If there’s a Hollywood star associated with motorcycles more than Steve McQueen, he hasn’t come along yet. McQueen, the King of Cool, was noted for his love of all things vehicular, including motorcycles. But when it comes to motorcycles, McQueen had a favourite brand—Husqvarna. RM Sotheby’s is auctioning off a 1968 Husqvarna Viking 360 owned by McQueen, and it’s not hard to see why the actor loved the bike so much.
McQueen’s love of Husqvarna bikes started in 1968 during his quest to find a bike that could get him the wins he was looking for on the racetrack. That quest ended up with McQueen watching motocross rider Bengt Aberg competing on a two-stroke Viking 360 in a series of four races in California. McQueen didn’t even make it to the fourth race before he had his production company, Solar Productions of Los Angeles, make an offer to Aberg for the bike.
Aberg agreed, taking the offer and then finishing off the season on a different bike (he went on to win the World Championship in 1969 and 1970 on a Husqvarna). The Sotheby auction includes the documentation proving the purchase by Solar Production with the ownership transfer date being noted as February 18, 1969.
The Viking 360 was powered by a single-cylinder 360 cc two-stroke engine capable of 37 horsepower. The bike weighs just 215 pounds. The bike is offered with the original engine, 32mm Bing carburettor, and four-speed gearbox. In 2014, it went through a restoration, bringing it back to “Concours quality.” This was the bike that started the relationship between McQueen and Husqvarna—a relationship that led to McQueen riding a Husqvarna 400 Cross in the motorcycle racing documentary On Any Sunday, which was filmed in 1971.
There’s no information on what the final bid will be, but Sotheby’s lists the bike for between $80,000 and $100,000 without reserve. McQueen’s 400 Cross went for $203,500 in 2018, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see his Viking 360 go for six figures as well.