Classic Bike Guide



The Gold Star was born in 1937, when Wal Handley took a methanol-fuelled Empire Star round the Brooklands banking at 107mph.

Any bike that could complete a lap of the track at 100mph or more got a gold star, so in 1938 BSA launched a model under that name.

Postwar production restarted in 1947 with a 350, and a 500 arrived in 1950. The Gold Star’s distinctiv­e double cradle sprung frame was unveiled in 1952 and went into production the following year.

In 1956, BSA launched the

DBD34 Gold Star Clubman, a road racer you could ride to a circuit, tape up the lights, compete on, and then ride home again. By now, demands for more power and greater speed had created a motorcycle that was highly strung and best suited for riders who knew what they were doing.

BSA was keen to make buyers realise that the DBD34 wasn’t intended to be a road bike. A

1961 brochure stated: “The Clubman’s model Gold Star has been developed for competitio­ns in road and short circuit events, and its specificat­ion is such that it is neither intended nor suitable for road use as a touring machine.”

By 1963, these hand-built specials were cramping BSA’s style, which wanted to promote its unit constructi­on singles and twins that were cheaper to produce. When Lucas decided to stop making the magneto that gave the Goldie life, the last DBD34 vanished from the catalogues, if not from legend.

The name returned briefly in 1970 when BSA outraged the purists by sticking the Gold Star name on its B25SS and B50SS unit singles.

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