The history behind the name Gold Star deserves sharing: Wal Handley came out of retirement to race BSA’s then-flagship, the Empire Star (a cool name in its own right) at the Brooklands circuit, where he attained an average speed of 107 mph – in 1937 – where he was awarded the Brooklands Gold Star, a highly coveted prize. So impressed were BSA with the accomplishment that its next flagship model bore the name.

With a history like that, Gold Stars had a lot to live up to. BSA didn’t disappoint, as the Gold Star is arguably regarded as the greatest British Single ever produced. What made it so great? The top-of-the-line, 499cc versions used all alloy cylinder barrels and heads, making them extremely light. According to Classic British Motorcycles, the hand-built engines were available with “different compression ratios, cams, carburetors & exhaust systems, and two different cylinder heads, one for the Trials version and the other for everything else.” In this case, “everything else” included touring, motocross, scrambles, and road racing. Improvements to the Gold Star kept coming through to the late 1950s, but by the 1960s the Single just wasn’t keeping up with the more advanced, and multi-cylindered, competition. Production of the Gold Star ceased in 1963.