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Bike Profile - Posted 13th July 2009

BSA Gold Star
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When we rode a couple of Gold Stars earlier this summer we had a mooch around to see what you might have to pay for one these days…...

You can purchase the appearance and performance of a Gold Star for a lot less than the asking price of the genuine article. Many people have created their own replicas over the years, so if you're buying on a budget and are not too fussed about originality then a hotted-up B31 or 33 could be ideal. Prices for replicas vary from around 30% to 60% of the genuine article; it very much depends on whether you're considering a cosmetic replica or one with extensive engine mods. Ask to see the supporting paperwork and talk to the specialist who did the work if looking at the latter.

BSA Gold Star Clubman: Bargain?

That same advice holds doubly true if you are spending big money on a 'real' Goldie. It's very unusual for a pukka factory-built Gold Star to turn up in a barn covered in cobwebs these days, so most of the ones offered for sale should be known to the club and come with full documentation and a detailed history. It is not at all unusual to come across examples with replacement engines or genuine DB motors fitted to later frames - remember that many Gold Stars have been raced and all are likely to be modified to match a previous owner's whims, so they may be far from standard or original.

Very few Goldies appear in small ads; buying from a dealer means you'll have a chance to ride the bike before splashing your cash, but the majority pop up at auction. If you're going to bid then do your homework beforehand and check the bike's provenance and recent history carefully. See if there's a preview day when you can actually start the bike and hear it run. Here's a selection which have sold recently:-

1959 350

BSA Gold Star £9,200. Bargain...

This is an excellent example of a Gold Star with sold gold credentials. BSA factory records confirm that it was delivered on 13th November 1959. Its owner during the 1960s was 'a most fastidious enthusiast' who stripped, cleaned and reassembled it annually. It was overhauled in 2007 by Len Haggis and then sold at Bonhams auction this year for £9200. It came with heaps of historic paperwork, MoT, buff logbook, a 1962 HP agreement and V5C

Touring DBD

BSA Gold Star £12,995. Bargain...

This DBD34 is currently in touring trim but comes with all the components to return it to clubman's spec including the 1.5-inch GP carb and float, although you'll enjoy easier starting with the Mikuni which is fitted at present. It has Dunlop alloy rims and the 190mm hot front stopper. It's offered for sale by model specialist Len Haggis who reckons that 'all electrics work well. The general condition is virtually concours. The clubman petrol tank is superb.' It has a full MoT: yours for £12,995

1957 500

BSA Gold Star £9,890. Bargain...

This DB34 Goldie was sold at Bonhams auction this year for £9890. It was fully restored by the vendor's late father back in 2000 and on the road in 2004. It had been dry stored since then and needed re-commissioning

Clubmans 500

BSA Gold Star £13,250. Bargain...

This DBD34 was restored during 1996 by Steve Tonkin and was rated as being in 'very good condition throughout' when it sold at H&H auction 18 months ago for £13,250. It came with alloy rims and the beefy 190mm front brake, plus V5C and the buff logbook

Snap It Up

BSA Gold Star £9,950. Bargain...

Here's one which might still be for sale at www.VentureClassics.com if you're quick; a DB32 which is now in touring trim although it started life as a scrambler. The frame and engine numbers correspond with the factory dispatch records and this bike has been known to the Gold Star Club since 1984. It's described as being an 'excellent runner in good honest and used condition. The engine is mechanically very quiet and nice and responsive' It still has the 'SCT gearbox fitted but the gearing is quite suited to road use' and it's not too posh to ride: 'quite presentable but not a show winner.' Yours for £9950.

350 Upgraded

BSA Gold Star £13,513. Bargain...

Another Steve Tonkin restoration, this one started life as a 1956 350 but was rebuilt as a 500 in 2001 during a full restoration which incorporated a roller bearing crankshaft, belt primary drive/clutch, five-speed gearbox and Amal Concentric Mk2 carb. After the rebuild it travelled less than 3000 miles before going under the hammer with Bonhams this year. The seller reckoned it 'starts easily, rides well and performs and sounds exactly as a Goldie should.' Someone was obviously happy to pay the going 500cc rate for a non-standard machine: it sold for £13,513

1956 Clubmans

BSA Gold Star £15,000. Bargain...

This 1956 Clubman's spec DBD34 is on sale with a dealer at the moment, accompanied by a slightly scary £15,000 price tag which feels like a lot considering that the major components didn't start their lives together. However, for that money you do get an MoT'd motorcycle with a stack of provenance and paperwork including letters from the club confirming its current specification. The frame originally left the factory in the January of '56 and was shipped to Indonesia. The engine was built in May of '56 and was sent to the USA but came back, marked as an incorrect order. The in 1960 the frame and engine were united. In more recent times the motor has been stripped back to bare bones and rebuilt with a new crankshaft, bearings and piston. The Powerdynamo ignition unit makes starting it easier; the 8-inch brake does the stopping. It's also fitted with an RR2 gearbox, 1.5-inch GP carb and modern rubber

Ready To Ride

BSA Gold Star £10,350. Bargain...

This 1960 DBD34 came up for sale at Bonhams auction and was described as being 'correct' after a five year long restoration to an 'excellent' specification with period documentation. The buyer paid £10,350 for it in 'sparkling condition… absolutely ready for the road'

Cornish CB32

BSA Gold Star £4,000. Bargain...

This CB32 is a perfect example of how different vintage engines and frames end up married together. The bike started life as a touring Goldie which was registered in Cornwall in 1954, but its current frame dates from 1956 and we don't quite know when the two parts merged. The result is a complete but unrestored machine with a range of previous tax discs and receipts for work done over the years. It sold at H&H auction for £4000

Bitsa Beesa

BSA Gold Star £4,000. Bargain...
Buy one of these instead:

This bike appeared recently at online auction with an asking price of £4000. It's an amalgamation which was created in the 1980s with a 1958 CB32 frame and a 1952 ZB32 engine. The numbers on the V5C match the registration plate but don't match either number on the engine or frame…

The Very First?

And finally, you have to admire an optimist. A seller in Australia has offered 'the first Gold Star engine ever built' for sale at (…wait for it…) £250,000. It's a 1938 JM24 which the seller describes as 'original in every respect. It is unrestored and has never been touched. Raced briefly prewar then again in the early 50s. I have resisted even cleaning it up too much. I have a dating certificate for this M24 by John Gardiner and it looks like it was typed with a real typewriter.'

BSA Gold Star £250,000. Not a bargain...

When the price was queried, the seller replied: 'It's probably worth at least a million but the economy is down so I will have to settle for half that.' Strewth, mate!

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Club Matters

With bikes as rare and valuable as these, expert advice and detailed historical information is invaluable. The BSA Gold Star Owners' Club should be the first port of call for anyone considering the purchase of a Goldie, and the club also welcomes enthusiasts of the twin-cylinder Rocket Gold Star too. It has around 800 members worldwide, publishes a monthly magazine and organises national and local events throughout the UK. Annual membership is £25. Details from www.bsagoldstar ownersclub.com or send an SAE to K Clarke, 16 Eastgate, Scotton, Gainsborough DN21 3QP

BSA Gold Star. Bargain at any price...

Further Reading

You can find out what we thought of a genuine DBD34 and its stablemate DB32 in the road test which appeared in the June 2009 issue (RC62) of RealClassic magazine, available to buy online here...


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