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HomeEventsMcQueen’s ‘Le Mans’ movie E-type going to auction

McQueen’s ‘Le Mans’ movie E-type going to auction

Actor gave the car to movie production crew’s chef after filming

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During the filming of the movie Le Mans, Steve McQueen’s personal car fleet in France included a Porsche 911, a Pagoda-roofed Mercedes-Benz SL and a Jaguar E-Type roadster. That Jaguar has been consigned to Bonhams Monaco auction scheduled for May 13, the auction house has announced.

The car has been consigned to the sale by Fredy Zurbrügg, the young chef who fed McQueen’s Solar Productions film crew during the shoot.

“For many years I had no idea that I owned something so valuable,” Zurbrügg, now approaching age 80, is quoted in the Bonhams announcement. 

When the movie crew was wrapping up its work in France, McQueen reportedly told the young chef to choose any of the actor’s fleet. At the time, Zurbrügg chose the Jaguar, even though he didn’t have a driver’s license. He got one that fall in France, on his second attempt, and thus could drive the car back to Switzerland.

McQueen, McQueen’s ‘Le Mans’ movie E-type going to auction, ClassicCars.com Journal
The E-type in the Solar Productions compound at Le Mans | Peter Samuelson photo courtesy of Bonhams

I decided on the silver Jaguar, a convertible E-Type Series II with only 600 miles on the speedo,” Zurbrügg recalled. “It was a US version because it was supposed to be shipped back to America.”

Jaguar had delivered the new Series II 4.2-liter roadster to the Solar movie production set in Le Mans. After 52 years of ownership, Zurbrügg will part with the car, which Bonhams expects to bring €250,000 to €350,000 ($282,710 to $395,800) at the auction, being held during the Monaco Historics race weekend.

McQueen, McQueen’s ‘Le Mans’ movie E-type going to auction, ClassicCars.com Journal
McQueen, McQueen’s ‘Le Mans’ movie E-type going to auction, ClassicCars.com Journal
Movie poster | Michael Kayser image courtesy of Bonhams

As a young chef, Zurbrügg had been hired by Le Mans production manager Hubert Fröhlich to feed the film crew for the portion of the James Bond movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, filmed in Switzerland.

Bonhams reports that Fröhlich was very pleased with the young chef and hired him for the Solar compound during Le Mans, where Zurbrügg fed 800 cast and crew and where he invented a special dish, the “Steve Steak” for the movie’s star.

When McQueen gifted the car to Zurbrügg, it’s odometer showed 600 miles. It’s being offered in unrestored condition after being driven less than 46,000 miles.

Zurbrügg recalls driving the car back to Switzerland and telling the customs officer at the border, “I had the Jaguar and two crates of cognac to declare.”

So, will the McQueen magic strike again? 

The Porsche 911S that McQueen drove in the opening sequences of the moviesold for $1.38 million in 2011, and the racing suit he wore in the movie brought for nearly $1 million at auction.

Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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