Bonhams & Butterfields celebrated the sixth year of its famed auctions of motorcycles, motorcars and automobilia on Saturday, October 25th in Los Angeles during California Bike Week, the kick-off to Love Ride Weekend — held at the prestigious Petersen Automotive Museum. An international crowd of collectors competed for American muscle cars from the Bruce Willis Collection, for Steve McQueen memorabilia from his first wife’s collection, and for vintage motorbikes — with strong prices realized.
Led by a 1968 Shelby Mustang from the Bruce Willis car collection, the sale featured a guest appearance by Neile McQueen Toffel (a.k.a. Neile Adams), Steve McQueen’s first wife. An at-capacity crowd of collectors and motoring aficionados from around the world paid nearly $2-million for an exciting and diverse line-up of cars, motorbikes and the never-before-offered collection of personal effects from silver screen icon Steve McQueen.
Spirited bidding was seen from assembled motoring fans, pop culture enthusiasts and collectors, international competition came via telephone, and several lots sold to collectors across the US, in the UK, Germany and other parts of the world, resulting in the following highlights:
• The Bruce Willis cars inspired great interest among collectors, particularly the actor’s 1968 Shelby Mustang GT500 Convertible, selling for $161,000. His 1969 Dodge Charger Coupe sold for $86,580, and the 1957 Chevy Corvette given to him by Demi Moore sold for $79,500. • A 1974 Ducati 750SS, ranking on collectors’ “Top Ten Most-Desirable Bikes” lists for 20-years, sold for $81,900. • The diamond-studded Hot Wheels® car, designed to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the brand and the production of their four billionth Hot Wheels® car, brought $60,000, proceeds benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles and the Inland Empire. • The passion and interest for Steve McQueen proved strong — with competitive bidding on various items: McQueen’s hardstone Asian seal, well-carved with a depiction of a dragon, sold for $27,600. His12 gauge shot gun, featured in the film “The Getaway,” sold for $22,800, and his US Passport brought $9,000.
Mark Osborne, VP of the Motoring Department at Bonhams & Butterfields, said: “With our unique offerings of entire collections and individual items from the likes of Steve McQueen, Bruce Willis, Clark Gable, Charles Bronson and Von Dutch over recent years — not to mention outstanding performance cars and bikes — our annual “Classic California” auction is consistently the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Needless to say, we are very pleased with the results.”
Having become a must-attend event in Hollywood for custom culture and motoring aficionados of all genres, the Bonhams’ autumn “Classic California” sale demonstrated once again why the 214-year-old auction house is a leader in the domain of collector cars, motorcycles, art and antiques.