war, so MS were more-or-less exclusive!

4. "The Museum's Malvern Star Auto-byke was built in about 1948..." All single speed up to and including 1950. My best guess would be 1951, or maybe 1952. Presumably the frame number prefix is 51M or 52M.

5.  "... and cost 24 Pounds when new." They were sold Australia wide, and the price varied a bit, but in Melbourne the advertised price in 1951 was 89 pounds.

6. "The Museum also holds an earlier Malvern Star autocycle which incorporates a 49cc French-built Mobylette engine." Interesting claim - they say their other MS was built in Australia from French parts. Not sure, but in their poor photo it looks awfully like a c1950-1 Mobylette AV3 Standard, sold in huge quantities in France and elsewhere. I can find no hint that MS produced autocycles with Mobylette engines, but maybe they toyed with the idea.

7. "In the post-1945 years Malvern Star also sold a diminutive 32cc Berini cycle-motor priced at around 8 Pounds." Indeed they did, from 1951, but the advertised price was 32 gns. fitted free to your bicycle. Not sure where the museum got it's price info!

Offline 33d6

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Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #27 on: June 27, 2023, 06:04:47 AM »
I now have the MS engine number record cards. A quick flick through shows about a third of them were fitted with the 1F engine. All having the engine number prefix 716A. I have found a solitary bike with a 2F number.
It would appear Bruce Small bought three substantial batches of engines at separate times.
More info as I sort them properly.

Offline john.k

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Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #28 on: June 27, 2023, 06:18:29 AM »
Id think the prices quoted are actually deposits ...8 pound down and 52 monthly payments of 12/6.....before consumer finance rules ,advertising a deposit in very large print was a  trap for the unwary.........Bruce Small had his own consumer finance company,and I think that contributed greatly to his fortune.........My father worked for Bruce Small on the Gold Coast in sand pumping and real estate sales ..........others had gone broke there trying to develop the swamps ,but Small had back up millions while the scepticism for pumped land was overcome........blocks of pumped sand that were sold for 100 pounds are today worth $20 million...........he was the first  of the "White Shoe Brigade" that nearly put Bjelke into Kirrabilly.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2023, 06:27:52 AM by john.k »

Offline R

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Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #29 on: June 27, 2023, 10:32:38 AM »
This Bruce Small sounds like quite a character !

about a third of them were fitted with the 1F engine. All having the engine number prefix 716A.

https://collections.museumsvictoria.com.au/content/media/32/1091582-medium.jpg