The Ex-Steve McQueen Motorbike Auctions Are Getting More Tenuous

The Icon’s Name Adds Plenty of Zeroes To A Price Tag

The hysteria over anything to do with Steve mcQueen continues, this time with the sale of a Honda CB750 K1 once owned by him.

Steve McQueen’s 1969 Honda CB750 Up For Sale

The Ex-Steve McQueen Motorbike Auctions Are Getting More Tenuous
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McQueen’s Honda CB750 K1
The fourth McQueen bike to go up for auction in as many months is this 1969 Honda CB750.

Among motorcyclists, Steve McQueen’s name is revered: he was one of us, an enthusiast who rode with skill and daring in competition and had an all-consuming passion for anything with two wheels (and four, but that’s another story).

With his wealth, he was able to indulge in the finest motorcycles, whether brand new or vintage and his collection famously ran into the dozens of desirable bikes.

The Ex-Steve McQueen Motorbike Auctions Are Getting More Tenuous
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First Motorcycle Disc Brake
The CB750 pointed the way to the future with advanced engineering: the front disc brake was one such advance

Every now and then, one of the bikes he owned comes up for auction and, in recent months, there have been a few exceptional examples: his first Husqvarna Viking 360 which he raced extensively and the Triumph T120TTR.

Slightly more tenuous is the 1970 Solex moped that was bought through McQueen’s Solar Productions company to be used as transport while he was filming the Le Mans film in 1970. Strictly speaking, yes, it was owned and ridden by McQueen, but it would hardly have been bought for pleasure or to form part of his collection.

The Ex-Steve McQueen Motorbike Auctions Are Getting More Tenuous
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Reliable Electrics
The Honda introduced the concept of reliable electrics into motorcycling

And now, here is another one! This time it is a 1969 Honda CB750 K1, for sale on Bring a Trailer. Now, the sales invoice is made out to Bud Ekins, who was McQueen’s friend and a noted stunt man who stood in for McQueen for some of the most famous of his movies. On the sales invoice is a note that sys, ’For Mr. Steve McQueen.’

So, yes, this is a Steve McQueen motorcycle, even if there is no anecdotal evidence of how much he used it or even if he liked it. It makes sense that he would be intrigued by this incredible new motorcycle, so different to anything that was available at the time and so seemingly advanced.

The Ex-Steve McQueen Motorbike Auctions Are Getting More Tenuous
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Sandcast Engine
The first 7000 or so examples had sandcast crankcases. This is one of them

But it hardly seems credible that he would have as much affection for it as he would his Triumphs or Husqvarnas that he used so effectively in competition or just for fun on a weekend.

This particular model of CB750 is known as a ’sandcast’ model, because the crankcases were sand cast, as opposed to die-casting, which is much more common and less costly. Around 7,000 of the first CB750s were constructed in this way and are collectible in their own right, irrespective of the owner.

The Ex-Steve McQueen Motorbike Auctions Are Getting More Tenuous
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Kick Start, Yes....
...But there was also electric start, another first. The engines didn’t vibrate or leak oil: the British didn’t know what had hit them

At the time of writing, there are four days left on the auction and the current bid stands at $45,000 or thereabouts.

At the end of the day, provenance is merely something that people use to bump up the value of a car or motorcycle. Even if Steve McQueen did ride and enjoy this motorcycle, it remains just an early Honda CB750 which is only of interest if you happen to like early Honda CB750s. The fact that it was purchased through McQueen’s Solar Productions adds interest but hardly puts it into the same bracket as his Husqvarna or any of his Triumphs.

The Ex-Steve McQueen Motorbike Auctions Are Getting More Tenuous
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Sales Invoice
Bought on McQueen’s behalf by friend and stuntman Bud Ekins, through McQueen’s Solar Productions

Or is that just sour grapes on my part as I can’t afford it...?

Images courtesy of www.bringatrailer.com

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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