Written by Barrett-Jackson Corporate Editor, Barbara Toombs
Content provided by Barrett-Jackson
Legendary actor Steve McQueen was known for his love of racing and speed – both on and off the silver screen. He was a serious collector of cars, trucks and motorcycles, and reportedly owned more than 60 rare vehicles. While some were top-of-the-line performance cars, others were more utilitarian in nature, like this 1952 Chevrolet 3800 Pickup and custom camper (Lot #1292), which will be crossing the block at No Reserve at the 2016 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction.
Barbara “Minty” McQueen said her late husband often collected trucks on a whim even though they didn’t have the parking space at their Trancas Beach home (north of Malibu, CA) at that time. “Steve’s collection of cars and motorcycles cluttered that private driveway, which serviced a row of homes near the beach,” she said, “but that didn’t stop him from buying whatever he wanted.”
McQueen purchased this Forest Green truck in 1978 and mostly used it for cross-country camping trips. The custom camper was built by a sheet metal fabricator from Yreka, CA, in October 1952. Made of galvanized metal and aluminum, the camper includes a double-size bed (with its original mattress), storage cabinets, drawers, shelves and a heavy-duty diamond-plated bumper. It also has a platform on top, making it a prime viewing location from which to view the auto and motorcycle racing events McQueen loved so much.
The truck includes the original 6-cylinder engine, body and frame. Other noteworthy features include a 4-speed transmission, 5-gallon gas tanks on the running boards, a driver’s side spotlight and two toolboxes.
This truck’s significance takes on greater historical importance as it was the last vehicle to take McQueen from his Santa Paula home to the Ventura County Airport on Nov. 3, 1980, to embark on his journey to Mexico for what would be his final cancer surgery. Accompanying him on that journey in the camper was none other than the Reverend Billy Graham.
The truck was first sold at the Steve McQueen Estate Auction in 1984 at the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas. Included are an original Certificate of Authenticity from that auction, signed by Terry and Chad McQueen, as well as auction flyers and ticket, the original 1959 California license plates and three California title “pink slips” in Steve McQueen’s name.
Although a wilderness adventure might be out of the question in this humble camper, it represents a rare opportunity to own a memento from “The King of Cool” himself.