Bikes & Customs: Lifestyle

McQueen Speed Twin breaks records in Las Vegas

Legend’s bike becomes auction star

The Speed Twin is renowned for setting new standards in the motorcycling world. Now, a Speed Twin once owned by Steve McQueen has broken the record for highest price ever paid for the model at auction.

Header image: Ace Classics

The 1938 Triumph 500cc 5T is one of the few motorcycles left to have been ridden and owned by McQueen. Thanks to the restoration by his International Six Days Trial (ISDT) teammate and friend, Bud Ekins, the bike is an immaculate example of the Speed Twin model. Having last been sold at the Steve McQueen Estate Auction at the Imperial Palace, Las Vegas, in 1984, the motorcycle recently returned to the city to be auctioned on 24 January.

Article photos courtesy of Bonhams

Complete with a decal sporting Ekins’ Hollywood address, a Certificate of Authenticity signed by Terry and Chad McQueen (his daughter and son) and pinstriping thought (but not proven) to be Von Dutch in origin, the bike appeared for sale in the Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction. Estimated to reach $55-65,000, the hammer eventually fell at $175,500 (£133,550), making it the most expensive Speed Twin ever to be sold at auction.

Riding to the limit

The love that Steve McQueen had for Triumph was clear from the moment of ‘that jump’. McQueen and Ekins became synonymous for riding their bikes to the limit, with Ekins multiple desert racing wins and McQueen famously crashing out of the 1964 ISDT, both earning themselves places in the Off-road Motorsports Hall of Fame in grand style. Luckily, the Triumphs in their personal collections were both well looked after and enjoyed out on the road, which is obvious in the spotless condition of the 500cc 5T bike.

Vintage motorcycles have become incredible investment opportunities, and none more so than this Speed Twin with McQueen legacy. Take a look at the articles at the bottom of the page for more Speed Twin and McQueen stories.