1970 HUSQ­VARNA 400 CROSS

Classic Bike (UK) - - STARS’ BIKES SALE -

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.

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