• Steve McQueen’s Coolest Front Wheel Bike Goes To Auction

  • Yes, that's the engine 49cc of raw two-stroke power, driving directly onto the front wheel
  • Not Much More Than A Bicycle Designed as cheap transport for the masses. Over 7 million sold in 40+ years
  • Solar Productions Logo Bought for McQueen to use on the set of Le Mans. That's the Solar logo in white

Would you spend $40,000 on a SOLEX moped?

LISTEN 02:37

Anything with Steve McQueen’s name attached to it will always add a couple of zeros to the asking price. That’s understandable when it’s a rare and desirable motorcycle or car, but when it’s a moped, aren’t we all going a bit mad? This 1970 Solex was used by McQueen on the set of the movie ’Le Mans’ and is now up for auction with an estimated price of $40-50,000. Would you be tempted?

Moped used on set of ’Le Mans’ up for Auction

Steve McQueen's Coolest Front Wheel Bike Goes To Auction
- image 1005814
Yes, that’s the engine
49cc of raw two-stroke power, driving directly onto the front wheel

Anything owned by actor and racer Steve McQueen will automatically, when brought to auction, add a couple of zeros to the expected price. While this is understandable when relating to a particularly tasty motorcycle, such as the Husqvarna Viking 360 that is coming up for auction in August, or any one of the dozens of classic bikes that formed his collection when he was alive, there are others that stretch the bounds of credulity more than somewhat.

Steve McQueen's Coolest Front Wheel Bike Goes To Auction
- image 1005813
Not Much More Than A Bicycle
Designed as cheap transport for the masses. Over 7 million sold in 40+ years

While making the movie ‘Le Mans’ in 1970/71, McQueen’s production company, Solar Productions, bought a Solex 3800 moped for him to use on the set of the movie, which was the 8.46-mile Circuit de la Sarthe used for the race.

Quite why he couldn’t have used a car or larger motorcycle is not clear, but there are many photographs of him on the Solex, often in his racing overalls, all of which add to the provenance of the moped.

The Solex, made in France and also known as the VéloSoleX, was powered by a 49cc two-stroke motor mounted ahead of the steering headstock and driving directly to the front tyre via friction. Introduced in 1946, over 7 million were sold between ’46 and 1988 so they’re not particularly rare or, dare we say, desirable.

Steve McQueen's Coolest Front Wheel Bike Goes To Auction
- image 1005811

However, given this particular example’s history, auction house RM Sotheby’s estimates the Solex could fetch $40,000 - $50,000, which will make it the most expensive moped in history!

Is it worth the money? It’s not like its going to elicit gasps of amazement when being shown to friends;

‘This was used by Steve McQueen on the set of Le Mans.’

‘Really. Hey, isn’t that a Vincent over there…’

’Yeah, but this was ridden by Steve McQueen.’

’Great. So, about that Vincent...’

This one is for the man who has everything and too much money and, possibly, too little imagination.

Steve McQueen's Coolest Front Wheel Bike Goes To Auction
- image 1005812
Solar Productions Logo
Bought for McQueen to use on the set of Le Mans. That’s the Solar logo in white

To view the listing and register to bid, click here to view the listing

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
About the author

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