Steve McQueen's Indian motorcycle expected to bring $43,000

An Indian motorcycle once owned by Hollywood legend Steve McQueen (1930-1980) is set to cross the block at Bonhams Stafford in the UK on April 28. The American actor's motorbike is expected to bring between £22,000 ($33,590) and £28,000 (42,731).

Steve McQueen motorbike auction
Steve McQueen's Indian is offered from a private collection

The 1941 Indian Model F lacks a clutch, throttle, and, somewhat worryingly, since it could reach speeds of up to 100mph, brakes. It was designed to be push started and run flat out. In order to stop the bike, its rider would have had to short the magneto in order to stall the engine.

Bonhams' Ben Walker comments: "In this age of health and safety the idea of riding at 100mph with no helmet or protective clothing, knowing you have no way of stopping in a hurry, is a terrifying thought - but this is just what they did."

McQueen famously starred in 1971 action film Le Mans, which centres on the track's famous race. Himself an avid motorbike and racing enthusiast, the Bonhams bike can be understood as symbolic of the star's private persona, successful career and personal passions, and will no doubt appeal to collectors.

There is a large and passionate market for cars and bikes relating to the life and career of McQueen. In March 2013, McQueen's 1951 Chevrolet Styleline sold for $84,000 (minus buyer's premium), while in 2006 his 1912 Indian motorcycle brought $55,575.

For more information on the investment potential of the market, see Paul Fraser Collectibles' free guide to investing in classic cars.

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