RCL Exclusive

Ride Easy on the Bikes of Peter Fonda, Paul Newman, and Steve McQueen

Motorcycles owned by one of Hollywood’s coolest trios are roaring across the auction block.

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Fonda, Newman, and McQueen.

If those three had formed a law firm, they would have specialized in cases involving sunglasses, leather jackets, and other sides of pillows.

As it turned out, however, Peter Fonda, Paul Newman, and Steve McQueen never took the bar and instead were three of Hollywood’s coolest leading men during a time when status wasn’t dictated by Instagram followers or box office sales.

They rolled with the flow while going against the grain – and they did it on badass bikes.

Badass bikes, pilgrim, that you now have a chance to purchase at an upcoming Bonhams auction which is being held at the Barber Motorsports Museum outside of Birmingham, Alabama, on October 6.

Have you got a helmet?

Paul Newman’s 1967 CZ 250 

The 1967 CZ 250 ridden by Paul Newman in the film “Sometimes a Great Notion.” (Bonhams)
The 1967 CZ 250 was given to Paul Newman specifically for “Sometimes a Great Notion.” (Bonhams)
Paul Newman rode the two-wheeler during a motocross race in “Sometimes a Great Notion.” (Bonhams)

Ridden by Newman in Ken Kesey’s “Sometimes a Great Notion,” this bike was given to the actor especially for the film. Manufactured by a branch of the Skoda car company that previously made arms, the CZ recorded six Grand Prix world championships from 1964 through 1969 and looked good while doing it. In the film, Newman rides the zippy two-wheeler during a motocross race.

Peter Fonda’s 1968 Bultaco Pursang 250 MkII 

The 1968 Bultaco Pursang 250 MkII which was ridden by Peter Fonda in “Easy Rider.” (Bonhams)
Fonda rode this 1968 Bultaco Pursang 250 MkII in the opening scene of “Easy Rider.” (Bonhams)
The 1968 Bultaco Pursang 250 MkII, which zoomed in “Easy Rider,” is lauded for agility. (Bonhams)

Repainted and still in film-used condition, this bike was one of two supplied by Bultaco to Fonda’s Pando Company for use in Easy Rider. Ridden by Fonda in the film’s very first scene, this bike didn’t last long as Captain America rides a different chopper for much of the movie. A favorite of motocross enthusiasts, the Pursang wasn’t the fastest bike in terms of straight-ahead speed but was lauded for its agility and tight turn ratio.

Steve McQueen’s Old 1939 Nimbus 750cc Model C Luxus Combination

Steve McQueen’s old 1939 Nimbus 750cc Model C Luxus Combination. (Bonhams)
Steve McQueen owned this 1939 Nimbus 750cc Model C Luxus Combination before his death in 1980. (Bonhams)
Steve McQueen’s old 1939 Nimbus 750cc Model C Luxus Combination comes complete with sidecar. (Bonhams)

Owned by McQueen prior to his death in 1980, this motorcycle-and-sidecar combo was sold in 1984 at the Imperial Palace Hotel in Las Vegas during the late actor’s estate sale. Introduced in 1919 by a Danish firm that produced the first commercial vacuum cleaner, the Nimbus motorcycle was produced in limited quantities and was always a favorite ride of the Danish military and postal service. This particular model was originally sold in 1939 and the sidecar was tacked on later.

 Steve McQueen’s Old 1953 Vincent 498cc Comet Series-C

Steve McQueen’s Old 1953 Vincent 498cc Comet Series-C. (Bonhams)
Steve McQueen’s Old 1953 Vincent 498cc Comet Series-C could hit 90 miles per hour. (Bonhams)
Steve McQueen’s Old 1953 Vincent 498cc Comet Series-C boasts fuel-efficiency. (Bonhams)

In 1978, McQueen engaged in a cycle swap when he traded the 1953 Vincent Comet you see above to Dr. Earl Chalfant for a 1939 Indian Chief. Capable of hitting up to 90 miles per hour but also fuel efficient enough to serve as a touring bike, the Series C Comet did not sell particularly well and was only produced in limited numbers. Recently started and successfully ridden, this bike’s unique ownership record increases its value significantly.

In addition to those bikes, another one owned by McQueen, as well as one owned by Dennis Hopper, will be crossing the block.

For more information on the bikes or to register to bid, head over to Bonhams.