Tenuous link to Steve McQueen but it will add to the priceby Harry Fisher, on LISTEN 02:34
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
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Now fully restored, it has a pre-auction estimate of $40,000 - $50,000.
To see the listing and register to bid on this or any of the other ex-McQueen motorcycles in the auction, click here.