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.Barbara McQueen says: “Steve was fanatical about antique motorcycles and we once drove 700 miles on a whim to go see a rare bike. 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, a twin-flathead which 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 Nov. 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.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. For more information visit mecum.com.To consign an item or to become a pre-registered bidder at the auction, visit mecum.com or call (262) 275-5050.Mecum Celebrity Items Auction Details:
- Place: Barker Hangar: 3021 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90405-6101 (www.barkerhangar.com)
- Public Viewing: Thursday, July 25, 6-9 p.m.; Friday, July 26, noon to 5 pm.
- Live Auction Times: Friday July 26, 5-9 p.m.; Saturday, July 27, 1 to 5 p.m.
- Admission: $20 per person per day, children 12 and younger admitted free
- Silent Auction: Opens July 5 exclusively at MECUM.com