Famous racer and vehicle collector Steve McQueen, known for his extensive collection of vintage cars and bikes, still rings a bell with the vast community of aficionados in today's times. Most of his collection has managed to gain significant attention, and high prices like we saw in the 1970 Husqvarna 400 Cross bike sale, and the 2013 Las Vegas Antique Motorcycle auction which had 3 of his prized possessions going under the hammer. There was also the Triumph Bonneville Steve McQueen edition which turned out to be favorite amongst bike lovers. Now a 1914 Indian Model F Board Track racing bike is up for grabs at the Bonham's International Classic Motorcycle Show in Stafford, UK, where estimates put it's final price at $43,000. This motorcycle was one of the earliest purpose built board track racing bikes, since none built earlier than this was done keeping bike racing in mind.
Unlike the fine engineering we see today, this 1914 Indian bike didn't have features like the clutch, throttle, and brakes, and had to be push-started to get the riders going on the racing circuit. However, the speeds on this 4HP 500cc machine reached about 100 mph, making them one of the most aggressive and fastest during the peak days of it's existence. The magneto of the engine, had then to be shorted each time the engine was to be bought to a halt after which the bike rolled on till a stoppage.
George M Hendee and Carl Oscar Hedstrom (founders of the Indian Co.) had been successful racing cyclists during their time, and were well-aware of the publicity their bikes would get if they were placed on the cycle racing tracks. They met with success during the earliest years of the 1900's, and by October 1902, had to license Aurora Automatic Machinery Company to produce the special engines, due to the overwhelming response of their products. It was not until 1908 when the company decided to build something for racing purposes, which until then were modified versions of general models. Later they built a special testing track for the Model F, which had riders like Jake DeRosier emerge as one of the sport's earliest heroes.
From the known ownership history, this 1914 Indian Model F Track racing bike was under the ownership of Steve McQueen, from where it landed up in a private collector's garage in May 2010, where it has been till date. Now on 28th April, at the Bonham's Stafford sale, there will be a new owner for this bike.