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Pick of the Day: Will 1971 Husqvarna 250 gain from Steve McQueen Effect?

The Swedish dirt bike is documented as being owned and ridden by the late actor


Testing the durability of the Steve McQueen Effect, which has resulted in outlandish prices paid for vehicles or personal items that the revered actor once owned or was somehow connected with, the Pick of the Day is a 1971 Husqvarna 250 Cross motorcycle that McQueen owned and rode in his heyday.

The simple Swedish dirt bike would be a desirable craft for vintage enduro fans, but it’s not usually all that valuable as a collector’s item.  The NADA value guide pegs the top price for a 1971 Husqvarna 250 Cross in excellent condition at $6,665.


Ah, but the Steve McQueen magic is an amazing thing, resulting in such mad transactions as his 1976 Porsche Turbo Carrera being sold for $1.95 million, or his “Michael Delaney” racing suit worn for the movie Le Mans going for nearly $1 million.  

The Husqvarna was reputedly a favorite of McQueen’s, ridden often and used in some enduro competitions, according to the Phoenix dealer advertising the motorcycle on ClassicCars.com.  His ownership is fully documented and authenticated, the seller says, and a ream of supporting paperwork goes with the sale.

So not unexpectedly, this Husky is priced at $125,000. 

mcqueen, Pick of the Day: Will 1971 Husqvarna 250 gain from Steve McQueen Effect?, ClassicCars.com Journal

Yeah, that’s pretty wild. Although in the bigger scheme of McQueen collector items, it’s a relatively affordable entry point for anyone who cares to enter and for whom money is no object.

“Under the influence of friend and stunt man Bud Ekins (who made the famous motorcycle jump over the fence in The Great Escape), McQueen usually rode Triumphs in the 1960s,” the seller says in the ad. “But when Husqvarna appeared in the States, McQueen found another favorite, and famously rode a Husky in the 1971 film On Any Sunday.


“The film created thousands of first-time bikers in the U.S. and worldwide, and sales exploded for Husqvarna overnight. The Husqvarna 250 Cross from the movie is the same model as this, except this motorcycle was his personal bike.”

McQueen was known to be an expert dirt biker who often competed on Huskys, the seller notes, adding that this bike remains pretty much the same as when the late actor rode it.

mcqueen, Pick of the Day: Will 1971 Husqvarna 250 gain from Steve McQueen Effect?, ClassicCars.com Journal

“The motorcycle has been sympathetically preserved; with the exception of some paint loss on the front fender, it remains in excellent cosmetic and running condition,” the ad says.

Putting things in some kind of perspective, as if that’s possible with the Steve McQueen Effect, the dealer notes another remarkable past sale.

“The last McQueen Husqvarna to be marketed, also a 1971 but a 400 Cross model, set a world record when it sold recently for $230,500.”


So, at just $125,000, or many multiple times its worth without the Steve McQueen provenance, this Husky could be some kind of a bargain as a collector’s item.  Or not.  

To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. On any Sunday, yup. Still have my OSSA enduro from mid 70s. At 76 I still can ride it on our 200 acres. I am no Steve. but i enjoy it. Never had a problem. In the 70s I rode an enduro at the Unadilla race track. It was an all day event over many miles of rough terrain. 50 entered, I came in 10th after being disqualified half way through. Even beat factory riders. It was not me, but the OSSA. I just held on and it went.

  2. Never quite understood why someone would want a “belonging “ that was owned by a celebrity. Kinda reminds me of a Seinfeld episode where George thought he had bought Jon Voit’s car when it was actually a car owned by a dentist of the same name. If I went over to your house & you told me this bike was previously owned by Steve McQueen I would look at you & saye “ well it’s yours now “ & you paid way too much for it.

    • I know where you are coming from with your examples and you make some sense. That perspective of “what’s the big deal”.
      But if Steve McQueen is your hero and you place your hands on those motorcycle grips and think “he rode this” – I bet the feeling would be profound.
      Like when Jay Leno test drove the McQueen Jaguar XKSS and in the middle of describing the car it strikes him, as he is going down the road, “Wow. I kind of need to take this in, Steve McQueen drove this car, he owned this car”.
      When the Bullitt mustang was nearby on tour before it’s auction, I saw it. I touched the steering wheel. I saw that movie when it was in the theater and I have been a Steve McQueen fan since. I was sad when he passed away. He was younger than myself today.

      R.I.P. Steve McQueen
      Someone will own your old motorcycle and it will make them happy every time they touch it. And that is because of you.

  3. I own a Market Basket shopping cart that Steve McQueen once pushed thru his local market to pick up a few items for a evening get-together. I have full documentation and I even have the receipt that Steve left in the cart. The Cart is rated a 2+ with all it’s natural patina and what looks like some dried ice cream in the bottom. This piece of Hollywood history (although the market was in Burbank) can be had for $59,000. Much less than that motorcycle !

  4. I worked with McQueen on a movie 1971 Jr Bonner Prescott Az,He would ride Husqvarna just like that one after a rap of the filming almost everyday. I was his stand in and stunt double.Steve could ride very well!!


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