LOS ANGELES – Bidders looking for a piece of the "King of Cool" shelled out six figures for motorcycles and paid more than $70,000 for one pricey pair of shades in an auction of items that once belonged to actor Steve McQueen.
Cars, trucks, motorcycles and memorabilia from McQueen's widow Barbara and other collectors were put up for sale by Bonhams and Butterfields at the Petersen Automotive Museum on Saturday. The entire auction brought in $2.9 million.
A 1937 Crocker "Hemi-head" V-Twin motorcycle brought in $276,500, the biggest price of the day and a world record for a Crocker motorcycle, said auction house spokesman Levi Morgan. A 1934 Indian Sport Scout went for $177,500, and a 1920 Indian Powerplus Daytona brought in $150,000.
One anonymous bidder paid $70,200 for Persol sunglasses McQueen is believed to have worn as he played a dapper thief in the opening scenes of 1968's "The Thomas Crown Affair." A Rolls Royce Silver Shadow from the same movie brought in exactly the same price.
The winning bidders included private collectors in France, Great Britain and the United States, and the Petersen museum itself bought several items, Morgan said.
McQueen, who died in 1980 at age 50, was known nearly as much for his love of vehicles as for his acting. His most famous movie moments include a mad motorcycle dash in "The Great Escape," and a car chase through the streets of San Francisco in "Bullitt."