Author Topic: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please  (Read 3430 times)

Offline john.k

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 579
  • Karma: +4/-0
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #30 on: June 27, 2023, 10:42:56 AM »
There would be plenty of TV archival footage of him ,if anyone wants to see the man.....Thing Big/Vote Small......he was mayor of the Gold Coast five times ,a member of state parliament,his friend jelky knighted him....Sir Bruce Small.....he was in the "Joh for PM " campaign that came very close to  putting jelky in the PMs job,and toppled the Fraser government in the meantime.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2023, 10:49:58 AM by john.k »

Offline cardan

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1150
  • Karma: +18/-5
    • View Profile
    • earlymotor.com
    • Email
Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #31 on: June 27, 2023, 11:45:08 AM »
716/29178 - will be interesting to see if this appears in 33d6's rego records.

Bruce Small became Sir Bruce Small - a long way from purchasing a single bicycle shop in 1920. I knew about various business dealings, but the real estate development in Queensland is a ripper.

The one 2F [edit: woops, not 1F as I wrote originally] engine has ruined my claim that none were built. My reputation will be in tatters. Three groups of engines? The "about 500 engines on hand" in 1941 was reported from a shareholders' meeting, and I expect will be close to correct. Then another batch of Villiers Junior De Luxe for the new models in late 1946, then a batch of 1Fs for the 1951 models? Any frame numbers? I'd love to know if there were 1952 models, or if sales in 1952 were left over from the previous year. The last advert I have seen for a new Auto-byke is December 1952.

Hate to confess, but I'm quite excited.

Leon
« Last Edit: June 28, 2023, 02:26:14 AM by cardan »

Offline john.k

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 579
  • Karma: +4/-0
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #32 on: June 27, 2023, 12:27:32 PM »
The 1941 date would correspond with the UK govt reopening of exports for a short time after closing civillian production....they needed money for the war........post war ,UK manufacturers had to export half their production  to get materials credits.......so very likely Small got some very good deals on the Villiers engines in the late 40s.........Sterling (UK Pound) was devalued 25% in 1947/48 to stimulate exports.........but as Australia would have been on Sterling too,I dont think that would have had any effect.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2023, 12:33:24 PM by john.k »

Offline john.k

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 579
  • Karma: +4/-0
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #33 on: June 27, 2023, 12:41:11 PM »
Slightly relevant ,our family got the first car in 1952..a new Peugeot 203..no more bicycles or motorbikes ............Why a Peugeot,you may ask ?.....I was told it was the only new car where the waiting list was under 6 months........a Holden was 12 months wait ,if you were an ex serviceman...there was an 800 pound subsidy.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2023, 12:46:21 PM by john.k »

Offline R

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1435
  • Karma: +26/-10
    • View Profile
Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #34 on: June 28, 2023, 01:33:41 AM »
The one IF engine has ruined my claim that none were built.

Shouldn't this be the one 2F  ?

Or am I getting more confuseredly  !!

Offline cardan

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1150
  • Karma: +18/-5
    • View Profile
    • earlymotor.com
    • Email
Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #35 on: June 28, 2023, 02:24:57 AM »
Yes.

Offline 33d6

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1076
  • Karma: +26/-4
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #36 on: June 28, 2023, 07:17:47 AM »
Malvern Star, engine number 716/29178. Registration number AH028, date first registered, 5/6/1952.

Happy Leon?

Offline cardan

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1150
  • Karma: +18/-5
    • View Profile
    • earlymotor.com
    • Email
Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #37 on: June 28, 2023, 07:57:21 AM »
Extremely. Could only be better if we had the frame number of the bike. I will ask the Museum.

Sorry for being a fusspot about something as uninteresting (?!) as the Malvern Star autocycle, but it was probably the largest production Australian-made motorcycle, and because it was sold truly Australia-wide they turn up literally everywhere. Worth getting the story right if we can. I'm pretty confident in the story now, with the four distinctly different models: prototype 1940-41, rigid production bikes 1942-1946, sprung bikes 1947-1950, two-speed bikes 1950-51. Hopefully the rego records will confirm (or contradict), and if we can guess at production numbers even better!

Leon

Offline 33d6

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1076
  • Karma: +26/-4
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #38 on: June 28, 2023, 10:05:22 AM »
Some cards have the frame number. Not many but some. There was no requirement for the recording clerk to include it but some did.

Offline R

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1435
  • Karma: +26/-10
    • View Profile
Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #39 on: July 01, 2023, 05:43:11 AM »
Came across this pic.
Came in a range of colours, didn't they ...


Offline cardan

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1150
  • Karma: +18/-5
    • View Profile
    • earlymotor.com
    • Email
Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #40 on: July 01, 2023, 06:51:30 AM »
They did, but I'm not sure if two-tone blue was one of them. The scheme I like the best (!) is the green frame, cream tank, and red wheels - I have a period reference for that. Some were black with cream tank, but beyond that I'm not sure.

The blue bike is one of the 1947-1950 models, but it has a feature that has me puzzled: the chain tensioner on the pedal chain near the back wheel. Some 1947-1950 models at least had an eccentric bracket for the pedal spindle, which was rotated to tension the pedal chain. (The same system was used on motorcycles from before 1910.) Can't imagine that you need both the eccentric spindle AND a chain tensioner, so presumably there was a changeover at some point. Beyond my pay grade...

I have visions of 33d6 in a medieval library (think Name of the Rose) poring over MS registration cards and musing over the revelations. I'm seriously excited.

Leon

[Edit: I should have said that I've seen the chain tensioner at the rear - like a derailleur - on other Malvern Stars, including some 1942-1946 models with the long tank.]
« Last Edit: July 01, 2023, 07:01:44 AM by cardan »

Offline Rex

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1487
  • Karma: +11/-68
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #41 on: July 01, 2023, 10:41:04 AM »
I could just imagine Breaker Morant riding across the Nullarbor Plain on that little feller... 8)

Offline 33d6

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1076
  • Karma: +26/-4
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #42 on: July 01, 2023, 10:44:44 AM »
Trying to seperate out details in the card system is a nightmare. First I have to transcribe the details into a manageable format so I can then count details one by one. There is something like a thousand MS cards and so far Iíve listed about a quarter of them. To say itís a boring job is being polite but to be worthwhile I have to get it exactly right.
The end result should give us a reasonably definitive MS database but itís rather a dull plod to prepare it.

Personally I think the immediate postwar supply difficulties drove most of the strange little oddities we worry about now. MS built what they could with what they could get their hands on. There was no subtlety to it.

Offline cardan

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1150
  • Karma: +18/-5
    • View Profile
    • earlymotor.com
    • Email
Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #43 on: July 01, 2023, 01:26:03 PM »
There is something like a thousand MS cards and so far Iíve listed about a quarter of them.
OMG what an heroic effort! Seriously, no hurry.

In my poking around old newspapers I was surprised how widespread MS autocycle sales were - certainly the Victorian sales (and therefore registrations) will account for the bulk of production, but sales elsewhere in Australia might account for 10-20-30% It was quite a business.

Leon

Offline john.k

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 579
  • Karma: +4/-0
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Australian-made motorcycles in the 1950s - help please
« Reply #44 on: July 03, 2023, 01:55:33 AM »
Ive seen claimed that there were 1000 company owned stores and 10,000 accredited sellers in Australia for MS...... they made 50,000 bicycles a year.....Ive thought of restoring my old MS ,its pretty sad.