On January 7, 2016, Bonhams will be auctioning off a series of rare and/or historically significant motorcycles at its Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction, being held at Bally’s Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
One of these machines is the 1976 Harley-Davidson XL1000 Evel Knievel Custom seen above, which was used in the filming of the movie Viva Knievel. Originally an Ironhead Sporster 1000, the legendary Bud Ekins was commissioned by Warner Brothers to perform his magic to make the bike appear like Knievel’s XR-750 used for jumping.
After Viva Knievel was finished filming, Dick Hutchins, owner of a Los Angeles-area dealer who originally received the Sportster from Harley-Davidson, purchased the bike and put it on display at the museum attached to his new dealership in Yucca Valley, California.
According to Bonhams, in the current owner’s care, “the bike has undergone a recent cosmetic restoration, including being repainted by George Sedlak, the man who originally painted Knievel’s jump bikes and all of the motorcycles in the movie. It is sold with a letter of authenticity from Dick Hutchins.” More information about this auction can be found at the Bonhams site.
Another notable motorcycle going up for auction is the 1963 Triumph Bonneville “Desert Sled” owned by Steve McQueen, also modified by Bud Ekins and painted by Von Dutch. Offered from the prominent California collection of Larry Bowman, “this is perhaps the most iconic models ridden by the iconic Hollywood actor,” says Bonhams. “The King of Cool owned scores of motorcycles but this machine encapsulates the McQueen legend like no other.”
More info about this and the rest of the Bonhams Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction can be found here.