An icon illustrated: Bonhams' bike sale stars Steve McQueen motorcycle

Bonhams, widely recognised as a leader in the auctioning of motor vehicles, have announced their Quail Lodge motorcycle sale, pencilled in for May.  This follows the auctioneer's triumphant inaugural motorcycle sale in January - held in Las Vegas - where 200 bikes were snapped up by collectors and investors for more than $2.5m.

The 'Exceptional Motorcycles and Related Memorabilia' auction will undoubtedly include a plethora of fantastic lots, but the clear highlight is a 1971 Husqvarna 400 motorcycle ridden by none other than Steve McQueen.  The iconic American actor, who starred in 'The Great Escape' and 'The Magnificent Seven', is pictured straddling the bike on the front of a 1971 edition of Sports Illustrated.


Steve McQueen
Steve McQueen on the cover of Sports Illustrated, 1971

The so-called 'King of Cool' was one of the most popular and highly paid actors of the 1970s, a classic anti-hero and self-confessed motorcycle obsessive.  McQueen paid his way during the early stages of his career by competing in motorcycle races, and was renowned for performing many of his own stunts.


According to the actor's son, the Husqvarna brand - a type of Swedish dirt bike - was McQueen's favourite off-roader.  It was purchased after McQueen's death in 1984, coincidentally in the same location as the Bonhams Las Vegas sale of January.  The bike is accompanied by a wooden trunk of accessories owned by the actor.

The memorable image of McQueen, and his own legendary status, will likely draw collectors and alternative investors from across the globe.  Last year's Quail sale saw a number of classic motorcycles sell for prices as high as $92,000; there is every chance that McQueen's Husqvarna could achieve a similar feat.


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