1951 BSA GOLD STAR – WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Of course the origins of the Gold Star name is the stuff of legend. When Wal Handley lapped the Brooklands at over 100 MPH in 1937 on a BSA Empire Star, he was awarded the coveted Gold Star. Anyone who broke “the ton” (100 MPH) in those days got one. BSA was so jazzed about it that they introduced a modified version of the Empire Star with many racing enhancements as the BSA Gold Star starting the following year, 1938. The Gold Star remained in production pretty much as is until 1963. The name was resurrected again in for the unit-construction B50 Gold Stars of 1970-72. During it’s earlier life, the BSA Gold Star was a legend, as a highly-competitive dirt bike, desert racer, scrambler, road racer and street bike. It was a best-seller for BSA for years.
1951 BSA GOLD STAR DESIGN
After a brief absence during World War II, the Gold Star returned with its prewar rigid frame. BSA introduced a 348cc version of the Gold Star with a new all-alloy top end that saved 20 pounds over the cast iron unit, designated YB32 in 1948. All were hand-assembled and bench-tested. In 1949, BSA launched the new 499cc ZB34 Gold Star with a new crankshaft & improved main bearings and yet another change in nomenclature, this time to ZB34. In 1950, both the 350 and 500 Gold Stars got bigger front brakes. The plunger rear suspension would be replaced with a swing arm in 1953.