Rabid collectors will soon have a chance to own a piece of Hollywood history when a truck owned by acting legend Steve McQueen hits the auction block. The selling point? It’s the last vehicle driven by the screen icon before his death from cancer in 1980.
As auction house Mecum Auctions points out, the actor was an avid collector of cars, trucks and motorcycles, owning more than 60 vehicles during his lifetime. The vehicle in question, which goes up for auction Friday, is a 1952 Forest Green Chevrolet 3800 series 1-ton long-bed pickup truck. The truck includes a custom-built camper equipped with a double-sided bed, storage cabinets, drawers and shelves. McQueen purchased the vehicle in February 1978.
“Steve’s collection of cars and motorcycles cluttered the private driveway that serviced a row of homes near the beach, but that didn’t stop him from buying whatever he wanted,” his widow, Barbara Minty McQueen, said. “I remember one time we drove past a migrant farm worker who had this bitchin’ old truck, and Steve turned the car around and wrote him a check on the spot. He bought a plane or two that way, too.”
According to Mecum Auctions, McQueen rode in the pickup truck as he made his way from his home in Santa Paula to Ventura County Airport on Nov. 3, 1980. The actor traveled to Juarez, Mexico, in order to undergo surgery after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. During McQueen’s ride in the Chevy pickup truck, he was accompanied by Reverend Billy Graham.
“According to Graham, McQueen peppered him with questions of the afterlife on this ‘last ride,’” Mecum notes. “When they arrived at the airport, Graham read a number of passages of scripture, and they prayed several times. After “Amen,” Graham instinctively handed over his Bible to McQueen, which became his proudest possession. He was clutching the Bible when he passed away a few days later.”
McQueen died four days later, on Nov. 7.
As Wired points out, Mecum is auctioning off a host of memorabilia at its Celebrity Items Auction at Santa Monica Air Center in Santa Monica, Calif., this weekend, including a pair of sunglasses owned by John Lennon, cowboy boots worn by Burt Reynolds, a ring owned by Bruce Lee and much more.