Photo Courtesy: Bonhams
By: Sophie Dishman
A motorcycle once owned by the Great Escape star Steve McQueen is to go on sale in Las Vegas where it is expected to sell for about £100,000.
McQueen bought the Pope 61ci Model L bike, dating back to 1914, after a long search across America with his close friend and stunt driver Bud Ekins.
After years in private hands, the V-twin bike – which has classic blue bodywork, white tyres and red markings – is being sold by Bonhams at the eighth annual Las Vegas motorcycle auction on Thursday. Bidding is expected to start at £86,000.
Ben Walker, the global head of motorcycles at the auction house, said: “We are privileged to be offering this important motorcycle for sale. It has an impeccable provenance and is presented in beautiful condition.
“Machines that were formerly the property of the ‘King of Cool’ are keenly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts.”
The bike was created by the Pope Manufacturing Company, founded by Colonel Albert Augustus Pope (1843-1909), and had a powerful 1,000cc engine, allowing it to reach speeds of over 70mph.
It was a trailblazer as it used technology that had not been used before on a production road-going motorcycle in the US.
After McQueen’s death in 1980, the bike was sold privately rather than at auction like most of his other automobiles.
Walker said: “This is a very rare bike indeed. We have only offered two examples of this model in the last 10 years, so that gives you an idea of just how uncommon this bike is.”