It was the most expensive bike sold at auction until Australia Day this year when a 1951 Vincent Black Lightning on which Jack Ehret set an Australian speed record was bought at the Bonham’s annual Las Vegas motorcycle auction for a record $US929,000 ($A1,155,000, €748,500) by an unknown collector who is returning the bike to Australia.
It was offered with extensive documentation, including the ownership card from the California Department of Motor Vehicles naming Solar Productions (McQueen’s production company) and McQueen’s entry form for the 1970 Saddleback 500 Senior Race.
Adding to the star value was a lucky penny – an uncirculated 1960 1¢ coin (1960 being the birth year of son Chad) – that was found inside a clear plastic case tucked away in the cavity of the motorcycle between the engine and frame.
Collectors shun celebrities
Meanwhile, some of the other “celebrity” motorcycles owned by Hollywood stars or that featured in movies did not sell at the auction.