1956 BSA 500cc Catalina Gold Star. Introduced in 1938, the Gold Star is a supremely versatile machine. Gaining popularity after World War II, it was available in 350cc or 500cc displacement and could be ordered to conquer many motorcycle duties, including touring, spec, roadracing, flat track or scrambles. It proved to be a huge success at the Isle of Man in the Clubmans class, and in off-road spec, enjoyed wins in the ISDT. In 1956, on a little island off the coast of Southern California, BSA works rider Chuck Minert took the win at the Catalina Grand Prix ahead of nearly 1,000 other riders. Capitalizing on that success, a race replica was produced, the Gold Star Catalina Scrambler.
The 1956 BSA 500cc Catalina Gold Star offered was the subject to a full restoration some years ago, by a local Orange County restorer and British bike specialist, with highly acclaimed Del Mar Concours d’Elegance wins to his credit. Unfortunately, he has since passed away. Acquired by our vendor some years ago, the bike is reported to have run exceptionally well. It was part of a small but discerning collection of cars and motorcycles. As an expert in the field, he said, “For a Gold Star, it is quite easy to start… for a Gold Star. If you get it wrong, it will kick you over the handlebars!” He says it was fast and smooth, before being placed on static display. From there it went into storage and has languished there since. Now, thinning the herd a little, presents an opportunity to acquire a genuine example of the revered Catalina Gold Star, which is, unusually, titled and registered in California. Just put a brake light on it and enjoy it on the road.