One of the early Indian motorcycles owned by late Hollywood legend Steve McQueen is about to go under the hammer at a UK classic bikes and memorabila auction hosted by Bonhams on April 28.
The 1914 Indian Model F, a ‘broad track' racing bike, designed to compete on cycling velodromes as no true motorcycle racing tracks existed at the turn of the 20th century, is one of the very first purpose-built racing bikes created by the now-defunct company. With no clutch, throttle or brakes, the Indian Model F was designed to be push-started then run at maximum revs for the duration of a race. Little wonder the first such racers became stars, such was the danger involved in competition. These bikes could hit 100mph (160 km/h).
The vehicle, which will be auctioned as one of many lots by Bonhams at the Classic MotorCycle Show in Manchester, UK on April 28, was once one of the many Indian motorcycles in Steve McQueen's prized collection and has recently been through a thorough restoration. The daredevil actor's name on the bike's documentation will no doubt spark interest and increase its potential final fee. It is predicted to fetch up to £28,000 (US$43,000) when it goes under the hammer -- much more than a typical Indian of the period could command -- but it is by no means the star of the show. That accolade goes to lot number 349 -- a 1926 Brough Superior 981cc SS80/100, which is expected to fetch upwards of £200,000 (US$300,000).
Nicknamed the ‘King of Cool,' Steve McQueen was almost as famous for his love of fast cars and bikes and his stunt work as he was for the string of classic films he made before dying at the age of 50 in 1980 from complications resulting from surgery to remove malignant tumors. Following his death his extensive motorcycle was slowly dismantled with a number of his bikes coming on to the open market, including a 1940 Indian Chief that Katie Holmes bought her then husband, Tom Cruise, as a birthday present.