Steve McQueen's Legendary 1931 Harley Davidson VL 74 Set to Go to Auction This Summer
Los Angeles – Steve McQueen's 1931 Harley Davidson VL 74 (Lot F238) will be sold to the highest bidder at the inaugural Mecum Celebrity Items Auction: Celebrating the Legendary History of Hollywood, July 26-27, 2013, at the Barker Hanger in Santa Monica, Calif. In addition to the motorcycle, several other rare McQueen items will be auctioned including his 1969 Chevrolet C/10 Baja Truck (Lot F239) and 1970 Yucatan trunks (Lot F240). The two-day extravaganza will feature more than 2,000 artifacts and collectibles from cars to motorcycles to props, from the golden years of Hollywood to present day.
The '31 Harley was awaiting restoration at McQueen's private Ventura County warehouse when he was suddenly diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in December, 1979. McQueen passed away almost a year later and never saw the bike restored to its former glory. Mike Eisenberg, a McQueen collector and aficionado, took it upon himself to fulfill the movie icon's vision. Barbara McQueen says her late husband would have been pleased by the end result.
“Steve was fanatical about antique motorcycles and we once drove 700 miles on a whim to go see a rare bike,” said McQueen's widow. “He had an encyclopedic mind when it came to every make and model, and knew the entire history of all his bikes. The Harley was definitely done to Steve's standards and he would have dug it.”
The bike was built the same year McQueen was born and was the debut of the VL model. The twin-flathead was one of the most popular touring bikes Harley ever produced. Reliable and sleek for its time, the VL 74 captured the imagination of bikers worldwide and established new standards for the industry.
The Harley was first sold as Lot 601 at the Steve McQueen Estate Auction, November 24-25, 1984 at the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas. It includes the original engine, body and frame, and the paint reflects a period-correct color combination of red, black and gold. Other noteworthy features include rear wheel brakes, three-speed transmission, single tube muffler, instrument panel, toolbox, front and rear wheel stands, horn and black leather saddle.
The provenance on the classic bike includes an original certificate of authenticity, bill of sale and official odometer mileage statement from the McQueen Estate Auction in November 1984.
To consign an item or to become a pre-registered bidder at the auction, visit www.mecum.com or call 262-275-5050.
Mecum Celebrity Items Auction Schedule of Events:
Public preview: Thursday, July 25, 6-9 p.m.; Friday, July 26, 12-5 p.m.
Live Auction Times: Friday July 26, 5-9 p.m.; Saturday, July 27, 1-5 p.m.
*Admission: $20 per person each day, free for children 12 and younger.
Silent Auction: Opens July 5 exclusively at www.mecum.com.
About Mecum Auction: Nobody sells more than Mecum. Nobody. The Mecum Auction Company is the world leader of collector car and Road Art sales, hosting auctions throughout the United States. The company has been specializing in the sale of collector cars for 26 years, now offering more than 15,000 vehicles per year and averaging more than one auction each month. Established by President Dana Mecum in 1988, Mecum Auctions remains a family-run company headquartered in Walworth, Wis. For further information, visit www.mecum.com or call 262-275-5050. Follow along with Mecum’s social media news and join us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.