Steve McQueen's 1952 Camping Pickup Goes Up for Auction

Tuesday, 23 Jul 2013 05:44 PM

By Robin Farmer

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Actor Steve McQueen, known as a collector of expensive cars and motorcycles, also appreciated less glamorous rides such as his one-of-a-kind camper truck, which hits the auction block Friday.

The pedestrian 1952 Chevrolet 3800 pickup, which he used for cross-country camping trips, was the last vehicle he rode in before dying of cancer on Nov. 7, 1980. The truck, made of galvanized metal and aluminum with a custom camper, carried McQueen to the Ventura County Airport so he could fly to Mexico for surgery, Torque News reports.

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The Rev. Billy Graham rode in the truck with him, said Torque News, the two men discussing the afterlife on the way to the airport. Graham gave McQueen his Bible, and four days later, when McQueen died, he was holding the Bible, said Torque News.

Known as “The King of Cool,” McQueen would often buy vehicles, even planes, on the spot.

“Steve’s collection of cars and motorcycles cluttered the private driveway that serviced a row of homes near the beach, but that didn’t stop him from buying whatever he wanted,” said his wife, Barbara Minty McQueen, according to The Gentleman Racer. For her late husband, buying anything with wheels on a whim became a way of life, she said.

“I remember one time we drove past a migrant farm worker who had this b—in’ old truck, and Steve turned the car around and wrote him a check on the spot,” Barbara said in the truck's listing on The Gentleman Racer. “He bought a plane or two that way, too.”

McQueen owned numerous classics, motorcycles, and sports cars. His more than 60 rare vehicles included a 1931 Lincoln Club Sedan, a 1956 GMC Suburban and a 1946 Willys Jeep.

The one-ton long-bed pickup truck which McQueen purchased in 1978 includes its original Forest Green paint, engine, and body. Other noteworthy features include a 5-gallon gas tanks on running boards, a driver’s side spotlight, and the original mattress and license plate.

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