BSA… it’s an evocative name for classic bike enthusiasts but it was also a powerhouse of a company back in the 1950s.
Birmingham Small Arms embraced businesses covering military and sporting firearms, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, buses and bodies, steel, iron castings, hand, power, and machine tools, coal cleaning and handling plants, sintered metals and hard chrome process.
But it was its motorcycles which grabbed the headlines. And one of the most revered is the BSA A10 Golden Flash designed by famed engineer Bert Hopwood and produced from 1950 to 1961.
Now, one of the best restored and most accurate Golden Flash ‘Beezas’ has joined the UK’s National Motor at Beaulieu, Hampshire. The 1953 BSA A10 Golden Flash is attracting admiring glances from Beaulieu visitors thanks to its glamorous gold paintwork and polished petrol tank – exactly as it was when new over 60 years ago.
The Golden Flash was generously donated to the National Motor Museum by its long-term owner and is in first-class condition, having received careful restoration work over the years. It perfectly showcases this successful post-war motorcycle design at its best.
Living up to its name, this Golden Flash looks stunning with its gold paintwork but not all examples of this popular model were painted this colour. Black paintwork was standard, while oddly the gold colour option was referred to as ‘beige’ in period BSA advertising. However, the appealing combination of name and colour has helped cement the model’s place in history.
Introduced in 1950, the A10 Golden Flash built on the success of the previous BSA A7 but offered greater power and pace to compete with BSA’s arch-rival Triumph. Its upright 646ccc twin-cylinder engine was new for the model, producing 35bhp which was enough to propel a daring owner up to 100mph. Not all owners tested the performance limits of their motorcycles, with many preferring to fit practical sidecars to carry luggage or an extra passenger.
The Golden Flash received a series of design tweaks during the 1950s. This 1953 example is fitted with plunger-type suspension on its rear wheel with buyers also able to specify a rigid frame as an alternative, although this was later revised with swinging arm rear suspension.