A Great Escape for the King of Cool's Willys Jeep at the NEC

A Great Escape for the King of Cool's Willys Jeep at the NEC image

A 1945 Willys Jeep MB once owned by Hollywood royalty and the ‘King of Cool’ himself, Steve McQueen, will be up for grabs at Silverstone Auctions’ final sale of the year at the show on 10th and 11th November.

Star of films such as Bullitt, The Great Escape and Le Mans, Steve McQueen built up a reputation as the ‘King of Cool’ thanks to his anti-hero persona in his films and in 1974 was named as the highest paid actor in the world. During his 28 year career, McQueen developed a vast car collection including the 1945 Willys Jeep MB on offer.

One of the 300,000 Willys Jeeps produced during World War II, the car on offer was first delivered to the US Army on 7th July 1945. Following McQueen’s death in 1980, the Jeep was offered at auction for the first time as lot 532 in the Steve McQueen Estate Auction at the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas on 25th November 1984.

“Steve McQueen’s reputation both as an actor and as a racing driver is historic,” says Adam Rutter, classic car specialist at Silverstone Auctions. “His love of speed and all things cars is famous. Performing many of his own stunts in Bullitt and The Great Escape, McQueen took his talent to the track competing in the 12 Hours of Sebring and the Baja 1000. McQueen even had the opportunity to combine his two passions in the 1971 film Le Mans.”

Powered by a 2.2 litre four cylinder engine with 60hp and a top speed of 65mph, the Jeep wouldn’t have been the fastest car in McQueen’s collection, but was certainly one of the most iconic. Both the Willys Jeep and Ford GPW became symbolic of WWII and would star in countless war movies, in his early movie career McQueen even appeared as a Jeep driver in the 1959 film Never So Few. The Jeep on offer even includes a special plaque denoting it as being owned by Steve McQueen and enters the auction with an estimate of £80,000 to £100,000.

Since being imported to the UK, the Jeep has been subject of a thorough recommissioning and renovation by marque specialists and leading UK Jeep experts, Jeeparts UK, returning the car to the exacting specification as to when Steve McQueen owned the car.

The car comes with the Certificate of Authenticity from the McQueen Estate Sale, the original auction catalogue from the auction and an original advertisement flyer. Also included are the original blue Californian license plates which are dated for road use until 31st October 1980, just one week prior to McQueen’s death on 7th November 1980.

“This car is a truly unrepeatable and unmissable opportunity for both car enthusiasts and movie fans alike and undoubtedly the star of the auction. The list of cars at the sale reads like a who’s who of the motoring world, Ferrari, Aston Martin, BMW, Mercedes, McLaren, Porsche and Jaguar, all of which are strongly represented at the sale. All eyes will be on the NEC on auction day.” concludes Rutter.

For more information on Steve McQueen’s 1945 Willys Jeep and the wide variety of cars on offer in the NEC Classic Motor Show Sale, please visit: www.silverstoneauctions.com/steve-mcqueens-1945-willys-jeep-mb