(Above) Steve McQueen’s 1971 Husqvarna Moto-Cross 250 is now up for auction. (Below) The original invoice for the motorcycle for the purchase of the motorcycle.
Steve McQueen helped bring motorcycling to the mainstream in America thanks to his support of and appearance in the iconic film “On Any Sunday,” his 1971 Sports Illustrated Cover, a not-so-covert race career under the name Harvey Mushman and many other escapades. One of the most recognizable and successful actors of the 1960s and ‘70s, McQueen’s fame in both the movie and motorcycle worlds have made his personal bikes valuable collector’s items. Now there’s now another chance to own a piece of history. One of his 1971 Husqvarna Moto-Cross 250s, with documentation of McQueen’s ownership, has recently come on the block…though it won’t be cheap. The starting bid is listed at $50,000.
McQueen’s love affair with two wheels started with a 1946 Indian Chief, which he bought after returning from his post in the Marines in the ‘50s. By the end of the decade his acting career was taking off, but his love of motorcycling ran deep. In 1956, while married to Neile Adams (who was in Hollywood at the time shooting a film while McQueen remained in New York) he made the decision to fly out to LA. Just before heading out, however, plans changed and he decided to take a trip to Cuba instead (who cares about a violent revolution, right?) for a motorcycle adventure with friends.
In the early ‘60s McQueen happened upon some off-road riders in Southern California and immediately bought a Triumph 500cc off-roader. With the help of friend and legendary Hollywood stunt man Bud Ekins, McQueen learned how to handle himself in the dirt and after some years began racing in prestigious events like the Baja 1000, Mint 400, the International Six Days Trial and Lake Elsinore Grand Prix. He was even given a post at Popular Science writing motorcycle reviews for a time in the ‘60s.
When Husqvarna began making waves in the states in the early ‘70s, McQueen wasted no time in getting his hands on a bike from the Swedish marque. He rode a Husky in “On Any Sunday,” competed at Lake Elsinore in 1970 and ’71 on one and was at the helm of a 400 Cross for the famous Sports Illustrated cover.
One of McQueen’s 400 Cross motorcycles sold at auction in 2011 for $144,500 dollars. The 250 Cross currently available is similar to the one he rode at Lake Elsinore in competition and has been almost completely restored, except for a bit of paint loss on the front fender. There’s an invoice slip included which shows the shipping information for the motorcycle, which was to be sent to Solar Productions (McQueen’s production company) dated October 19, 1971. The note at the bottom reads “ship to Valerians for Steve to have picked up.” Balance due at the time was $898 dollars.
Check out the McQueen 1971 Husqvarna Moto-Cross 250 lot at invaluable.com. If you’re a fan of McQueen, there are a number of other items coming up soon as well, including a pair of personal sunglasses, the Gulf racing jacket he wore during production and promotion of “Le Mans” and others. The auction date is set for December 21, 2013.