The Rambler Owners Club

The Malvern Star Auto-byke

The Malvern Star Auto-byke

As well as importing Ramblers, Australia did have its own autocycle industry – Malvern Star Bicycles brought out a Villiers-powered autocycle in the late thirties. Its postwar model was apparently identical to the Rambler. Here’s a picture of two very heroic Australian people advertising not only the Malvern Star Auto-byke but also ‘Fun and Adventure in the Great Outdoors.’


Here’s what the Victoria Museum has to say about the Malvern Star:

‘The Malvern Star brand was established in 1898 and was acquired by Bruce Small in 1920. Prior to this date a small number of motorcycles were produced by the company using imported British-built JAP engines. The company expanded to become Australia’s leading manufacturer and assembler of bicycles by the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. The Malvern Star Auto-byke was first introduced after the Second World War as an economical, lightweight motorised bicycle at a time when few cars were available and petrol was still rationed. Malvern Star assembled the machine in Australia using locally-made frames and a variety of imported components including a British-built 98 c.c single-cylinder Villers Mk. 1 two-stroke engine with a two-speed gearbox. Small had obtained an exclusive licence for these engines in 1945. Similar machines were made in Britain and sold in Australia under the Excelsior brand from 1937 with the same 98 c.c Villiers engine. Advertising for the Auto-byke promised “fun and adventure in the great outdoors.”

The Museum’s Malvern Star Auto-byke was built in about 1950 and cost 24 Pounds when new. Previous owners include Mr Ted Manders of Pascoe Vale and a Mr Clarke in Altona. The Museum also holds an earlier Malvern Star autocycle which incorporates a 49 c.c French-built Mobylette engine. In the post-1945 years Malvern Star also sold a diminutive 32 c.c Berini cycle-motor priced at around 8 Pounds. This unit could be fitted over the front forks of any bicycle and was claimed to achieve a fuel economy figure of 240 miles per gallon. Malvern Star also acted as agents for imported Vespa, Jawa and CZ motorcycles and motor scooters.’

Unfortunately the photo on their website does not show the Malvern Star name on the petrol tank and it therefore looks like a Norman Model C without engine covers. You can see it here:



The above ad is from 1944. And while we’re on the subject of Malvern Star, here’s 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.