Thursday, April 18, 2019

Blasts From The Past

I am currently visiting my folks in country NSW. They are starting to get on a bit and I think Dad has begun to realise that he needs to let go of “stuff” that isn’t being used (in 40 years!) and won’t be used or needed.
While we weren’t encouraged to ride motorcycles as kids, both Steve and I managed to get some two wheel fix via mates with bikes, plus Mum’s 1963 Honda Cub 50 once we were old enough.

Chillertek holding a viscous 50 metric cubes open.

I thought I might drag a couple of bikes out of the shed that Dad has rebuilt since he retired about 15 years ago. A lifetime as a motor mechanic makes him the ideal person to restore these old bikes - especially as they are from his heyday(and even a little before).

We were given this little Deltek Rockhopper back in about 1977 or 78.

 It had done a million miles around a paddock underneath my older cousins, their mates and pretty much every kid that lived in their little country town. Much of it sporting no muffler OR air cleaner.... suffice to say it only ran for us for a few days before it was put into the shop for a rebuild.

 As Dad didn’t really like motorbikes OR us riding them, that rebuild took approximately 30 years! We were a tad large to test it out by that stage so it has lived under a sheet in the back of the shed since. Today it got a little fresh air!

(The barrel has since been spun so the carby is at the front and the exhaust at the rear. It just needs that air cleaner now.)

Dad bought this Malvern Star Autobyke about 35-40 years ago and actually did most of the restoration a few decades ago. He is missing the cranks/pedals and all of the control cables which were pretty hard to find in the pre internet 80s and possibly even harder/rarer now. The project is pretty much permanently stalled as Dad just isn’t up to doing much with his hands any more, unfortunately.

Still, he has done a great job with it, especially the engine. Motors are his speciality and he has got that Villiers Junior Deluxe looking like new again.  

(Yes, the back wheel is in the wrong way around. It is just sitting there)

  If anyone has any ideas on where to chase parts for a 1948 Malvern Star Autobyke or what it might be worth in it’s current state so I can let him know, please feel free to chime in. ;) 



  1. What an awesome post Dave and a great tribute to your Dad! We were given a go kart when our eldest son was about 8 with a Victa engine like the one from the Rockhopper. Those motors used to run pretty hot when they were flogged! The Malvern Star was fascinating so I tried to find more info. There's a running one on YouTube posted by Chris Jaffree in July 2018 so you might well be able to leave a comment and get a response. Good luck!

    1. Thanks Geoff. I will check out the video, so thanks for that. I would love for Dad to see the bike running but not sure how realistic that is
      He has restored a few stationary motors which we dragged out of the shed for photos yesterday. I might post a few pics of those as well.
      Yeah, those Victas were pretty bulletproof though. I can’t believe this one ran for so long without an air cleaner on it. It must have chewed the guts out of it!

  2. Great post. Your Dad is pretty talented in restoring those bikes, it is unfortunate that parts are so hard to find.

    I had to laugh at the picture of Steve, but then all we can do with pics of ourself from that age is laugh.

  3. I always laugh at pictures of Steve. :-0


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