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1971 Husqvarna 400 Cross - Steve McQueen

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Description:


Lot No: 101

Ex-Steve McQueen, from the 1984 Estate Auction

1971 Husqvarna 400 Cross

Frame no. MI3845
Engine no. MI3845

As off-road motorcycle racing evolved through the 1960s and early 1970s, a movement began away from lightly modified street bikes toward machines designed from the outset for competition. In this period before the Japanese manufacturers came to be involved, the Europeans set the trends, building ever lighter and more powerful machines. Swedish maker Husqvarna came to epitomize the success of motorcycles developed for and extensively raced in closed-course competition. Its models won 14 motocross and 24 enduro (longer distance) titles through the late 1970s.

McQueen's Husqvarna 400 Cross was the latest in a line of big-bore motocross models that combines fearsome power and superb handling. Up to that point, many off-road riders endured heavier, twin-cylinder street models stripped and lightened as much as possible; even so, they were leaden and cumbersome. Along came the two-stroke Husky 400 Cross, featuring a breathtakingly lusty single-cylinder engine suspended in a lightweight steel frame. This was the period before plastics, so the Husky presented a sculpted aluminum fuel tank with a polished section to help reduce marring where the rider meets the bike. The polished/bright-red combination became an iconic symbol for motocross bikes of the 1970s.

Like many off-road enthusiasts, McQueen collected many examples of bikes he loved, using some as "parts bikes" and others as loaners to friends as an inducement to come riding. He was not above using his fame to encourage a sale. "Steve would apply the pressure if he found something he really wanted," said longtime friend and The Great Escape stunt double Bud Ekins. "He'd tell the seller, 'Don't you want to be able to say you sold your bike to Steve McQueen?' And it worked."

Husqvarnas were featured in the indelible On Any Sunday motorcycle movie, which put the company on the map for U.S. riders. Seeing motorcycle legend Malcolm Smith and McQueen kick up long roostertails of sand on the beach outside of Camp Pendleton minted new dirtbke enthusiasts with every showing.

The Husky 400 Cross was a brutal, unforgiving motorcycle, difficult to ride well, which McQueen absolutely did. It embodies McQueen's desire to be taken
seriously as a rider and racer. His mastery of the Husky only helps fuel his legend.

Frame number MI3845 as presented here is perhaps the best known of all McQueen's Huskys by virtue of a known provenance and documentation from the time it was acquired by the star.

It was sold as lot 664 at the Steve McQueen Estate Auction at Imperial Palace on November 25, 1984 in Las Vegas, Nevada, passing through two subsequent owners before being acquired by the vendor approximately seven years ago. The certificate of authenticity plus the bill of sale issued to the buyer at the 1984 Estate Auction, and the original registration document in the name Solar Productions accompany the lot. To complete the paperwork file the original 1984 auction lot tag also accompanies the machine.

The vendor describes MI3845 as being in 'last ridden by McQueen' condition, complete with a spare spark plug duct tapped to the frame – this plug can clearly be seen in the photograph from the Imperial Palace auction catalog. The preservation of MI3845 is a credit to the discerning owners post McQueen who have preserved MI3845 in its original McQueen owned state.

While other McQueen motorcycles have come to light in recent times, there can be no doubt as to the history and originality of this machine. It is a 'blue chip' piece of McQueen memorabilia, if you like, suitable for show, demos – after some sympathetic recommissioning – or museum display use, using the legend 'as last ridden by the late and utterly charismatic Steve McQueen' as a fitting epitaph.

Without reserve

Estimate: $50,000 - 70,000

Members profile:


Advertised by: Bonhams Motorcycle Auctions (click here to see full profile)
Average score 10 after 1 votesAverage score 10 after 1 votesAverage score 10 after 1 votesAverage score 10 after 1 votesAverage score 10 after 1 votes Grade Bonhams Motorcycle Auctions
Email: motorcycles@bonhams.com

Ad Details


Property is Sold
Garage Spaces (put 0 if this does not apply) 0.00
Price Info Sold at Auction for $144,500 including buyers premium to auctioneer.
Type: Motorcycle, Classic Vehicle / Collector Vehicle
New or Used: Used
Year: 1971
Model: 400 Cross
Make: Husqvarna
Price $50,000 USD
Stock #: Lot # 101
Celebrity Owned Yes
Which Celebrity? Steve McQueen

Motorcycles


Type & Features: Classic and Collector Motorcycles, Dirt Bike

For Sale at Auction


Auction Sale? Yes
Type of Auction Phone Bidding, Internet Bidding, On-site Registration, Retail Auction Event, Reserve Price
Auction Date 05/14/2011
Auction Time 2:00 PM PST
Location Quail Lodge, Carmel, California
Name of Auction Bonham's Collectors' Motorcycles and Related Memorabilia
Auction Website http://www.bonhams.com/usa/auction/19391/lot/101/#

Unique Sale Issues


Type of Sale Auction Company Sale

Website


Website http://www.bonhams.com/usa/motorcycles/

Location


Address 8205 Valley Greens Dr
City Carmel
State CA
Postal Code 93923
Country USA

Call Me!


Phone +1 323 436 5470
Ad id: 15251595
Ad views:5687
Current rating Average score 10 after 1 votesAverage score 10 after 1 votesAverage score 10 after 1 votesAverage score 10 after 1 votesAverage score 10 after 1 votes Grade

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