Shockingly, the movie did not fare particularly well with film critics, but thankfully many of the bikes have at least fared the passage of time. This movie bike is one of them, and it will cross the Bonhams auction block on January 7th in Las Vegas, Nevada.
According to the auction house, this Harley Davidson was one of a handful of Sportsters ordered from the factory and delivered to Los Angeles Harley dealer Dick Hutchins, for use in Viva Knievel! production.
At the time, Knievel had made famous the Harley Davidson XR-750 as his go-to for jumps, so stuntman Bud Ekins was enlisted to modify these movie bikes to look like the high-flying stunt bikes. Artist George Sedlak applied the red, white, and blue livery, and these bikes got their silver screen debut alongside Knievel’s special “Stratocycle.”
Never saw Viva Knievel!? The film featured such stars as Gene Kelly, Lauren Hutton, Red Buttons, and Leslie Nielsen, during which Knievel battled drug dealers and foils a plot to use his death as a way to smuggle drugs across the U.S. border. Absurd? Well, just a bit.
Following its debut, Hutchins purchased the motorcycle back from Warner Bros. and for years it had been displayed at his Harley Davidson dealership in Yucca Valley, California. Since then, it has been fully restored and was even repainted by Sedlak himself. It isn’t without its ‘70s quirkiness, however.
The top of the gas tank features an illustration of Knievel standing next to a line of buses with two $100 bills pictured, and the quote “Are you man enough, big and bad enough?”
If you are indeed man enough, big and bad enough, the iconic Harley Davidson will cross the auction block next month and is expected to bring between $80,000 and $100,000. Just make sure you’re wallet is also fat enough.