1946 Indian Chief Formerly Owned by Steve McQueen To Be Auctioned

McQueen1Auctions America is about to auction in Los Angeles several awesome motorcycles including a 1946 Indian Chief formally owned by “The King of Cool” Steve McQueen, as well as a 1911 Indian Model C. This auction, set for August 1-3 at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel, will be covered live by NBC sports with Jay Leno being the guest commentator. Day pass is $20 (children under 12 free). Bidder registration is $100 and includes admission for two for all days.

McQueen2The story of the 1946 Indian Chief is well documented by the original McQueen Certificate of Authenticity declaring that it was owned by motion picture star Steve McQueen and purchased at the actor’s estate auction held at The Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino November 24 and 25, 1984 in Las Vegas, Nevada. It ran as lot number 622. This document is signed by the actor’s late daughter, Terry and his son, Chad. It also has a copy of the bill of sale from that auction. It is fully documented and in need of nothing. It was completely restored in the early 1990s. A motorcycle with this provenance is a unique collector’s piece, and with consideration that it was owned and ridden by “The King of Cool”, it certainly is an investment opportunity.

McQueen3According to the account in the 2007 book “McQueen’s Machines: The Cars and Bikes of a Hollywood Icon” by Matt Stone; biographer William Nolan conveys that in the fall of 1951 Mr. McQueen had “saved enough money to buy a battered cycle with a sidecar (removed at an unstated time), which he proudly tooled around the Village in NYC. ‘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. ‘I was so proud of that Indian that I rode it over to see a girl I was dating,” he recalled. “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.’”
McQueen4

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11 Responses to “1946 Indian Chief Formerly Owned by Steve McQueen To Be Auctioned”


  1. 1 Sharkey Jul 20th, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Too bad it couldn’t have been left as it was when Mr McQueen died. It would seem he owned it for a long time, but apparently since his death it has been “completely restored”…stuff is only original once
    Gorgeous ornament for someone with the wherewithal…..

  2. 2 Kirk Perry Jul 20th, 2013 at 9:57 am

    He also had a yellow-ish beater-Indian with a high sissy bar with a bedroll strapped to it. and with an Indian portrait on both tanks.
    I was an 80″ mutt that he like to ride. Please don’t tell me this black rendition is ol’ Yeller with a new paint job.

  3. 3 RUB Jul 20th, 2013 at 10:47 am

    now that would look perfect with a 26″ front wheel , right ?

  4. 4 Blackmax Jul 20th, 2013 at 11:53 am

    ok, would be nice to own a piece of history
    no matter how itbeen changed it was still owned by Mc Queen ….

  5. 5 Kirk Perry Jul 20th, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    This isn’t Ol’ Yellar. This bike has a spring fork.
    Ol’ Yellar had the hydraulic forks, sorta like the Pan-Glide. Indian made a lot of different forks it seems. The was the leaf over front wheel and then this trapezoid happening, then the hydraulic for awhile, I guess until the end of Springfield.

    Nice dash instrumentation, yeah?

  6. 6 Rodent Jul 20th, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Steve owned many bikes, this is only one of them!

  7. 7 Dave Blevins Jul 20th, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    I would bet Polaris will acquire this bike. I would, if I were them.

  8. 8 Proctor Jul 21st, 2013 at 6:19 am

    It’s not the old yellowed one, its in the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, IA

  9. 9 tattooeddmike Jul 21st, 2013 at 6:59 am

    The “Old Yellow” Indian was and I believe still at the National Motorcycle Museum in Iowa. The museum is owned and operated by John Parham of J & P Cycles and it is a very cool museum to go and see! They have a lot of cool and vintage motorcycles and a few of them are older well known bikes from motorcycling history, including the bike from movie Easyrider, the Captain America one and only original left and most of us know the history of this one, and the repop of the Billy Bike. Check out the museum as it has displays that change through out the year and is some “real” history of motorcycling past.
    Tattooeddmike

  10. 10 Tommy Jul 23rd, 2013 at 9:59 am

    I understand it’s a historic motorcycle, but good grief! They ARE UGLY….

  11. 11 Doc Robinson Jul 24th, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder Tommy, and to many of us these bikes are beautiful.

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