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How to revive an icon: Part one

2 years ago

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Andrew English | Journalist


4 August 2022

‘Never go back,’ said Agatha Christie, but she was talking about a place where you were once happy, which might not be the case with an old car badge. So, should you, could you, ever go back to the once-great car and motorcycle building names of the past?

We’re witnessing something of a revival this summer as prices have just been announced for the born-again BSA Gold Star (they start at £6800 if you were wondering) and I wouldn’t be alone in rather fancying one. The Gold Star (aka, Goldie, or DBD34) was one of the most iconic British motorcycle names; small wonder the name has been disinterred and fed into the Dr Frankenstein machine.

At its peak, BSA or Birmingham Small Arms Company was the world’s largest motorcycle maker, but by the late 1950s the writing was on the wall as complacent management failed to understand the threat of the Japanese motorcycle industry. My friend bought one of the last-ever BSA 650cc Lightning models and while entirely gorgeous in so many ways, it was also a rattling, unreliable, oil-burning, leaky disgrace, which was easily outrun by its Yamaha RD250 contemporary.

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