Steve McQueen’s Beloved 1968 Husqvarna Motorcycle Heading To Auction
Steve McQueen was Hollywood’s cool, anti-hero star. And he also collected incredible toys befitting that image. His cars and motorcycles were amazing.
And one of those motorcycles is going up for auction. It was his 1968 Husqvarna Viking 360. And Steve McQueen might’ve loved it the best considering it was his first Husqvarna dirt bike, one he bought on a whim.
The Robb Report said that the McQueen dirt bike is available at RM Sotheby’s upcoming sale, which runs from Aug. 12-14. The bike is expected to fetch a price in the six figures. The bike is powered by a single-cylinder, two-stroke engine. It weighs about 215 pounds and could produce 37 horsepower.
Legend has it that Steve McQueen first saw the bike as he watched an Inter-Am motocross series in Santa Cruz, Calif. Bengt Aberg was racing the bike for the Husqvarna factory team. And McQueen was so impressed that he bought it after Aberg’s third race. The purchase started his relationship with Husqvarna, a Swedish company. It probably would take a celebrity of McQueen’s stature to get Aberg to part with his bike. Aberg twice won the Motocross world championship. He was 24 when he met McQueen.
Big Garage: Steve McQueen Owned 200 Motorcycles
Steve McQueen owned about 200 motorcycles. He also loved to race dirt bikes, especially in extreme events like a 500-mile race through the Mojave desert. He often entered the race under the name Harvey Mushman.
McQueen also loved Triumph bikes. And his riding was featured in the 1961 movie, The Great Escape. McQueen did much of his own riding, with his Triumph TR6 bike made to look like a BMW. Bud Elkins, McQueen’s friend, was the actor’s stunt double and performed the infamous jump scene. Insurance precluded McQueen from doing it.
And in 1964, Steve McQueen, Elkins and several other friends competed in the International Six Days Enduro event in East Germany. McQueen carried the American flag in the opening ceremonies.
McQueen’s Tough Guy Act Was Authentic
Steve McQueen played the definitive cool tough guy. And his act was authentic. At 17, he received his mother’s permission and enlisted in the Marines. He spent three years in the military. But he did get in trouble and served a six-week stint in the brig as punishment for an unauthorized absence. However, he also was a hero, helping to save five Marines during a military exercise in the Arctic. He finished his service as part of an Honor Guard for Harry S. Truman’s presidential yacht.
His first movie role was in 1956 on the movie Somebody Up There Likes Me. Two years later, he joined the cast of TV series, Trackdown. Robert Culp starred on the show. McQueen knew Culp from moto racing.
Steve McQueen showed off his love for fast cars in the classic movie, Bullitt. He played Frank Bullitt, a San Francisco police detective. The movie featured a chase scene, with McQueen driving his Ford Mustang through the windy streets of San Francisco. McQueen did the closeups, but a stunt man did the driving.
But Steve McQueen died young. He was only 50 when he passed away from cancer. McQueen went to Juarez, Mexico, across the border from El Paso, Tx, for experimental surgery. He lived through the procedure but died of heart failure hours after it was finished.