Vincent and Steve McQueen’s fastest bike at Bonhams Motorcycle Sale

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One of the rarest and most revered performance motorcycles of the post-war period, and a famous all-terrain motorcycle with a strong connection to Steve McQueen, highlight the Bonhams motorcycle auction on October 6 at Barber Motorsports Museum in Birmingham, Alabama.

The performance bike is a coveted Vincent Black Lightning from 1949, a limited edition motorcycle model by Vincent HRD of Great Britain which held world speed records and was considered the fastest motorcycle on the planet.

The 1970 Husqvarna 400 Cross may not have the speed record credentials, but it does have unmatched star power as a “Husky” off-road motorcycle that McQueen is shown riding, shirtless, for the cover of Illustrated sports and in the documentary film Any Sunday.

A Black Lightning mounted on a vintage photo | Bonhams Archives

The Black Lightning, a lighter and more powerful factory version of the iconic Black Shadow, is described by Bonhams as the “two-wheeled Ferrari GTO”.

“Possessing the golden combination of rarity (only around 30 were built), evocative design, avant-garde engineering and racing success, the British-made bike is simply unmatched in the collector’s world, ”according to a press release from Bonhams.

“And like a GTO, these coveted machines rarely, if ever, go on sale. “

Bonhams Motorcycle
Steve McQueen on the cover of “Sports Illustrated”

This Black Lightning is the second unit built with full ownership history, and is the oldest known, Bonhams said. Bonhams sold a similar Black Lightning, the one who held the Australian speed record, for nearly a million dollars earlier this year at the auction company’s Las Vegas sale. This Vincent should spark similar interest.

The Husky in Bonhams McQueen’s favorite autocross bike, according to his son, Chad McQueen, and comes with full documentation, the auction house said in the release. The documents include his California recording bearing the name Solar Productions, McQueen’s company, and the actor’s entry form for the 1970 Saddleback 500 Senior Race.

The sale also features McQueen’s ‘Lucky Penny’, a 1960 coin from Chad’s birth year that was found inside a clear plastic case tucked into the motorcycle cavity between the engine and the frame.

Bonhams Motorcycle, Fastest Vincent, Steve McQueen Bike at Bonhams Motorcycle Sale, ClassicCars.com Journal
Husqvarna 400 would be McQueen’s favorite off-road bike | Bonhams

The Swedish motorcycle is a desirable motorcycle in its own right, but as McQueen’s own machine that appeared on the famous magazine cover and a historical film, the sky is absolutely the limit. Watch Steve McQueen’s magic take over the auction for this one, as it has for so many other McQueen items up for auction in the past.

“The importance of these two motorcycles cannot be stressed enough, ”Bonhams motorcycle manager Ben Walker said in the statement. “One is truly a legend in every way and the other is monumentally iconic. We’ve offered a ton of great bikes at Bonhams over the years, but these are truly remarkable.

For more information on selling Bonhams motorcycles, visit the auction site.


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