Wish upon a Gold Star 1962 BSA Gold Star Catalina

In 1937 Wal Handley came out of retirement to ride a three-lap race for BSA at Brooklands. (A track I’ve been too that is pretty much gone but it has a neat museum there now.) This was unusual in itself, as BSA had taken no involvement in road racing since the disastrous 1921 Senior TT when all the machines entered failed to finish. Winning the race, with a fastest lap of 107.5 mph, Wal earned himself the Gold Star (awarded for race laps in excess of 100 mph) and with it launched the Gold Star marque.

As I understand it the Gold Star was made up the best components BSA was making at the time. They were a Factory made race ready bike. Because of the manufacturing techniques of the era some pieces would be close to perfect and some pieces would just barely meet specs. Parts like cases and cranks. BSA would check these parts as they assembled the bikes and put the cream of the crop in the Gold Stars. That’s not the only thing that set them apart from their standard bikes. They came with Alloy Barrels and Cylinder heads. Out of the box these bikes would go 90mph, pretty good for it’s day. By the time they got to 1955 the bikes were pretty much perfected and became something you would order and not see at a dealership. The later ones have really low production numbers and can bring a pretty hefty value.

Read closely and ask questions… From the seller:

Restoration is almost complete on this rare and collectible BSA Gold Star, the best bike BSA has ever built. The engine and transmission, wheels, frame, and components have been totally and professionally restored. Over $6,800 spent on parts and labor, not including the cost of the bike. Cases vapor blasted, frame coated. New parts include seat, handle bars, levers, lots of stainless hardware and components. All parts included in the sale are pictured. you’ll need a tank, pipes, and ignition. Most of the parts are here and the decision is yours – finish it as a scrambler, Gold Star cafe, custom cafe, flat track, your imagination is the limit. the hard work is already done… Forced sale, this motorcycle is one of my prized possessions and it has been in a climate controlled environment. Located in San Francisco, California. No title, sold with a bill of sale.

No title and missing some key pieces like the tank makes for the possibility of a fair price buy in on this project. If you’ve always wanted to dominate the competition on the vintage race track or just have a very uniques investment this bike is for you. These come up for sale very rarely so it’s hard to put an exact value on it. The Nada Guide has a perfect one valued at $15k. This auction will prove or disprove Nada’s accuracy.  Since “the holy grail” is used to describe certain bikes I hesitate to say this is the Holy Grail of classic sport bikes but I might say it’s the holy grail of the BSA’s.


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  1. December 14, 2012

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