Bud Ekins’ - And Steve McQueen’s - Triumph T120R Goes To Auction - story fullscreen Fullscreen

Bud Ekins’ - And Steve McQueen’s - Triumph T120R Goes To Auction

Tenuous link to Steve McQueen but it will add to the price

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A Triumph Bonneville T120R once owned by famed stuntman Bud Ekins and subsequently by Steve McQueen’s Solar Productions is up for auction this month. Ekins was one of the highest profile stuntmen of his time as well as an accomplished and very successful competitor on two wheels. You might have heard of Steve McQueen as well.

Bud Ekins’ Triumph Bonneville T120R Was Also Owned By Steve McQueen

Bud Ekins' - And Steve McQueen's - Triumph T120R Goes To Auction
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Triumph Bonneville T120R
Owned by Bud Ekins and Steve McQueen

The upcoming auction hosted by RM Sotheby’s already has two ex-McQueen bikes - a Husqvarna Viking 360 and a Velosolex moped used on the set of the movie, Le Mans - and now. there is a third, albeit with a rather tenuous association with the movie star.

Bud Ekins' - And Steve McQueen's - Triumph T120R Goes To Auction
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Bud Ekins
He was a very successful off-road racer before he became a stuntman

Bud Ekins, of course, was the stuntman and friend of McQueen who performed the famous motorcycle jump in The Great Escape as well as much of the driving of the Ford Mustang in the film Bullitt.

Bud Ekins' - And Steve McQueen's - Triumph T120R Goes To Auction
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Desert Racing
Ekins excelled in desert races in the 1950s and ’60s

This was merely a sideline for Ekins as he was a very successful motorcycle racer, with many off-road successes, including four gold medals in the International Six Days Trial.

Bud Ekins' - And Steve McQueen's - Triumph T120R Goes To Auction
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ISDT
Ekins won four gold medals at the ISDT

He started riding in the 1940s in California and had great success, winning the AMA District 37 Championship 7 times in the 1950s. Further success came in the Catalina Grand Prix and the Big Bear hare and Hound desert race, that hew won three times.

Bud Ekins' - And Steve McQueen's - Triumph T120R Goes To Auction
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Legend
Even had he not performed stunts in some of the most famous movies, he would still be a legend

Owning a Triumph motorcycle dealership in California brought him into contact with motorcycle-loving Hollywood stars, such as Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood and, of course, Steve McQueen. It was Ekins who taught McQueen to ride off-road and, indeed, McQueen would partner Ekins in the American ISDT team.

Bud Ekins' - And Steve McQueen's - Triumph T120R Goes To Auction
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The Bonneville in question was first registered to Ekins who then sold it to McQueen’s Solar Productions film company, which McQueen often used to purchase vehicles for movies he was making or for his personal use. Quite how much the Triumph was used by McQueen is unknown but as he was a big Triumph fan, it seems reasonable to assume it was used by him for playing around and perhaps competing off-road.

Bud Ekins' - And Steve McQueen's - Triumph T120R Goes To Auction
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Bonneville T120R
Fully restored; it’s unlikely it looked this good in McQueen’s day

Now fully restored, it has a pre-auction estimate of $40,000 - $50,000.

Bud Ekins' - And Steve McQueen's - Triumph T120R Goes To Auction
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Not Standard
Bonneville not often used off-road, many preferring the simpler TR6 models

To see the listing and register to bid on this or any of the other ex-McQueen motorcycles in the auction, click here.

Bud Ekins' - And Steve McQueen's - Triumph T120R Goes To Auction
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Symphony
Raised straight through pipes will sound fantastic
Bud Ekins' - And Steve McQueen's - Triumph T120R Goes To Auction
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Got Any Spare Cash?
Estimated to sell for $40 - 50,000
Harry Fisher
Harry Fisher
Motorcycling Contributor
Born and raised in England, he has lived in South Africa with his family since 2002. Harry has owned examples of Triumph, Norton, BSA, MV Agusta, Honda, BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson, Kawasaki and Moto Morini motorcycles. He regrets selling all of them.  Read full bio
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