Steve McQueen, aka “The King of Cool,” was known for his impressive collection of classic automobiles.
Reporter Bea Ramirez anointed Elvis Presley “the 21-year-old king of the nation’s rock ‘n’ roll set” on April 19, 1956, and she was mostly right. Howard Stren, a self-promoter, crowned himself “The King of All Media,” and decades later, an insecure Michael Jackson crowned himself “King of Pop.”
Like Elvis Presley, Steve McQueen didn’t have to invent a name for himself. The title “The King of Cool” says it all about him. Classics like The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, and The Cincinnati Kid showcased McQueen’s antihero swagger and steely resolve. However, when he had to act cool while driving a fast car, he really shone. Bullit’s chase scene is legendary, but the cars in Le Mans and The Getaway are impressive as well.
McQueen wasn’t just another talker; he actually drove the drive. He was a real race car driver who used the name “Harvey Mushman” on the track and owned a massive collection of vehicles. The King of Cool had the greatest garage of all time, filled with more than a hundred classic motorcycles and a similar number of exotic and classic automobiles. It’s like asking to name McQueen’s top ten roles; they were all fantastic, but some were better than others.
1963 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso
Only 351 examples of Ferrari’s more spacious and luxurious 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso were ever produced between 1963 and 1964. It was surprisingly quick for such a compact vehicle, thanks to its 3.0-liter Columbo V-12’s output of 250 horsepower and top speed of 150 mph. Neile Adams, Steve McQueen’s then-wife, gave him one as a present.
McQueen used the Lusso as his primary vehicle for four years before selling it to a friend who shared his passion for cars in the early 1970s. After a painstaking 4, 000-hour restoration in the 2000s, the car was able to fetch over $2.3 million at a Christie’s auction thanks to its association with McQueen.
1970 Porsche 911S
In the film’s opening scene, Steve McQueen arrives at the track in a 1970 Porsche 911S that is slate gray. Power output from the 2.2-liter motor was 123 horsepower and 130 lb-ft of torque. It had a top speed of 124 mph and could accelerate from 62 to 100 km/h in 10 seconds. This little speedster was used as a camera car on the movie set to capture all the action from the races at LaMans.
McQueen had the car shipped to his Los Angeles residence after filming wrapped, but he didn’t keep it for very long. The 1970 Porsche seemed unnecessary given that he already owned a similar 1969 model. Only three more owners would take such good care of it before it went up for auction for $1.375 million.
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible
The fact that Steve McQueen once called a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air his own elevates the car’s cool factor significantly. McQueen’s Matador Red fuel-injected ragtop was custom-made at a plant in Van Nuys, California. He eventually parted with it, and years later, the car was featured in a Barret-Jackson sale.
This is where the trip starts to get strange: Kent Perkins, husband of Ruth Buzzi, purchased McQueen’s ’57. This is the same Ruth Buzzi who appeared on Laugh-In and The Carol Burnett Show. Before taking the Chevy home with him, Perkins loaned it to the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles for their McQueen car exhibit.
Von Dutch 1904 Winton Flyer Replica
For the 1969 Steve McQueen film The Reivers, legendary car customizer Von Dutch built a replica 1904 Winston Flyer from the ground up. McQueen’s character in the film steals the Winton Flyer repeatedly because he is obsessed with it. After filming wrapped, McQueen actually bought the car because he was so taken with it.
Due to the scarcity of 1904 Winton engines, the replica was powered by a 1,275cc Austin Healy Sprite engine producing 65 horsepower. McQueen kept the replica of the Winton Flyer until his death in 1980, despite the fact that it was not the fastest thing in his garage. At an RM Sotheby’s auction, it fetched a final price of $68,750.
The Baja Boot
In 1968, Steve McQueen raced across Nevada’s harsh desert in the “7-11 Stardust” race, which is commemorated on McQeenOnline.com. He arrived in a massive, custom off-road vehicle he dubbed the “Baja Boot.” McQueen was leading the race until an axle broke and caused the back wheels to fall off.