1962 BSA Gold Star DBD34
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Read more about the past and present of BSA Gold Star racing
During this time, British factories were being pushed — mandated, in fact — to export as much as possible to retire England’s enormous war debt. Gold Stars started washing up on American shores, where riders found that they did very well in flat track competition, enduros — pretty much everything they were thrown at. Gold Stars were campaigned on the beach at Daytona and were part of the 1954 BSA Wrecking Crew, although BSA’s twins won Daytona that year. American racers found that Gold Stars did particularly well in short track events; California’s Ascot half mile was Gold Star territory for years.
Like Triumph, BSA started building special models for U.S. riders, including a rigid framed version for flat track competition. Some of America’s best tuners worked on Goldies, including Tom Sifton, who took a vacation from Harleys to build a front-row Gold Star. Axtell designed racing cams for them.
John Niesley, the owner of our feature Goldie, says most later English Gold Stars were sold with the six-gallon (five-gallon Imperial) aluminum “Clubman” gas tank, rearset foot controls and clip-on bars, while most Americans opted for the smaller two- or three-gallon tank, standard bars and standard shifter. “For normal road riding, it’s not comfortable to ride with rearsets and clip-ons,” he explains.
The postwar Goldie had a die-cast rocker box bolted to the head with nine studs, a nickel-alloy exhaust valve, and polished flywheels. Spark was by Lucas magneto and road machines had lights powered by a Lucas generator.
Early postwar BSA Gold Star engines were housed in a plunger frame, but behind the scenes, British trials ace and BSA rider Bill Nicholson was designing a new dual-downtube cradle frame with a swingarm. Featuring dual rear shocks, this well braced frame debuted in 1953, along with a dual seat and a new clutch.
For 1954 the engine was redesigned with massive fins, a shorter piston, a new breather and a lighter valve train. Alloy wheel rims became an option. The DB version of the Gold Star appeared in 1955, with better lower-end lubrication. It was accompanied by a new muffler and new brakes.
The final version of the Gold Star, the DBD, hit showrooms in 1956, sporting a 1-1/2-inch Amal GP carburetor, the largest made, a larger intake valve, different flywheels and an optional close-ratio gearbox. A full-width 190mm front drum brake was now available as an option.