Hollywood and motorcycles – and the men who rode them – have a long and rich history. Two of the great icons of the silver screen are Hollywood bad boys Steve McQueen and Dennis Hopper. Both men were motorcycle aficionados on and off the screen. McQueen’s cycle exploits in 1963 film The Great Escape are screen legend. And Hopper’s seminal role as director and actor in the classic Easy Rider cemented him as a rebel and counter culture icon. Now at the upcoming Celebrity Items Auction you can bid on motorcycles own by the two screen legends.
McQueen motorcycle is a 1971 Husqvarna 400 Cross, which he rode and raced. Hopper’s bike is a 1968 Husqvarna 250T Commando. Hopper raced motorcycles with McQueen along the dirt firebreaks from Coldwater Canyon to the Pacific, cruised with the Hells Angels, and owned several motorcycles throughout his lifetime.
McQueen’s 1971 Husqvarna 400 Cross with its signature red and chrome gas tank patch, mud flap, Magura cables, and brake and clutch lever dust covers, is identical to the one McQueen famously rode shirtless on the cover of “Sports Illustrated” and in the whimsical beach scene outside of Camp Pendleton for “On Any Sunday.”
Hopper’s 1968 Husqvarna 250T Commando is one of only 300 Commando’s ever produced and includes many special features: 21″ front, single cylinder two-stroke engine, CEV speedometer, headlight, horn and tail light, leather tank bag and single muffler. An original DMV release of liability shows the Husqvarna was originally registered to Dennis Lee Hopper of Venice, California, and will be included in this sale. This is the first time ever a Hopper bike has been offered at auction and Mecum is honored to bringing it across the block.
Also of note is the sale of McQueen’s personal bicycle, a late 1890s Hendee & Nelson Silver King. This unique piece pre-dates the Hendee & Nelson work bikers have come to know and love, as co-founders and partners of the famed Indian Motorcycle Company. The bicycle features solid rubber tires on wooden rims, a vintage leather seat, and a portion of 19th century lantern on the front handlebars. A painted plaque that reads “Steve McQueen” hangs from the cross bar. The bike comes with a letter of authenticity signed by McQueen’s widow Barbara Minty McQueen.
Previously announced vehicles for sale include items owned by Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Ringo Starr and Bette Davis.
The sales of these vehicles is being held by Mecum Auctions at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, CA July 26-27, 2013.
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.