McQueen's Le Mans Lola to star at $1m in Silverstone auction

A 1969 Lola T70 used in Steve McQueen's Le Mans movie will sell at a classic car auction held at the famous Silverstone, UK racetrack on February 23.

Steve McQueen Le Mans car
The Lola has had an illustrious ownership aside from starring in the Le Mans film

The T70 MkIII B, one of the three featured in the 1971 epic, has been given a £550,000-650,000 ($856,000-1m) estimate. It was dressed to look like the illustrious Gulf-Porsche 917 for the film and starred as a double in a scene where the Porsche is supposedly ploughed into the barriers during a race.

The wreckage was then bought for spares and repairs in 1971 by Roger Bolton, who gave it a much needed rebuild. It was then painted red and driven for just a few years, before being placed in storage in 1975. In 1994 the MkIII B was brought out of retirement and sold to John Starkey, a noted Lola T70 historian who, after restoring it to racing condition, passed it to Martin Birrane, owner of Lola Cars.

It has since competed successfully at the hands of both Birrane and its present owner, including at the 2004 and 2006 Le Mans Classic races.

With top provenance and having been returned to its original racing livery, the Lola can expect strong results, as can any car that has associations with Steve McQueen - among the most famous of all car collectors. Selling in March is the 1951 Chevrolet Styleline DeLuxe Convertible that was featured in his last ever film.

A Ford GT40 Gulf-Mirage Racer that served as a camera car in Le Mans became the most valuable US car ever sold at auction, in 2012, reaching $11m. Even the watch that McQueen wore for the film - a Heuer Monaco - saw excellent results last year, selling 166.5% above estimate at $799,500.

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