Steve McQueen's Harleys Will Be Auctioned

A large collection of Steve McQueen’s memorabilia, including two Harley Davidsons used in the famous 1963 film "The Great Escape", will go under the auctioneer’s block at Bonhams & Butterfields’ Classic California Auction. The event will take place at the Petersen Automotive Museum on November 13th.

The items belonged to one of McQueen’r real life friends, Bud Ekins, who was also a bit of a wild man: a racer, stuntman and an US Triumph dealer. What's more, Ekins is actually the one who used the two Harley Davidsons to make the famous motorcycle jumps over the barbed wire fence in the "World War II" movie.

The 1936 Harleys were disguised to look like German ones by masking the emblems and giving them a roughened paintjob in German Army colors. The sidecars attached to the bike were made to resemble Steib ones. Later on, they were refurbished for use on the movie set of Spielberg’s 1941 Badge of Courage, as well as numerous other war movies. The sidecars alone are expected to sell for around $8,000 (EUR5,739) each.

Other McQueen memorabilia includes a letter written by him to Mr. Ekins, estimated at near $1,500 (EUR1,075), press clippings, four books, photographs and two copies of Life Magazine that feature McQueen, estimated at just $400 (EUR286).

Bud Ekins, who died in 2007, was the one who made the amazing jump over the prisoner of war camp’s fence in the epic movie. He also did the motorcycle stunt in Bullit, where he slid across the highway during a chase scene. In the 1950s, Bud Ekins was one of the first Americans to compete in the World Championship Motocross Grand Prix circuit.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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