Like most folks I know, the enjoyment derived from buying stuff far exceeds that of selling it. The only motivation for selling is to provide money to buy more. Such cycles of existence describe the life of a vintage bicycle addict. As a hobby, vintage bicycle building is a relaxing experience done in an enthusiast’s spare time. As a daily job it becomes all-consuming, the hobby intertwined, both routine and creative, hard work and fun. A 1947 Malvern Star 2 Star from Australian ebay for the princely sum of 61 dollars – £28.90 or US $45 – provides light relief. DHL plus a wheel set, chain, saddle and grips add to the outlay, but it’s still on the road and riding past Hove’s West Pier with minimal effort and cost.
Ever since I read Jim Fitzpatrick’s excellent books, I’ve fancied an Aussie bike with upturned handlebars. This rusty jewel has its original paintwork and transfers (decals) and a bent frame, ideal contrast with a retro coaster wheel set and cream tyres. In Australia the most a vintage cycle enthusiast would give for it was £28; that’s the equivalent of throwing it out. But when it comes to antiques of any sort there’s always someone somewhere who wants what you’re throwing out. One person’s junk is another’s treasure.
1947 Malvern Star ‘2 Star’ Path Racer
Frame no 7P 31892
Well, all I can really say is “Gee Mum …it’s just what I wanted.”
Malvern Star Cycle Works
58 Glenferrie Rd, Malvern, Victoria, Australia
Malvern Star was established in 1898. At this time, companies took on agencies from British and American brands, importing bicycles in knock-down form for resale locally. They also imported BSA Fittings bikes and added engines to produce Australia’s first motorcycles.
But the guiding force behind Malvern Star was Bruce Small, an entrepreneur, promoter and salesman who bought the company and its small suburban bicycle shop in 1920, and developed it into one of Australia’s largest manufacturing and retailing enterprises.
One very important aspect of his business was the BSA franchise which Bruce Small obtained in 1935, after ruthless dealings with other competitors. This was essential to his company, as BSA was a manufacturer of quality bicycle accessories and components. The BSA franchise gave him a ready overseas and interstate market. The 1936 Malvern Star catalogue below displays the BSA ‘Piled Arms’ merged into the Malvern Star logo.
I think BSA must have complained about the misappropriation of its trade mark logo, because the Malvern Star catalogue of the following year shows a traditional BSA logo.
The above ad is from 1944. Below is a 1942 Malvern Star catalogue. I particularly like the page advertising ‘Speedy, economical transport for the defence of Australia’ which shows a cyclist wearing a tin hat being pursued by bombers.