Taking a grinder to Britain's motorcycling heritage.
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Sunday, 25 August 2019


If there was one thing the British motorcycle industry loved at showtime, it was a sectioned engine to show prospective buyers the inner workings of their products. BSA, in the Fifties, decided to take it one stage further. This complete BSA Gold Star has been fully opened up from stem to stern to unveil the treasures that lay within. Originally built by BSA for the season-opening 1953 motorcycle show in London's Earl's Court, it was not only fully sectioned, but also motorized to show the functioning components of the engine, including piston, crankshaft, clutch and valves.

 If that didn't bring the crowds flocking to their stand, a second electric motor drives two eccentric discs which not only simultaneously turn the front and rear wheels, but the cam effect of the eccentrics move the wheels up and down on their suspensions. Static sectioned parts include the petrol tank, the oil tank, the toolbox, gearbox and front fork legs, even the Lucas horn! Brakes are also sectioned and the rear suspension damper bodies are reproduced in clear Lucite to show the flow of their oil supply when working. 

This must, surely, be the pinnacle of the cutaway art form.
BSA modified the Gold Star for the 1956 show when developments made the CB components of the 1953 model were no longer on the cutting edge of Small Heath deveopment. It returned to Earl's Court as a DB/DBD model. 

The trail taken by these cutaways after their show days is never clear or straight forward, but Bob Schanz, owner of DomiRacer vintage bikes and parts in Cincinnati, Ohio, was surprised to discover the Goldie in the hands of famous New Zealand racer Rod Coleman and his brother at their motorcycle shop in NZ in 1986. Long-term negotiations ensued as the Colemans were reluctant sellers, but Schanz persisted and eventually the BSA became the pride of his collection and was placed in front of the parts counter at DomiRacer for a long time. 

In Schanz's care, lettering on the base was redone in time for the BSA to be loaned to the AMA Museum for exhibit. After it's tour of duty was over in the museum a great deal of detailed restoration was needed to bring it back to it's former show stopping glory . Now fully operational, the mechanism is powered by its two original electric motors, rebuilt to plug into U.S. 210-volt outlets. In the process, it was geared down so it now turns at approximately 9 rpm, half the original speed. Only a maker as big as BSA could be expected to invest the money in a fully motorized and articulated display motorcycle, and this is believed to be the only one ever built. Certainly, BSA never did another


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