Steve McQueen’s son, Chad, and his famous “Desert Sled” racer bike will be highlights for riders at the annual Motorclassica in Melbourne this weekend (October 21-23, 2016).
Chad is the ambassador for the show, but most eyes will probably be on Steve’s 1963 Triumph Bonneville Desert Sled, modified by friend Bud Ekins who did the famous Great Escape jump for him.
The Desert Sled was sold at a Bonham auction in Las Vegas in January 2016 for $US103,500 to an anonymous Aussie buyer. He allowed the bike to be first shown at Ellaspede custom bike shop in Brisbane in August.
The motorcycle is a real token of the long-standing friendship between Bud and Steve. Their friendship began when a young Steve appeared in Bud’s Triumph dealership in the San Fernando Valley at the end of the 1950s.
After many years of friendship, Bud built this bike for cow trailing and desert racing. Serial numbers indicate it was built up from a 1963 Triumph Bonneville. Steve and Bud’s friend, Kenny Howard (better known as Von Dutch), painted the bike.
Because of the motorcycle’s intended use, it was given a plain paint job, devoid of Dutch’s trademark pin stripes – given it was to be subject to sandblasting and scrapes.
Steve’s son is a race car driver as well as a film producer like his dad.
In January 2010, he started McQueen Racing LLC, a company which partners with leaders in the motorcycle and custom car industries to create limited-edition high-performance motorcycles and automobile transbrakes.
Steve’s son also produced the 2015 documentary Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans, a film that recalled his memories of being on-set with his father during the making of the seminal movie: Le Mans (1971).
He will lead the annual Tour Classica prologue of 70 cars and bikes from the Sidney Myer Music Bowl through the city streets of Melbourne on October 20 to the Royal Exhibition Building for the sixth annual event.
As the 2016 Ambassador, Steve’s son will meet and greet fans and introduce a retrospective of his famous father’s cinematic catalogue.
Chad follows in the wheel tracks of previous Motorclassica ambassadors including Gina Campbell, member of the Campbell Speed Record dynasty; Sir Stirling Moss; Sir Jack Brabham; five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell and legendary Lamborghini test driver Valentino Balboni.
Motorclassica collector car and motorcycle exhibition is the largest event of its type in the southern hemisphere.
It will be held at Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building, on October 21-23.