Evel Knievel Harley-Davidson XL 1000 Sportster
XL 1000 Sportster

Famous Evel Knievel bike at auction

One of the most iconic motorbikes of modern pop culture would have to be the 1970s Harley-Davidson XL 1000 Evel Knievel used in numerous stunts.

Now, the 1976 Harley-Davidson XL 1000 made especially for the Hollywood movie, Viva Knievel, will be auctioned at the Bonhams Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction on January 7 alongside another famous bike – Steve McQueen’s desert sled.


The Harley screen bike was customised by Steve McQueen’s friend, Bud Ekins, who performed the famous jump over the barbed wire fence for Steve in The Great Escape.

In the Warner Brothers film, Viva Knievel, Evel played himself fighting Mexican drug dealers and did all the bike stunts.

After filming, the motorcycle was bought from the studio by Los Angeles Harley dealer Dick Hutchins and has been displayed ever since.

“I came along at the right time in the right place,” says Knievel. Evel Knievel Harley-Davidson XL 1000 Sportster

“America was down on its ass when I came along and needed somebody who was truthful and honest, someone who would spill blood and break bones, somebody who wasn’t a phony.”

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