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auction house hopes for a bit of Viva Knievel

Everyone’s heard about Steve McQueen’s desert sled coming up for sale at Bonhams Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction on 7 January, and now here’s something that might be even better: Evel Knievel’s screen bike from Viva Knievel.
 
The 1976 Harley-Davidson XL 1000 was customised by Bud Ekins for the Hollywood movie in which Knievel played himself fighting Mexican drug dealers. Owned by Warner Brothers, the motorcycle was purchased from the studio after filming by Los Angeles-area Harley dealer Dick Hutchins and has been displayed ever since.
 
It’s an incredible artefact of popular culture ridden in a movie by America’s greatest daredevil. “I came along at the right time in the right place,” said Knievel. “America was down on its ass when I came along and needed somebody who was truthful and honest, someone who would spill blood and break bones, somebody who wasn’t a phony.”
 
The Knievel and McQueen bikes – a 1963 Triumph Bonneville formerly owned by Steve McQueen, modified by Bud Ekins and painted by Kenny Howard a.k.a. Von Dutch, plus other motorcycles – will be offered on Thursday, 7 January at Bonhams Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction held at Bally’s Hotel and Casino on The Strip. For more information, visit bonhams.com/vegas.

 

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