STEVE McQUEEN’s 1971 HUSKY 400 CROSS UP FOR AUCTION | BUY IT NOW!

June 13th, 1971– Steve McQueen riding his Husqvarna 400 motorcycle in the Mojave Desert, get a good look at that old school Bell helmet — Photo by Heinz Kluetmeier/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

On May 14th, Bonhams will auction Steve McQueen’s iconic 1971 Husqvarna 400 cross motorcycle– along with various racing trophies won by the “King of cool” himself.  What’s that?  Husky who?

With its signature red and chrome glistening gas tank, the Husqvarna (or “Husky” as it’s affectionately known) was a stunning beauty of a bike, and a mud-slinging beast on the American motocross circuit. Back in the 1960s, the increasingly popular sport of American motocross was bogged down by clumsily modified (not to mention heavy) Harley-Davidson, Triumph & BSA road bikes.  It was lumbering in antiquity and in dire need of innovation.  Enter Edison Dye.

While on a motorcycle tour of Europe, Dye took particular note of European motocross and the lighter-weight, nimble, two-stroke bikes that were in stark contrast to the American scene.  Swedish maker Husqvarna particulary stood out with their alloy engine components, and distinctive exhaust.  He asked motorcycling legend Malcolm Smith (Steve McQueen’s riding chum in “On Any Sunday”) to take a Husky and put it through its paces for him.  Upon Smith’s glowing review, Edison Dye decided to sign on as Husqvarna’s U.S. importer.  The Screamin’ Swede was about to take American motocross by storm.

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June 13th, 1971– Steve McQueen riding his favorite motocross bike, the Husqvarna 400 Cross, in the Mojave Desert — Photo by Heinz Kluetmeier/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

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HUSQVARNA | THE SCREAMIN’ SWEDE THAT STARTED A RACING REVOLUTION

The bike that got American motocross off the ground-- the 1963 Husqvarna (Husky) Racer.

The bike that got American motocross off the ground– the 1963 Husqvarna (Husky) Racer. This unrestored bike is No. 59 of just 100 250cc race machines Husqvarna built in ’63.

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With its signature red and chrome glistening gas tank, the Husqvarna (or “Husky” as it’s affectionately known) was a stunning beauty of a bike, and a mud-slinging beast on the American motocross circuit. Back in the 1960s, the increasingly popular sport of American motocross was bogged down by clumsily modified (not to mention heavy) Harley-Davidson, Triumph & BSA road bikes.  It was lumbering in antiquity and in dire need of innovation.  Enter Edison Dye.

While on a motorcycle tour of Europe, Dye took particular note of European motocross and the lighter-weight, nimble, two-stroke bikes that were in stark contrast to the American scene.  Swedish maker Husqvarna particulary stood out with their alloy engine components, and distinctive exhaust.  He asked motorcycling legend Malcolm Smith (Steve McQueen’s riding chum in “On Any Sunday”) to take a Husky and put it through its paces for him.  Upon Smith’s glowing review, Edison Dye decided to sign on as Husqvarna’s U.S. importer.  The Screamin’ Swede was about to take American motocross by storm.

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Heikki Mikkola, the “Flyin’ Finn” was one of the most popular and feared motocross racers of the 1970s. During his illustrious career, Mikkola collected four World Grand Prix Motocross Championship titles.  Mikkola won the 1974 World Grand Prix 500cc Championship on a Husqvarna.

Heikki Mikkola, the “Flyin’ Finn” was one of the most popular and feared motocross racers of the 1970s. During his illustrious career, Mikkola collected four World Grand Prix Motocross Championship titles. In 1974 he won the World Grand Prix 500cc Championship on a Husqvarna.

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