Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Vintage, yesteryear and retro biking

Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby possum-magic » Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:49 pm

Hi,

For the princely sum of a slab of Cascade Draught, I bought this old beauty off of my neighbour in their garage sale.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/91101380@N ... 251394850/

I'm trying to get an age on it, as well as authenticate it. I'm particularly interested in whether the cranks, bars and rims are of a similar vintage to the frame, or whether they look like a later addition.

The frame is stamped with a serial number (345 21) on the side of the seat tube, and the Fichtel & Sachs Torpedo rear hub (single speed with coaster brake) is stamped "48 P" which, according to the All-About-Hubs website indicates its c.1948

There is also a P5 on the underside of the frame under the bottom bracket.

I'm not familiar with old Malvern Stars, having tinkered mainly with vintage Raleigh's, so any insight anyone can give me as to the history of this particular model would be greatly appreciated.

The sticker on the head tube indicates it was sold by a bike shop by the name of "C. Pitt" in Bathurst St in Hobart. Any Hobart people that can enlighten me as to a bit of history on the shop, again, I'd love to hear from you.

Cheers!
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by BNA » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:51 am

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Re: Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby RobertFrith » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:51 am

possum-magic wrote:I'm trying to get an age on it, as well as authenticate it. I'm particularly interested in whether the cranks, bars and rims are of a similar vintage to the frame, or whether they look like a later addition.

Bargain! It looks authentic, I don't think there's any mileage in making fake two stars for a carton yet :DMost/Many MS's have a number stamped on the RHS rear dropout, anything there?
The contrasting coloured rims are a little odd, painted rims that I've seen have always been colour coded with the frame. But then, I haven't seen that many. Others more knowledgeable than me will be along shortly...
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Re: Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby possum-magic » Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:26 am

Yeah, I had read somewhere that the Malvern Star frames typically had the serial number stamped on the drop-outs, but mine appears to have it stamped at the top of the seat tube (there's a photo on the Flickr link, albeit a crappy one, that shows it)

I did see a similar 2* in my local antique store a few months ago that had similar painted rims. It might have been something the local dealer did to customise them. The frame on that one was all white, but it looked like that might have been someone's half-arsed attempt at a restoration. I think the dealer was asking $300 for it!

The frame on mine is predominantly red, with the head tube, down tube and detail on the forks a sort of aqua blue colour. The decal on the seat tube isnt something I have seen in any of the places flogging replica MS decals either. You can't see it that well from the photos, but it has part of an Aussie flag and part of an American one wrapping around it. Again, it could have been something the local dealer used to customise the bike.

I'm about half way through stripping it down. The bottom bracket was a mess - not sure if I can salvage that, and I'm having trouble getting the headstem bolt loosened - 60 odd years of rust isn't helping! Not sure if anyone knows of a good source of replacement bits for MS's, either he in Oz or overseas. When I've been doing up old Raleigh's you can get just about anything you need from the UK pretty easily and cheaply.
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Re: Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby rollin » Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:45 pm

Cool bike, I just found one that's looks pretty much exactly the same but black red & white, I didn't know thay came with fitchel and Sachs coaster hubs, there will be a date stamp in the middle of the hub...
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Re: Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby RobertFrith » Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:56 pm

possum-magic wrote:The frame is stamped with a serial number (345 21) on the side of the seat tube, and the Fichtel & Sachs Torpedo rear hub (single speed with coaster brake) is stamped "48 P" which, according to the All-About-Hubs website indicates its c.1948

:D
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Re: Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby possum-magic » Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:57 pm

Rollin - any snaps of your beast? I'm interested to get a feel for what these things looked like in their day. I'm a bit of a noob with MS bikes pre-1970.

The bars on mine are very narrow - only 350mm c-c on the drops, which is ridiculously narrow. Christ knows how they steered the thing! When I get into the reno I'm thinking I might go for a set of gull wing touring bars. Not authentic for the bike, but probably more practical. It would probably suit the mud-guard look better as well.

Those F&S hubs are the biz. I've worked on a few SA 3 speed hubs in my time, and they are just as bomb proof. Hard to believe all you need to do to get a 65 year old hub running perfectly again is a bit of a clean and regrease! Can't imagine the Dura-Ace hub on my Cervelo will be much chop in 60+ years!
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Re: Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby peteGS » Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:59 am

Nice score! I've got a couple of 2 stars here to restore, one from the '60's and one that should be a '39, nowhere near as complete as this though.

