Icons & Idols: Hollywood

164 298 STEVE MCQUEEN FIRST HUSQVARNA MOTORCYCLE PURCHASED FROM BENGT ÅBERG Steve McQueen’s first Husky: a 1968 Husqvarna Viking 360 motorcycle purchased by Steve McQueen frommotocross champion Bengt Åberg. Three years before the image of McQueen atop a Husqvarna in 1971’s On Any Sunday ushered in a new era in public awareness of motocross racing, he caught his first glimpse of this nimble two-stroke being utilized by Swedish racer Bengt Åberg to dominate the competition in the 500cc class. After the race McQueen approached Åberg and offered to purchase that exact bike, frame number MF-1987 and engine number 360449. The sale was agreed upon and brokered by motocross promoter and Husqvarna importer, Edison Dye through McQueen’s company, Solar Productions. McQueen experts including Don Ince, a noted McQueen and Husky historian believe that MF-1987 is the most important McQueen Husky because it was the FIRST Husky purchased by McQueen and is the only 1968 that he owned. A picture showing McQueen on MF-1987 is available on request. If McQueen had not seen MF-1987 being ridden at a race by World Champion and Hall of Famer Bengt Åberg in 1968, McQueen's connection with the Husky brand may never have begun and we would not even be talking about the (McQueen) Huskies that followed it including the Sport's Illustrated Husky. Originally founded in 1620 to produce arms by decree of the Swedish Monarch, Husqvarna began building bicycles in 1896 and motorcycles in 1903. The “Viking” model was based off the 250 Husky with a larger 360cc single-cylinder engine and features the iconic maroon fuel tank with chrome side panels. The present example also features the earlier “bolt-together” style frame, distinguishing it frommany of McQueen’s later Husqvarna motorcycles. By 1968 Edison Dye had already begun popularizing the sport of motocross in the United States by importing both European riders and bikes, specifically those made by Husqvarna. Dye had also convinced Canadian-American rider Malcom Smith, who would later be prominently featured alongside McQueen in 1971's On Any Sunday , to abandon his Greeves motorcycle in favor of a Husqvarna. Fresh off his iconic performance in 1968's Bullitt , McQueen was continually cementing his reputation as the "King of Cool" as well as a connoisseur and skilled practitioner of all manner of motorsports, both on and off screen. McQueen's acquisition and use of the present Husqvarna was a pivotal moment in the history of motocross and its increased popularity in the coming decade. The bike was given a 14-month restoration bringing back its factory condition while retaining its original single-cylinder 360cc engine, 32mm Bing carburetor and four-speed gearbox. An electronic PowerDynamo ignition has been installed for convenience and performance but the original points type system has been saved. The bike is sold with four documents outlining its early history including: the 1969 DMV transfer signed by M. Edison Dye and indicating McQueen's company Solar Productions as the new owner of MF-1987; Åberg's signed Orange County International Moto-Cross entry form dated November 23, 1968; the November 12, 1968 invoice fromMed-International to Nelson Brother's; and a typed note fromMed-International to "Pierre" referencing the transport of "Abergs 360 MF-1987." $150,000-200,000 ICONS & IDOLS HOLLYWOOD