Steve McQueen’s First Husqvarna Could Make Six-Figures at Auction
1968 Husqvarna Viking 360 Up For Saleby Harry Fisher, on
Steve McQueen played a big part in establishing the Husqvarna brand in the U.S. His first Husky was bought after seeing Swedish World Champion Bengt Åberg racing his Viking 360. McQueen bought it there and then and it remained in his collection until his death in 1980. Now, it’s up for auction in August.
McQueen’s Husqvarna Up For Auction
Steve McQueen is as famous for his motorcycling exploits as for his acting. While he may have been the highest-paid actor at one point in the 1970s, he was never happier than when on a motorcycle, among people who treated him as a fellow competitor and not a screen idol.
While he raced cars on track, his motorcycle racing was done on dirt and while he raced Triumphs early on in his career, his favourite off-road bike was the Swedish Husqvarna. He owned several examples over the years but now, the very first Husky he owned is coming up for auction and is expected to fetch a six-figure number.
On Any Sunday
It was a Husqvarna that Steve rode in the film, ‘On Any Sunday’, in company with Mert Lawwill and Malcolm Smith. In 1968, McQueen witnessed Swedish World Champion Bengt Åberg competing on his Husqvarna Viking 360 and bought it there and then, forcing Åberg to finish the season on a new bike.
The Viking 360 was developed from the 250cc 2-stroke version that had won the 250cc World Championship in 1966 and 1967. The 360 produced 37bhp which, with an overall bike weight of 215lbs, was making life very difficult for the heavy four-stroke bikes and pointed the way to the future for off-road bikes.
Husqvarna was keen to penetrate the US market, which led to Åberg bringing his to the ‘States to race. This exposure and McQueen’s subsequent endorsement of the brand played a big role in the popularity of the Swedish brand.
First in a Series of Husqvarnas McQueen Owned
While much of McQueen’s collection comprised vintage machinery, his racing bikes were state of the art and the Viking 360 was the first in a long line of Husqvarna machines to pass through his hands.
After McQueen died in 1980, the Viking passed into private hands and it was fully restored in 2014. It’s now up for auction in California with RM Sotheby’s in mid-August. Theres no price guide at present but it’s not unreasonable to expect it to go for $100,000+.
Photo credit; Stan Evans and RM Sotheby’s
Source: On Any Sunday Trailer