McQueen's 1969 Lola T70 From Le Mans To Cross Auction Block


  • 1969 Lola T70 MKIII B Picture

    1969 Lola T70 MKIII B Picture

    A 1969 Lola race car which starred in the classic Steve McQueen Film Le Mans is set to cross the auction block. | February 13, 2013

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Just the Facts:
  • A 1969 Lola T70 MKIII B, which starred in Steve McQueen's Le Mans movie, will cross the auction block February 23 at the Race Retro & Classic Car Sale.
  • It's estimated to fetch between $887,000 and nearly $1.1 million.
  • The film's camera car, a 1968 powder blue Ford GT40/Mirage Lightweight Racing Car, sold last August for $11 million.

COVENTRY, England — A 1969 Lola T70 MKIII B, which starred in Steve McQueen's classic Le Mans movie, will cross the auction block February 23 at the Race Retro & Classic Car Sale. It's estimated to fetch between $887,000 and nearly $1.1 million at the Silverstone Auctions' event.

The car was one of three MKIII B's used in the iconic film. For its movie debut, it was repainted yellow with the racing number "11" on it. It was seen spinning on the downhill approach to the Indianapolis corner.

Later in the film, it was cloned to look like a Gulf-Porsche 917 for a signature McQueen crash sequence with the car being driven by a remote control, where it kisses the metal safety barrier.

In the scene, the 917 swerved to avoid a Porsche 911 and then hit the barrier. However, the aerial for the remote control was taped inside the left-hand side of the tail and after the car hit the barrier for the first time side on, it fell off. The 917 was now out of control with the throttle stuck wide open at maximum revs. It then went on to play pinball between the metal safety barrier on the run toward Maison Blanche. The results were spectacular, and much better than expected, and it was all caught on film by multiple cameras.

It has been completely rebuilt for European sports car racing, and comes with current FIA papers, a fresh engine, a rebuilt gearbox and a new differential. It's ready to compete at the top European circuits, having recently won at both Monza and Spa.

McQueen, who had a penchant for exotic cars and motorcycles, had a career filled with his passions. His films have won fans from across the globe for their killer chase scenes, including the often-imitated Bullitt and The Great Escape.

The vehicles associated with those films have been a magnet for auction success, too. McQueen's camera car, a 1968 powder blue Ford GT40/Mirage Lightweight Racing Car, also used in the film Le Mans, sold last August for $11 million.

A 1970 Porsche 911S that he bought while making Le Mans and which starred in the opening sequence was sold at auction in August 2011 for $1.375 million.

"It's rare for a car with such a colorful history, including a starring role in one of the most famous films of the 1970s, to be offered for auction, so we're absolutely delighted to have secured (the Lola) for the Race Retro & Classic Car Sale," said Nick Whale, managing director, Silverstone Auctions, in a statement.

Edmunds says: Movie memorabilia from Steve McQueen, the King of Cool, has fetched a pretty penny in the past. Will this follow a well-trodden path?

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