The exact ‘Dune Buggy’ in which Steve McQueen whisked Faye Dunaway away over the beach of Massachusetts in the iconic 1968 Thomas Crown Affair movie is about to go under the hammer.
Classic fans will remember the American superstar for his numerous and legendary appearances via the usual block-busting movies, including The Thomas Crown Affair, Bullitt, The Getaway, The Cincinnati Kid, Papillon, The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape.
McQueen’s legendary ‘King of Cool’ status was never more present in the Thomas Crown Affair, the Hollywood film that captivated global audiences and brought the unapologetic Meyers Manx ‘dune buggy’ to the attention of the public. The movie instantly reinforced McQueen’s affinity for anything that was fast and furious, as well as helped catapult the talented and beautiful Faye Dunaway to A-list stardom.
“I live for myself and answer to nobody.” – on the set of The Cincinnati Kid
Unlike any other Manx, however, McQueen enlisted the help of motor legend Pete Condos of Con-Ferr fame to build a completely customized and totally unique vehicle. In a period documentary about the movie, McQueen said, “Crown lives at the beach and he has a dune buggy.
“I helped them design it, so I’m kinda proud of that. It’s set on a Volkswagen chassis with big ol’ wide weenies – big wide tires on mag wheels, Corvair engine stuffed in the back…It’s very light, you know (because of the fibreglass body). It’s pulling about 230 horses and weighs about a thousand pounds.”
The exact and world-famous ‘Dune Buggy’ that McQueen helped design and then piloted without any stunt double, will be offered for sale at Bonhams’ annual Amelia Island, Florida auction next March.
McQueen bonus facts:
As well as being a TAG legend, McQueen is still celebrated as the ultimate King of Cool. Below, we shine a light on a few lesser-known facts about the star that only add to his everlasting charm.
- His father was a stunt pilot for a barnstorming flying circus and left his mother shortly after meeting her.
- He was once caught red-handed by police while he stole hubcaps, and handed over to his stepfather, who beat him severely.
- McQueen was offered the male lead in Breakfast at Tiffany’s but couldn’t accept due to other commitments.
- The actor would demand free items such as electric razors and jeans from studios while filming with them. Later it was revealed that all items went to the California Junior Boys Republic reformatory in Chino Hills where he spent his childhood.
- He volunteered to serve on a ship once he left the California Junior Boys Republic reformatory at the age of 16. On reaching the Dominican Republic with the crew, he abandoned the ship and got a job as a towel boy in a brothel.
- A pair of blue-tinted Persol sunglasses worn by McQueen in The Thomas Crown Affair was auctioned off in 2006, selling for $70,200.
Auction information can be found via this link.