Everyone’s heard about Steve McQueen’s desert sled* coming up for sale at Bonhams’ Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction on Jan. 7, and now here’s something that might be even better: Evel Knievel’s screen bike from Viva Knievel.
The 1976 Harley-Davidson XL 1000 was customized by none other than Bud Ekins specifically for the Hollywood movie in which Knievel played himself fighting Mexican drug dealers. Owned by Warner Brothers, the motorcycle was purchased from the studio after filming by Los Angeles-area Harley dealer Dick Hutchins and has been displayed ever since.
It’s an incredible artifact of popular culture ridden in a movie by America’s greatest daredevil. “I came along at the right time in the right place,” said Knievel. “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.”