Any chance you could measure the length of the front mudguard mounts between the edge of the guard and axle centre? The guards I have appear to be from a ladies bicycle and I think they must have a longer rake because the front just doesn't appear to sit right.
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Re: Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby possum-magic » Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:43 am

PeteGS - measurement is 360mm
I saw some images of a 28" bike fitted with 27" replacement guards that sounds a bit like what you have described. My front guard is a bit tatty and I was looking for a replacement, but buggered if I can find anyone that makes them for 28" wheels. So I'm going to have to do a bit of amateur body work
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Re: Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby devilishdesigner » Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:27 am

Lovely looking bike, please don't mess with teh paint, I would love to own and ride it exactly as-is!
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Re: Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby bicyclepassion » Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:05 pm

Bike with frame no. 34521:
This number puts it at about 1933.
The stars in the fork crown first appeared in the 1933 catalogue.
The pressed rear ends, but with 'brazed in' ends in the front forks, would suggest the 1933 date to be about right.
The P5 under the bottom bracket is a casting number for the BB shell.
The paint is a repaint. That particular scroll decal style, mounted high on the main bar, first appeared in 1939. Enamallers would have had stocks of them for many years after that.
The seat bar decal is a common aftermarket decal that you often see on repainted bikes from the 1930's right through until maybe 1960.
I have 28" mudguards, but not that 'heavy roadster' style, Just the normal 28" guards. PM me for them.
Corect axles, headfittings etc, all available. PM me.
The coaster hub could well be 1948, maybe thats when the frame was repainted, and other mods done. I think the chainwheel is also from around late 1940's.
Hope this helps.
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Re: Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby possum-magic » Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:15 pm

Thanks Warren, I really appreciate your insight.

1933 huh? Same age as my Dad :D Nearly as old as my house :)

Interesting to know its a bit of a Frankenstein build. The spokes on the wheels look much more recent than everything else (perhaps 30 years ago recent) so they might have had a rebuild at some point. I also noticed there is paint around the edge of the drive side BB cup, which would support your repaint theory.

The current paint work is a wreck - there's more rusty bare steel than paint so I think, given its history, I'm going to strip it back to bare bones and repaint. Did these bikes come in black, black or black like most of the vintage Raleigh's? Or were we a bit more adventurous in Australia in the 30's? I like the idea of red, white and blue as it currently is (ignoring the rusty brown) and I can't see any other colour under the existing red, so unless it was stripped back last time it was most likely red to start with.

I'm also thinking tourer bars in place of the current drops, which are both very badly corroded as well as being uncomfortably narrow. Appreciate the die hards might see this as defacing the original, but given it underwent a little modernization in the 40's or thereabouts, I think it's probably in keeping with the history of this particular bike.

After all, who'd buy an old house and reinstall all the old plumbing and wiring :lol:
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Re: Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby LG » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:38 am

Well, I'll be one to encourage you to keep the paint as is. It might not be original 1933, but 1948 is still nearly 65 years old. The features look quite nice to me and the condition alright in the photos, and with a good cover of polish it shouldn't rust. I'll check over the weekend, but might have a spare 28" mudguard for you.
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Re: Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby possum-magic » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:58 pm

I've just chucked up a few more photos that probably give a better idea of the paintwork status.

The mudguards in particular are 50% rusty bare metal, and probably the only part of the frame that is in decent condition is the underneath of the BB (surprisingly!), presumably because its been baked in 60+ years of crud! I took to the front guard last night with some 0000 steel wool to see what was under all the crap, and unfortunately it wasn't paint that I found!

I'm undecided at this point, and am in no rush to do anything that is irreversible. But if I go down the revamp rather than preserve path, I'd take a similar approach to restoring the bike as I did to my house (which is 93 next year!), and that is to keep the character in-tact, but make it look nice and be more functional, as I actually want to use the thing for riding!

Appreciate there is a certain amount of history that might be lost if I go back to bare metal completely, but then again if its out there on display in all its revamped glory that's a good thing too.

But don't worry, I'm not going to paint it speckly pink and put a Barbie basket on the front!! This is more my style: http://www.flickr.com/photos/91101380@N ... 270019769/

LG - thanks for the heads up on mud-guard. At this stage, the way I see it is I either go with the existing one as is (which appears to have been hacked at with a set of tin snips at some point), or if I go with a full-blown repaint then I'll repair the damage on the existing one to make it look (almost) as good as new.
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Re: Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby LG » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:10 pm

Very nice job on the humber! I like the front and rear drum brakes. Most Oz bikes of the era have much more intricate paint jobs which are great features. I've got a 30s Malvern Star with nice, although poor condition, original paint, as well as another unknown 30s bike with a basic respray. While the respray is neater, I much prefer the look of the original. It's your bike and your preference though, and if it comes up as well as the humber I'm sure it would be a head turner.
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Re: Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby peteGS » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:21 pm

possum-magic wrote:PeteGS - measurement is 360mm
I saw some images of a 28" bike fitted with 27" replacement guards that sounds a bit like what you have described. My front guard is a bit tatty and I was looking for a replacement, but buggered if I can find anyone that makes them for 28" wheels. So I'm going to have to do a bit of amateur body work


Thanks for that, I'll give mine a measure and see how I go. I suspect just shortening them might solve the issue. The ones I have are definitely for 28" wheels, the rear sits perfectly, and it's just the front that seems a little odd.

If Warren has what you're after, I can highly recommend dealing with him to get them, he's very helpful and knowledgeable and will do the right thing by you.

I like the work on your Humber as well, very tasteful!
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Re: Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby possum-magic » Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:02 am

LG wrote:Very nice job on the humber! I like the front and rear drum brakes.


