1956 BSA DB34 Gold Star 500cc Motorcycle
Built from 1938 until 1963, BSA's classic Gold Star family of 350cc and 500cc four-stroke singles are now regarded as being the Birmingham company's most successful motorcycle, recognised as one the fastest and best handling bikes of the era and a true purpose-built, hand-made racer. The original Gold Star was the M24 model, with an alloy 500cc engine, Electron alloy gearbox and lightweight frame that proved popular with racers in the pre-war period. BSA adopted the name in recognition of Wal Handley's victory at Brooklands in a 3-lap race, where any lap over 100 mph was rewarded with a “Gold Star” pin and he handily exceeded this with a best of 107.5 mph. Post-war, BSA released a new model, the largely hand-made B32 of 1948 and each 350cc was engine was bench tested, with the dyno result sheet included with every motorcycle. Sold in several different variants, including touring, trials, scrambler and racing models, the B32 (and larger capacity B34 model that followed in 1949) underwent almost constant development throughout the 1950s, with notable improvements including a swingarm duplex frame in 1953, the optional CB engine (with extra cooling fins, stronger crankshaft, improved valve gear and an Amal GP carburettor) in 1954 and the DB model of 1955, with better front brakes and improved oil feed. For 1956, BSA offered four variants of the DB34, including the standard DB, the DBD (with clip-on handlebars, an alloy finned engine, polished tank, swept-back exhaust and 36mm Amal carburettor), the Short Circuit and Daytona models. The rigid frame Daytona was built in strictly limited numbers (around 300 were made), primarily for dirt track racing and as factory trail bikes. The Gold Star proved hugely successful on the track, dominating the Isle of Man Clubmans TT from the inaugural event in 1949, along with a win at the Daytona 200-mile race in 1954 and many more in off-road events around the world, and survivors are coveted by collectors around the world today.