Steve McQueen’s Motorcycles
At nearly the same time that Indian Motorcycle unveiled its 2014 Chief lineup (Classic, Vintage, Chieftain) at Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, an iconic Chief formerly owned by Steve McQueen was sold at Auction America.
The 1946 Indian Chief sold for $143,750 at the first-ever California Auctions America at Los Angeles Marriot Burbank Airport Hotel Aug. 1-3. The machine was documented by the original McQueen Certificate of Authenticity, and ran as lot number 622. The bike was first purchased McQueen’s Estate Auction in November 1984, and was since restored in the early 1990s.
According to various reports, the 1946 Indian Chief was McQueen’s first motorcycle.
In “McQueen’s Machines: The Cars and Bikes of a Hollywood Icon,” McQueen says “It was my first bike and I loved it,” admitted Steve. “But I was going with a girl who began to hate the cycle – just hated riding in the bumpy sidecar. She told me, ‘Either the cycle goes or I go!’ Well, there was no contest. She went.” McQueen was working in New York and that battered cycle was this 1946 Indian Chief.
The American Motorcycle Association (AMA) Hall of Fame entry for Steve McQueen delivers the story in a similar manner: “His first motorcycle was a 1946 Indian Chief. In a 1971 interview in Sports Illustrated, McQueen recalls that he was smitten by motorcycling from the start.”
The AMA says McQueen states: “I was so proud of that Indian that I rode it over to see a girl I was dating. She said, ‘You don’t expect me to ride around with you on that, do you?’ I surely did. The girl went and the bike stayed.”