"All Rocket Gold Stars have the frame number prefixed with GA10 except for the first two test machines. The first one which was dispatched on 31st January 1962 with frame number GA7.12925 was fitted with engine number A10R.6380. Production began in February 1962 and the first bike, frame number GA10 101 was dispatched to BSA New Jersey on 16th February 1962. It was finished in red. There were 1584 bikes made of which 272 were scramblers." (Excerpt from Brian Pollitt article BSA Owners Club)
These beautiful Gold Star Spitfires (GSS) had the same frame as the BSA Rocket Gold Stars (GA10) with the exception of the passenger peg (pillon) frame loops and were advertised as Gold Star Spitfire Scrambler. According to Ian Jackson of the Gold Star Owners Club UK (GSOC), the dispatch records only show 266 GSS's being shipped during the 1963 model year. However as stated above there were 272 made; so that created a mystery!
I happened to stumble upon a GSS owner in Washington who said he had a 1962 GSS according to his title and it did not have the pillon loops (see 1962 Custom below). I asked him to send me the engine and frame numbers so I could check with Ian at the GSOC to confirm when it was shipped and how it was recorded. It turns out it was shipped on 21 June 1962 to Hap Alzina and it was listed in the dispatch records as a A10 Rocket Gold Star. According to Ian there were no references to Scramblers in the 1962 dispatch records as there are in the 1963 dispatch records. I have since discovered and confirmed with Ian 5 more 62's (all shipped to Hap Alzina) that were listed as RGS's in the dispatch records. So if you do the math, that brings the total to 272, but I have also discovered two GSS's less the pillon loops that were listed in 1963 dispatch records as RGS's so we may never know the true number.
In the dispatch records for 1963 the bikes were listed as: RGS Scrambler, A10 R G Star Scrambler, A10 RG Star Scrambles Red. These bikes are commonly referred to as Rocket Gold Star Scramblers, Rocket Gold Star Spitfires, or my preference, Gold Star Spitfires. Take your pick! Geoff Ullmann
This bike belonged to my brother, Brian Ullmann, and the picture was taken during late summer 1964 in Northern New Jersey. The bike was shipped to BSA New Jersey July 21, 1963. He purchased it new on May 7, 1964 from The Sports Spot in Wayne New Jersey pretty much as you see it here. My theory is that the bike was not selling in its original scrambler form (see above picture) so the shop made it street legal. It appears to have had a Bates (KD) headlight and the taillight was a now rare BT&E model made in England. There was a Bates Kit available at the time but it used a Sparto type taillight. My brother had the primary case chromed and he added the reverse cone mufflers. He would take out the baffle plates on the end when he went for rides in the countryside and it gave him great pleasure in scaring all the cows. Unfortunately the bike was stolen about 2-3 months after this picture was taken from a parking lot along with 2-3 other bikes at Farleigh Dickinson University, Rutherford N.J. I am currently restoring a 1963 basket case GSS that had originally been shipped to Vancouver Canada February 28, 1963 and I will attempt to restore it to look exactly like my brother's bike pictured here. (See above tab My GSS Project) G. Ullmann
Dispatched on 3 July 1963 to Hap Alzina - Owner John Batchler
“This bike was shipped to a BSA dealer in Denver, Colo. The deader was Harry’s Motors, which sold BSA, Norton and Ducati. This was the only RGS scrambler that Harry’s ordered. This bike sold in the fall of 1963. In 1973 I saw a BSA for sale in the Denver newspaper, I called on the bike and recognized the bike as the 63 RGS scrambler that Harry’s had sold in 63. I remember the motor number as it was only 3 numbers off from my RGS street bike. The owner had made a street bike out of it. I think that I am the third owner of this bike. This BSA was restored by me in 92.” John Batchel
Dispatched on 21 June 1962 to Hap Alzina - Owner Bill in Seattle
"Bike was bought from Dewey's Cycle Shop Seattle Washington, 10/27/62 by Gordon Devenny, who hill climbed it at the Seattle International Raceways on the hill known as the Widowmaker. It was then sold to Art Foss, of the Foss tugboat family. Art owed me money in 1972 and could not pay it. He had already customized the bike; he had $ 3000.00 in chrome work and labor from a Brit bike mechanic in 1972 dollars. He signed the title over to me and physically gave me the bike to hold as collateral. Art never could come up with the money he owed me, so the bike sat for roughly 12 years, never even moved. It became quite obvious I was the new owner, so I decided to get it running. I ran it from 1984 until it blew a head gasket in 1999; it then sat for 7 more years (too lazy to fix it). Then I got serious in 2006 and did the head gasket, re-did the magneto and dyno, and added a new exhaust, new Fire Engine Red Paint, removed the 18" over front forks, (that was like trying to ride a pogo stick straight forward and all it wanted to do was go sideways), and bought Forks By Frank at 6" over. I then passed the bike skill test with 100% score for my Washington State endorsement. The bike right now, since new, would be lucky to have 10,000 miles on the motor, it is tight and solid." Bill N.
This GSS sold in a Las Vegas auction, January 2011 for $19,750. Following is how the bike was described in the auction lot description: "A fully restored and correct Rocket Gold Star Spitfire Scrambler. This is the real thing with a letter of authenticity from the BSA Owners Club describing its initial sale in the United States in 1963. This bike is one of less than 300 made and was the epitome of off-road competition in the 1960s. The last of the BSA preunits it has been restored to as correct a status as can be determined from original photos and runs great. The RGS Spitfires were only made for two years and each one is unique in many ways from the A10s of the day. It has the 4 lug frame, half width brakes like the Catalina, no rear pillion loops plus several other high performance features."
"I am now the proud owner of this 1963 Rocket Gold Star scrambler, having purchased it from Barnfield Classics in the summer of 2007 in a fairly sorry state. I didn’t know a great deal about them as they are pretty rare in the UK - infact in the world, so I started researching on the internet- mainly American sites- to find out as much detail as possible.
Only 272 were made in 62 and 63 and all dispatched to the States for desert racing and scrambling, half going to Nutley, New Jersey and the other half going to Hap Alzina in California. They were basically a stripped down RGS with high Western or scrambles bars, 2 gallon chrome and candy red tank, no tacho, toolbox, lights or silencers and shod in a pair of Dunlop knobbies." (More.....)
"Restored in 99 as the brochure shows with the A10 small tank I personally think this looks better. A dating certificate was issued in 6/9/2000 from Brian Pollitt (BSA club) it was from Hap Alzina 7/2/63 this was the third one I did I sold the other two to pay for the package of three." Fred Anderson
MORE BIKES _______________________________________________________
Please send me pictures of your GSS restored or not and it's story/history to: firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks! Geoff
If you are a GSS owner and have not already done so, please email Ian Jackson at the GSOC UK (email@example.com) with your engine and frame numbers so you can have your bike recorded. He can also provide you with dispatch record details. To date he only has 28 recorded and there must be more out there!