Antique Harley once owned by Steve McQueen should roar at auction in Monterey

What will the McQueen magic add to the value of the 1912 Harley Big Twin? | Mecum Auctions
What will the McQueen magic add to the value of the 1912 Harley Big Twin? | Mecum Auctions

Another Steve McQueen relic comes to auction this month when Mecum offers a 1912 Harley-Davidson X8E Big Twin motorcycle once owned by the film star, no doubt adding immeasurably to its value.

Mecum, which will auction the ex-McQueen Harley-Davidson during its Monterey sale August 14-16, places a value estimate of $225,000 to $275,000 on the motorcycle. That’s quite a bump for the McQueen provenance; the NADA motorcycle guide places the highest value for a 1912 Big Twin in excellent condition at $90,380.

But the McQueen factor does have an amazing effect on vehicles at auction, a logarithmic multiplying effect that caused the 2011 value of his 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso to quadruple for a sale of $2.3 million and the 2011 sale of the 1970 Porsche 911S that he owned and drove in the opening sequences of the movie Le Mans reach a stunning $1.375 million.

The wheel rims were replaced for riding | Mecum Auctions
The wheel rims were replaced for riding | Mecum Auctions

Auctions of ex-McQueen motorcycles have had similarly startling results.

The antique Harley comes with a certificate of authenticity signed by Terry and Chad McQueen, the daughter and son of the late actor, who was well-known as a car and motorcycle enthusiast. Steve McQueen died of cancer in 1980 and the motorcycle was purchased from his estate in 1984 by its subsequent owner.

The motorcycle reputedly runs well although the paint is in distressed condition, especially where it’s been removed on one side of the tank. The wheels were replaced after McQueen’s ownership so the bike could be ridden, and a period-correct headlamp was added.

More McQueen magic is expected to be in full force at RM’s Monterey auction August 15-16 when an already immensely valuable 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 that was owned and driven by McQueen for five years will be auctioned. Without the McQueen touch, the Ferrari is valued between $1 million and $2 million, but past ownership by “The King of Cool” could triple that. Or more.

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