This year at Bonham’s International Classic MotorCycle Show, we will see the 1914 Indian Model F motorbike that once owned by legendary Hollywood actor, Steve McQueen. The American actor who was nicknamed “The King of Cool” had an impressive collection of cars and motorcycles. He even considered becoming a professional race car driver but his acting commitments barred him from doing so. But he did perform most of his car and bike chases in films. Other pieces from his collection have fetched big bucks at previous auctions. These would include his Husqvarna 400 CR motorcycle that was auctioned by Bonhams in 2011; or the motorcycle suit he wore in the 1971 movie Le Mans. This bike is expected to fetch something between £22,000 and £28,000.
The early board-track racing bike lacks a clutch, throttle and brakes, like most purpose built motocycles of the time. They were push started and reached speeds upto 100 miles per hour. The biker would have to short the magneto to stall the engine after which the bike would slowly roll to a halt. These early racers were certainly extremely brave men as they rode at such high speeds, without and helmet and had no way of stopping their bikes in a hurry.
George M Hendee and Carl Oscar Hedstrom were the founders of the Indian Co, which made this bike. They were themselves successful motorcyclists of their time and started making their own bikes in the early years of the 1900s. The 4hp bike was bought at a Bonhams auction in California, in May of 2010. The auction being held at Stafford, UK, on Sunday 28th April will offer 242 motorcycles for sale. Other interesting pieces include the 31 piece collection of Clifford Jones, which includes an interesting range of bikes like the ‘cafe racers’ of 1950s to modern suberbikes like Ducati 916 Sennas. Another single owner collection includes 15 Triumphs.