1970 HUSQVARNA 400 CROSS
It was a match made in heaven. The undisputed king of cool, Hollywood legend Steve Mcqueen and Swedish-built US desert racing and motocross legend Husqvarna. As motocross hit the big time in the USA in the late ’60s and early ’70s, both Mcqueen and Husqvarna were there to ride the wave.
Mcqueen lent both his celebrity and $300,000 towards the production costs of the best-loved motorcycle movie of all time, On Any Sunday. This Husqvarna 400 Cross is the very bike used in the sunset beach riding sequence that closes the movie. One of five 400cc Huskies Mcqueen owned, the frame number MH-1341, documented by the US Marine Corps (on whose training facility the sequence was shot, thanks to a personal request by Mcqueen), confirms this as the bike that closes the movie.
Husqvarna’s first production motocrosser appeared in 1963 and the factory would go on to dominate motocross for two decades, winning 12 world championships in the ’60s and ’70s. So it was no surprise that, as the ’60s drew to a close, arch dirt-bike fan Mcqueen would become one of the marque’s most high-profile customers.
The man credited with orchestrating the boomtime for motocross in America – Edison Dye – had become the Husqvarna importer in the late 60s and both Mcqueen and ace all-rounder Malcolm Smith were just two of the countless converts to the fast, agile and lightweight two-strokes. That was great news in terms of PR for Husqvarna, but the biggest and best endorsement they could wish for was just around the corner. Mcqueen pumped in money for On Any Sunday through his production company Solar Productions, and Malcolm Smith and Mert Lawill provided top-class riding alongside Mcqueen. Cycle World magazine declared it: ‘without question, the finest motorcycle movie ever made’. To many motorcycle enthusiasts, it still is.
The vendor has owned the bike since 2008 and has reconditioned it to get it back into working order following a period on display at the San Diego Auto Museum. It is essentially as Mcqueen last raced it, fitted with a compression-release lever, modified cylinder head and modified exhaust pipe – all period modifications.