Unfortunately they're not much chop for stopping! :D the front one was actually a dynamo hub (but had been stripped out of all the dynamo bits unfortunately), so thankfully the bike was set up for front calipers, which do all the stopping work.

I was having a chat with another bloke off this forum (amrjon) about pinstriping, as there's a fair bit of pinstriping work on the bike I'd like to recreate if I strip it back. Has anyone ever tried learning how to do this? Alternatively, does anyone know of someone in southern Tassie that's able to do it? Modern day sign writers all seem to use digital printing and vinyl labels these days.
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Re: Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:59 am

possum-magic wrote: Modern day sign writers all seem to use digital printing and vinyl labels these days.

talk to an older sign writer, and see if their eyes sparkle at the chance to do it properly.
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Re: Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby LG » Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:22 am

Oops :oops: , I should look before posting. There is a very obvious brake caliper on the front!
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Re: Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby bicyclepassion » Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:34 am

Excuse me if this has been pointed out already, but the cutout in the front guard was probably done to accomodate the roller of a generator/dynamo. This was done just like the cuts on your bike. Although, it was usually done on the front of the guard, with the generator facing forward. But sometimes, some people, preferred the generator on the back of the fork blade.
This usually meant that the generator ended up on the other side of the bike, but there may have been some brands that ended up on the right side, facing 'backwards.'
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Re: Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby possum-magic » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:20 am

Thanks Warren.
Interestingly, there are two pretty similar sized cuts in the front guard - one fore of the forks on the none drive side and one aft on the drive side (zoom in on the side on images of the bike on my Flickr link and you can see them). Both are clearly man-made. I had initially though they might have been for clearance of a front pannier rack, but the fact that they aren't aligned makes me think not.
To add to the confusion, there is a small length of what appears to be the end of a hacksaw blade stuck to the underside of the guard next to one of the cuts. It's obviously been there since the most recent respray, as what little paint there is matches the rest of the underside of this guard. The mind boggles!
Cheers,
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Re: Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby peteGS » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:53 am

I just had another look at your photos and I'd completely missed the fact that the rims are painted two tone with a red pinstripe separating the centre blue stripe from the white outers.

Do you know if this is the genuine colour scheme? I'm trying to work out what to do with my 28 x 1 1/2" wheels to get them looking good again (currently a bit of surface rust and bare steel) but chroming is out of the question as it's not period correct. I have drum brakes to go on these.

My 28 x 1 3/8" wheels are a different story and if they're salvageable I'll get them re-chromed otherwise if I put cantilever brakes on it'll wear the paint off anyway.
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Re: Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby devilishdesigner » Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:14 am

peteGS wrote:I just had another look at your photos and I'd completely missed the fact that the rims are painted two tone with a red pinstripe separating the centre blue stripe from the white outers.

Do you know if this is the genuine colour scheme? I'm trying to work out what to do with my 28 x 1 1/2" wheels to get them looking good again (currently a bit of surface rust and bare steel) but chroming is out of the question as it's not period correct. I have drum brakes to go on these.

My 28 x 1 3/8" wheels are a different story and if they're salvageable I'll get them re-chromed otherwise if I put cantilever brakes on it'll wear the paint off anyway.


I had a 1940's Holland which was all original and had beautifully chromed 28" westwoods
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Re: Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby peteGS » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:28 pm

devilishdesigner wrote:I had a 1940's Holland which was all original and had beautifully chromed 28" westwoods


Interesting... I was under the impression that chrome was unusual and kept to a minimum due to cost those days.

These particular wheels have never been chromed though, I know that much...
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Re: Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby L'iota » Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:17 pm

G'day Possum-magic.
Nice find. The rubber handlebar grips are not the original. They are pieces cut from a WWII gas mask. It was the hose that connected the face mask with the tin cannister containing the charcoal filter material. After the war (from 1945 to 1950) most materials, especially rubber was in short supply being mostly used for moer vital uses than bike bits. The gas mask hoses were very commonly used for handlebar grips as they fitted the bar diameter and gas masks were now redundant and therefore plentiful. The bike I first learnt to ride on had these grips.
Regards
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Re: Date & authenticate Malvern Star 2*

Postby possum-magic » Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:39 pm

peteGS wrote:I just had another look at your photos and I'd completely missed the fact that the rims are painted two tone with a red pinstripe separating the centre blue stripe from the white outers.

Do you know if this is the genuine colour scheme?


I'm not sure to be honest. I have seen another old Malvern Star around the traps here with the same rim colour scheme, so either one of the local bike dealers of the time was customising them like this, or they came standard in this colour. I've checked out the rims and they certainly weren't chromed underneath the paint. The inside of the rims (where the rim tape goes) is all painted white.

On the topic of rims and tyre sizes, I'm going loopy trying to establish what size tyres to buy as replacements for the clapped out old ones. The old ones are marked 28 x 1 3/8, which I understand was a common wheel size in Australia years ago. From what I can gather, this is equivalent to an ISO 37-642 (the old 700A). There are some sites that claim they'll take a 700C (ISO 622) tyre. I've not tried it yet.

Basically, I'm wanting to get some white walls if I can, but until I get to the bottom of the tyre size issue, can't go shopping!
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