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Ex-McQueen Indian Chief fetches record $99,450

Steve McQueen and Chief

Actor and motorcycle buff Steve McQueen on his 1940 Indian Chief, which sold at Bonham & Butterfield's November 14 "Classic California" auction for a record $99,450.

The ex-Steve McQueen 1940 Indian Chief — pictured on the cover of the book “Steve McQueen: The Last Mile" — set a new world record for the model at Bonham & Butterfield’s “Classic California” auction November 14, selling for $99,450. The latest Bonham’s auction shows once again that when it comes to motorcycles, if Steve McQueen ever owned it, it’s hot.

Following is Bonhams & Butterfields’ report on the auction, which celebrated the eighth year of the “Classic California” auction at the Petersen Automotive Museum:

“A large crowd of collectors and motoring aficionados paid $2,138,736 for automotive collectibles and celebrity-owned vehicles, cars and motorcycles from noted private collections.

“With a headlining ensemble of 28 cars from the Sam Garrett Collection and 33 motorcycles from the Forest “Woody” Shrider Collection — both of which were 100 percent sold — and numerous lots of vehicles and personal memorabilia from screen legend Steve McQueen, the auction consisted of an impressive and diverse line-up of items from the world of motoring. In all, an impressive 76 percent of vehicles, both 2- and 4-wheel, were successfully sold.

“Strong bidding from buyers in the audience and via telephone from around the world resulted in the following highlights:
*The ultra stylish 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham previously owned by crooner
*Frank Sinatra was bought for $122,500.
*Two Rolls-Royces, a 1964 Silver Cloud Drophead Coupe and 1929 Phantom II Dual *Cowl Touring, sold for $172,000 and $111,150, respectively.
*$81,900 was paid for a 1933 Ford Model 40 Deluxe Cabriolet hotrod.
*A 1966 Mercedes-Benz 600 SWB Limousine exceeded all expectations and went for $87,750.
*The 1915 Harley-Davidson 11K Board Track Racer surpassed its estimate selling for $58,500.

“Says Mark Osborne, VP of the Motoring Department at Bonhams & Butterfields, ‘Our annual Classic California sales at the Petersen Museum, which have consistently made world record prices and attracted lots from such celebrities as Steve McQueen, Bruce Willis, Von Dutch, Charles Bronson and Clark Gable, to name a few, continue to hold strong interest and just keep growing from strength to strength. This year, strength in the market was seen for celebrity–related cars and motorcycles from McQueen and Sinatra and the sale drew international interest from Europe, Asia and Canada as well as national attention from the Northeast and Midwest.”

A full list of sales results may be found at bonhams.com/Petersen.