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Steve McQueen still rates among bike collectors

Sunday Husky 400 Cross Steve McQueen collectors

Steve McQueen motorcycles and memorabilia continues to rate highly among collectors with his 1970 Husqvarna 400 Cross selling for $US230,500 (A326,610) at a weekend auction.

The Hollywood star and national endurance motorcycle representative rode the Husky in the closing beach scenes of the 1971 film On Any Sunday.

His Husky had previously sold at a Bonham’s action in 2011 for $US144,500 ($A204,773). That’s a 153% increase. Not a bad return for any collectors!

Collectors bid

It was a highlight of Bonhams’ first auction at the famed Barber Motorsports Museum in Birmingham, Alabama.

But that’s not all. McQueen’s 1970 Bell motorcycle helmet fetched a whopping $US21,875 ($A30,989).Steve McQueen collectors

While his 1953 Vincent 498cc Comet Series-C sold for $US63,250 ($A89,438), his unusual Danish 1939 Nimbus Model C Luxus with sidecar did not sell. 

McQueen’s Husky

It is not unexpected that McQueen’s Husky sold for so much.

His 1915 Cyclone sold at a Mecum auction for almost $A1 million in 2015.

Steve McQueen's Cyclone - stars collectors
Steve McQueen’s Cyclone

It was the most expensive bike sold at auction until Australia Day this year when a 1951 Vincent Black Lightning on which Jack Ehret set an Australian speed record was bought at the Bonham’s annual Las Vegas motorcycle auction for a record $US929,000 ($A1,155,000, €748,500) by an unknown collector who is returning the bike to Australia.

Steve McQueen husky stars collectors
Steve McQueen playing on the beach in On Any Sunday

McQueen’s Husky is perhaps one of the most iconic bikes in popular culture, along with the Easy Rider choppers and the Terminator 2 Fat Boy which sold at action in June 2018 for more than $US480,000 (about $A631,500).

The Husky also featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated ridden by a shirtless McQueen, the King of Cool.

Sunday Husky 400 Cross Steve McQueen stars collectors
Sports Illustrated cover photo

It was offered with extensive documentation, including the ownership card from the California Department of Motor Vehicles naming Solar Productions (McQueen’s production company) and McQueen’s entry form for the 1970 Saddleback 500 Senior Race.

Adding to the star value was a lucky penny – an uncirculated 1960 1¢ coin (1960 being the birth year of son Chad) – that was found inside a clear plastic case tucked away in the cavity of the motorcycle between the engine and frame. 

Collectors shun celebrities

Meanwhile, some of the other “celebrity” motorcycles owned by Hollywood stars or that featured in movies did not sell at the auction.

They include: