He was, in short, the coolest Hollywood type to ever ride a bike, and it’s that sort of real wrench-monkey cachet that led a collector to lay down nearly a million dollars for a racing suit once owned by the legendary actor and gearhead, Steve McQueen.
The astounding price is, if nothing else, testament to the enduring appeal of the motor-racing-obsessed actor.
The suit in question, worn by McQueen in the 1971 film “Le Mans,” went for $984,000 as part of an auction run by the Los Angeles auction house Profiles in History. The orange and blue striped suit is yet another example of the stunning amounts of money lavished on sales of the actors’ cars, motorcycles and assorted personal property. Collectors appear to lust after any association with McQueen, the King of Cool, and it was his insistence on taking risks like driving racing cars, flying vintage planes, racing dirtbikes across the desert that sealed his ascension to the pinnacle of motorcycle cool.
The extent to which the McQueen name drives up the price of items associated with the man is only ramping up. Back in 2007, a 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso once owned by McQueen sold for and astounding $2.3 million. Last year, McQueen’s 1971 Husqvarna 400 Cross sold for $144,500 and a 1969 Porsche 911S drove during some of the non-racing scenes in “Le Mans” went for nearly $1.4 million.
Though the actor was most often associated with Triumphs and Husqvarnas, he also found time to spend ride a number of Japanese two stroke bikes such as the 1971 Honda CR250 Elsinore, ridden here for a Japanese TV commercial. The CR250 was dubbed the “Elsinore”, after the off-road race held at Lake Elsinore, in which Steve competed in 1970, entering as one Harvey Mushman.
The site mcqueenonline.com adds that McQueen was paid $ 1 million for his appearance in this ad.
You Ride Hard and Fast…