Gold Star DBD34

Gold Star DBD34

SM 500 Goldieweb.jpg (71950 bytes) This is what a Gold Star ought to look like (as in Sammy Miller's museum).  For those not in the know, the model would now be called a (an?) homologation special.  They were called "clubman's", the implication being that said clubman would ride the bike to the race track, unplug the headlamp (yes, you could) win the race, plug the headlamp back in, and ride home.  
Seems a bit unlikely to me, but the bike worked well enough for them to have to cancel the production TT because no other 'production' bike could rival it.  Could you think of a less suitable machine for somebody working in central London?  Clip-on bars, high, rear-set footrests, close ratio gearbox requiring clutch-slipping until 20mph, a massive carburettor and radical valve overlap to ensure that slow running was at least dodgy, and tick-over an impossibility.  I had to have one!
PTGoldie.jpg (79677 bytes) But I had no money and earned (that's a bit strong) 8 a week - it had to be cheap.  With cheap, comes nasty, and having purchased (on HP) a rough machine (broken fin, tank badges missing, nasty alloy 'guards in place of original chrome, ugly amateurish air-scoop on front brake - check out the picture) the crank-pin broke at Thames Ditton less than an hour after leaving the shop at Forest Hill (near Dulwich). 
PTGold 3web.jpg (23548 bytes) The shop suggested I'd over-revved it, but when I explained that I'd done little but blip the throttle and slip the clutch since I'd left them, they were more accommodating.  They supplied and fitted the new parts under warranty, and invited me to pay for new mains (4 I think) which they installed while they were there.  Pretty fair in the end, but I was lucky it broke when it did!
PTGold 5web.jpg (154664 bytes) I later fitted the obligatory 5 gallon fibre-glass tank, but, like its owner, it remained scruffy to the end of its days!  I don't think I ever got the ton out of it, as every time I got near it, something important would fall off.  The biggest culprit was the magneto, which used to shake to bits.  But with a Goldie, it's not so much the speed as the manner in which it is delivered.  Even as I type this, a tingle runs up my spine at the recollection.
PTGold 6.jpg (156215 bytes) I don't know if mine was typical, but once out of town it displayed two distinct but equally satisfactory characteristics.  Below 5,000rpm (and above 2,000!), it was a typical soft torquey single.  You could cruise at 80+ with the engine gently pobbling away.  At that speed, the wind took the weight off your wrists and it was a relaxing ride.  Most cars then could only do about 70, and when you wished to pass one swiftly, you dropped two gears (there was only 500rpm between top and 3rd) and changed from Dr Jekyll into Mr Hyde!
manfredmannsleeve.jpg (43825 bytes) At about this time, Manfred Mann released a song called  "Ha, ha, said the clown" which had a rising glissando (if that's the word) in it, like somebody was sliding something hard up all the strings at once.  This was what it sounded like as you hit 5,000 rpm.  From pobbling along in B33 mode, the 'bom-bom' exhaust note would suddenly blend into a harmonic grinding roar, and the power would double (it seemed) in an instant, the rev counter flying round to the 7,000 red-line (not that the 'Smiths Chronometric' had one of those).  I was shocked to discover the sound I remembered so well on the record only lasted a second (I had to stretch it a bit for the link above).  
I was still nipping home to Portsmouth at weekends, and frequently, my friends used to accompany me back on a Sunday afternoon - just for the ride.  One of our landmarks was the KLG plug factory on Roehampton Vale (now an AsDa (sorry WalMart), I think).  Sometimes I would get up early and ride in on Monday morning.  I remember one day coming up the straight towards Esher, which was then 3 lane(!), following a van in the middle lane who had indicated right to overtake (I thought!), only to find he was turning right.  The much vaunted 190mm brake had very wide shoes, but not a lot of leverage, and only one leading.  I read somewhere that Mike Hailwood rode a Lightning in the Thruxton 500 (or was it the 'Hutch'?) fitted with  one of these brakes.  After the race, the mechanic (who had spent most of the previous evening tweaking said device) asked Hailwood how he had found the brakes  .  .  .  "Brakes, what brakes?" was said to be his reply.  I was nowhere near as polite, as with lever pulled back and pedal pressed down with all my might I managed to find a gap between the van and the vehicle in the inside lane through which I wobbled with total loss of dignity.  That'll teach me to pay more attention!
