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Even after all this time, Steve McQueen is still the undisputed King of Cool. Besides being one of the premier movie stars of his day, McQueen was also an avid car and motorcycle racing enthusiast. His love of motorcycles is one of the defining characteristics of his public persona, which makes this ultra-rare 1969 Honda CB750 “Sandcast,” formerly owned by McQueen, a true piece of automotive history. 

Steve McQueen in a convertible holding the reigns of a horse
Steve McQueen 1960 | Getty Images

What makes the Honda CB750 “Sandcast” bikes so special?

The Honda CB750 is significant for being the world’s first superbike. As Silodrome notes, there were plenty of powerful motorcycles before the CB750 like the Vincent Black Shadow or the earlier Brough Superior. Despite these earlier muscle bikes, the Honda CB750 was the model that coined the term “superbike.” 

Steve McQueen’s motorcycle is special for two reasons; one being the fact that it is the first year of the first superbike. The second is simply that it was owned by one of the coolest dudes ever to live. 

The 1969 model is important because it was the first year of production. The name “sandcast” comes from the way in which Honda constructed the crankcase. Honda was skeptical of how well this new sportbike would do on the market. They decided to make the crankcase using the sand casting method, which was a faster and cheaper means of production. This saved Honda time and money by not having to retool the factory. However, the bike sold like $1 Johnnycakes forcing Honda to move to mass production tooling and casting methods after the first year. 

Don’t forget the best part of the CB750

1969 Honda CB750 "Sandcast"
1969 Honda CB750 | Wikimedia Commons

The Honda CB750 was built to be practical and cheap – not to mention it was one of the most powerful bikes on the road at the time. It featured a 749cc inline-four cylinder SOHC engine, four carburetors, a built-in 5-speed gearbox, front disc brake, electric starter, and a variety of flashy colors. 

It’s easy to see why the little Japanese four-cylinder superbike made such a splash. Not to mention, these bikes were damn-near bulletproof in a time of leaky Harleys and Triumphs. 

Steve McQueen’s motorcycle

Still of Steve McQueen's motorcycle in The Great Escape
Steve McQueen: ‘The Great Escape,’ 1963 | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

McQueen bought this, now restored, 1969 Honda CB750 new through his production company. Despite McQueen being known for riding desert sleds, his buying this model makes plenty of sense, knowing how much of a motorcycle enthusiast he was. No chance he would have allowed the first superbike to debut without getting one. 

After years of ownership, McQueen sold the bike to its current long-term owner, who has preserved it beautifully. Along with caring storage, the CB750 just underwent a two-year-long restoration. 

The bike is now heading to Bring a Trailer, hoping to find a new home. According to the listing, Steve McQueen’s 1969 Honda CB750 comes with the original sales documentation, a letter from Honda, and full documentation of the restoration proving its provenance.


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