Auction house Bonhams said it plans to sell this 1914 Indian Model F racing motorcycle, once owned by the late actor Steve McQueen, during its April 28 sale at the International Classic MotorCycle Show in Stafford, England. The Model F is an early board-track racer from an era when racing motorcycles on banked wooden tracks was extremely popular. This purpose-built bike and the machines it competed against generally had no clutch, throttle or brakes. They were push-started and ran “wide-open” at speeds up to 100 mph. When the race was over the rider would cut the magneto ignition to turn off the engine.
The Model F is one of 242 motorcycles set to cross the block during the Bonhams sales sale. While it is not the rarest and doesn’t have the highest estimate, its connection with McQueen could make it a wild card. A number of McQueen’s former cars and motorcycles have fetched many times their estimated value in auctions during the past decade. The 1914 Indian Model F is estimated to fetch between £22,000 and £28,000, or $33,576 and $42,732.
“The men who raced these early board-track motorcycles were not only pioneers and champions of early motor racing but must also have been incredibly brave,” said Ben Walker, head of Bonhams’ motorcycle department. “In this age of health and safety the idea of riding at up to 100 mph with no helmet or protective clothing, knowing you have no way of stopping in a hurry, is a terrifying thought.”