One of my most embarrassing moments with the Goldie stemmed from my reluctance to buy fashionably tight (but expensive!) jeans, and the angle of the kickstart lever on the RRT2 box (I tried to find a font to match how badly the magic letters were stamped onto the case, but I don't seem to have access to 'Kids' in Frontpage).  Being 'boracic' (lint = skint), I used to buy my jeans at Tesco's, where they were 11/6 (about 58p) but, by holding the pack upside down, I used to get them for 9/11 (less than 50p), a saving of 1/7, and 10 'Guards' were only 2/0 then!  
RRT2KS.jpg (33897 bytes) With my newly fitted, black, fibreglass 'racing' tank with quick-release filler, I rode up to the junction at the end of my road and pulled up at the stop sign, smirking at the lesser beings hanging around outside the 'Barrack Cellars'.  Casually, I put down my right foot, my left poised over the brake pedal.  Unfortunately  .  .  .  my foot never reached the ground.  The leg of my floppy jeans had slipped neatly over the kickstart lever and left my foot dangling in mid air.  There was no escape - still in mid-smirk I slowly, but inexorably (have you ever heard that word before except in a hymn!) keeled over and crashed to the ground.  Good job I was out of gear!
Rob01.jpg (182325 bytes) Thanks to my mother's enthusiasm for gimmicks, which included a clockwork cine camera in the late '50s, I have a rather blurred, but still extant reminder of these happy days.  In all there were 4 of us schoolmates who owned Goldies.  Robert was the first with the gorgeous DB32 previously mentioned.
RAS1.jpg (217632 bytes) He later sold this to Ian (whose rather respectable parents did not approve but, on the other hand, let him get on with it).  The picture's pretty dreadful, but a frame grab of a video of a 40 year old bit of well used standard 8 is never going to be good!.  Rob then bought a NorGold which was, essentially, a 350 racer.  It had no lights and no kickstart and an absolutely yummy fairing.  We all went up to Bromley when he went to collect it, and sat waiting in a nice leafy close, as usual having to blip our throttles to keep the beasts going.  For some reason the entire neighbourhood, mostly dressed in long khaki shorts, turned out to berate us.  You'd think on a sunny sunday afternoon they'd have something better to do.  
RAS2.jpg (243343 bytes) Another lousy video grab!  the bike was good for over a ton, and in fact was clocked at 105 by our local fuzz's Austin Westminster, which announced its presence in those days with the bell on the front bumper.  It was all Rob could do not to ask for it in writing, but instead he had the presence of mind to tell them, that he was getting married and was selling it the following day, and they let him off!
gstar1 copy.jpg (24461 bytes) The fourth member was Dave.  I can't remember where he got his bike (a DBD34), but it was rather special, in that it had all sorts of goodies made from alloy billets, including an enormous bell-mouth for the carb, and 190mm brakes in both wheels.  The tank held both oil and petrol and its desirability is exemplified by the fact that it was stolen and recovered twice in London before being finally removed from outside his house in Portsmouth.  It was his declared intention to keep it in a glass case on his mantle piece when he became too old to ride it - or married - whichever came first.
UNOHeadLtP.jpg (247644 bytes) In all I managed to use 8 minutes of the movie to create a video complete with sound effects off the internet, and suitable '60s music.  Sad to say, I was unable to find any Goldie stuff, neither full bore nor whiffle (Manfred Mann was the nearest I could get) so I had to make do with Manxes, G50s and a Ve******e Goldie lookalike (oh, the shame of it).   

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