Terence Steven "Steve" McQueen (March 24, 1930 – November 7, 1980) was an American actor, filmmaker, and racer. Nicknamed the “King of Cool" for his antihero persona, which he developed at the height of the Vietnam-era counterculture, made him one of the top box-office draws of the 1960s and ‘70s.
His popular films included The Thomas Crown Affair, Bullitt, The Getaway, and Papillon, as well as the all-star ensemble films The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, and The Towering Inferno. A detail-obsessed perfectionist, McQueen was known to be combative with directors and producers, but his popularity put him in high demand and enabled him to command large salaries. In 1974, he became the highest-paid movie star in the world, although he then stopped acting completely for four years.
McQueen was an avid motorcycle and racing enthusiast and performed many of his own stunts whenever he had the opportunity to drive in a movie. The most memorable were undoubtedly the motorcycle chases in The Great Escape (1963) and the car chases in Bullitt (1968).
McQueen considered becoming a professional race car driver, and in the 1970 12 Hours of Sebring race, he and Peter Revson won the 3.0-liter class with a Porsche 908/02. Despite driving with a cast on his left foot from a motorcycle accident two weeks before, McQueen and his co-driver missed winning overall by only 23 seconds, the victory going to Mario Andretti, Ignazio Giunti, and Nino Vaccarella in a 5.0-liter Ferrari 512S.
Later that year, the same Porsche 908 was entered by his production company, Solar Productions, as a camera car for the film Le Mans in the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans. McQueen wanted to drive a Porsche 917 with Jackie Stewart in that race, but his film backers threatened to pull their support if he did. Faced with the choice of driving for 24 hours in the race or driving the entire summer for the film, McQueen opted to do the latter.
McQueen personally owned several racecars from the film, including a Porsche 917, a Porsche 908 and a Ferrari 512. To his dismay, he was never able to own the legendary Ford Mustang GT 390 he drove in the movie Bullitt, which featured a highly modified drivetrain that suited the actor’s driving style. However, McQueen did own a 1963 Ferrari 250 Lusso Berlinetta, a Jaguar D-Type XKSS, and a 1958 Porsche 356 Speedster. He also collected classic motorcycles, and by the time of his death from cancer, his collection included more than 100 vehicles and was valued in the millions of dollars.
Today, McQueen ownership propels the value of a vehicle into the millions. The stock 1970 Porsche 911S which he bought while making the film Le Mans, which appeared in the opening sequence, was sold at auction in August 2011 for $1.375 million USD. McQueen's 1963 metallic-brown Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso sold for $2.31 million at auction on August 16, 2007.
Appearing in 1971, Le Mans was a critical and financial failure, but it is a beloved cult film for racing fans today because of its realistic, almost documentary-like depiction of racing in that era. The Porsche 917K, number 20, featured in the movie with blue-and-orange Gulf Oil livery is one of the most popular movie-related die-cast model subjects ever produced by AUTOart. The die-cast model of McQueen’s 917 is still popular after more than a decade on the market. The Ford Mustang GT390 he drove in the movie Bullitt is also a popular AUTOart subject, and AUTOart has also produced some of McQueen’s other racing cars, such as the Porsche 908 he raced in 1970 12 Hours of Sebring, and the Porsche 356 Speedster with which he won his first SCCA race in 1959.
AUTOart has also produced one of Steve McQueen’s best-known personal cars, a right-hand-drive Jaguar D-type XKSS, and the actor’s various vehicles are considered to be the most popular movie character subjects in our catalog.