It’s hard to think of something to say about the BSA Gold Star that hasn’t been said already, such is the impact it’s had – and arguably still has – on motorcycling and its followers.
In engineering terms the Goldie is simplicity itself, yet in both 350 and 500cc guises it represents a true high point in the development of the traditional British sporting single.
Light, powerful, fast, focussed and yet incredibly versatile, Gold Stars have conquered the Isle of Man, the short circuits, the International Six Days Trial, scrambles tracks and trials sections – not to mention the countless battles fought on the arterial routes of 1950s and 60s Britain; arguably there never was and never will be a better all-round sporting machine.
Now, it is at this point in the proceedings that I’d usually start relaying the rather protracted tale of how the Gold Star was born of rather humble beginnings – not what one would expect of such a world-conquering icon – and that if it wasn’t for that fateful day at Brooklands in 1937, when four-times TT winner Wal Handley came out of retirement and took a tuned Empire Star to victory and a fastest lap of 107.57mph, we’d not be talking about them at all.
Read more in the January issue of TCM – on sale now!