Today, 7 November, is 36 years since Steve McQueen passed away. He was the ‘King of Cool’ and years after his death he captures the imagination of driving enthusiasts from all over the world.
McQueen drove many cars in films like Le Manns, Thomas Crown Affair and Bullitt. He also had a great love and a collection of some of the most desirable classic cars of today.
The top right photo shows McQueen driving his ‘day to day runabout’ which was a Jaguar XK-SS. He first saw it in 1958 parked on Sunset Boulevard bought it there and then for around $4,500. McQueen’s wife Neile recalled a time they were speeding through LA in the Jaguar when the police pulled them over. Neile who was 6 months pregnant at the time was told to keep quiet as McQueen told the police “She is in labour”. The police immediately escorted the two to the hospital. McQueen later emerged telling the police man it was ‘false labour’. By God, it worked. I didn’t get the ticket!” he told a relieved Neile.
The bottom right photo shows the King of Cool considering which gorgeous Ferrari Berlinetta to take for a spin. He owned two Ferrari’s including a metallic brown 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso which sold at Christies a few years ago for $2.3 million and a Ferrari 275 GTB/4.
McQueen acquired his Ferrari 275 GTB/4 in San Francisco while filming Bullitt. It was later sold and its new keeper had the roof removed transforming it into a replica GTB/4 NART Spyder. Recently it was sent back to the Ferrari Factory and returned to the original factory specification by the Ferrari Classiche division.
Perhaps no other car is more strongly identified with Steve McQueen, as the iconic Highland Green Mustang GT 390 Fastback from the epic film Bullitt which raced a black Dodge Charger. These powerful, muscle cars are now hard to find in the US, and Europe with the same livery and spec as those two cars used in 1968 film.
McQueen was a man of style and taste, but also a racer, a mechanic, and a true man’s man, never happier than behind the wheel or talking with the boys in the auto shop. His purchase choices will continue to influence people from all over the world for years to come.