Words: Ari Henning
Photos: Joe Neric
Idolized, emulated and looked up to by anyone with a sense of style and cool, Steve McQueen was a bona fide badass, a timeless hero and a motorsports legend. He passed away more than 30 years ago, but he may be more popular today than ever, as evidenced by this sampling of McQueen-themed merchandise being offered by retailers all over the world. As Sheryl Crow sang, “Like Steve McQueen, all’s I need is a fast machine…”
Steve McQueen Biography
Steve McQueen books—there are loads of them! The late actor’s life has been studied from many angles, but few biographies match this one in terms of completeness. Authored by esteemed Elvis Presley biographer Marshall Terrill, Steve McQueen: The Life and Legend of a Hollywood Icon is the result of hundreds of interviews and years of exhaustive research. This 624-page, $25.95 hardcover explores McQueen’s troubled youth, his stratospheric celebrity and the final days of his battle with cancer in a Mexican hospital. The book includes 32 pages of photos, many of which have never before been seen by the public.
When McQueen donned a pair of Italian Persol PO 714s in the 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair, the King of Cool did big things for the brand. When he continued to wear the 714s in his off-screen life, he elevated Persol to legendary status. Decades later, Persol is celebrating McQueen by re-launching his favorite folding shades, complete with blue lenses, “Light Havana” frames and a replica of his signature on the inside of the temple arm. The new PO 714s are expensive, but compared to the $70,000 that McQueen’s original pair of Persols fetched at auction, $310 doesn’t seem so bad!
Tag Heuer Monaco Watch
Legend has it that McQueen studied friend and race car driver Jo Stiffert in preparation for his role as Michael Delaney in Le Mans. McQueen wore Stiffert’s racing suit, and copied his look all the way down to his TAG watch. As with Persol, McQueen’s unintentional endorsement of the TAG Monaco had a big impact, and the watch has since become known as the “McQueen Monaco.” TAG recently re- issued the timepiece in the original dark-blue or in an orange-and-blue version that matches Delaney’s Gulf Porsche 917. As for the price, well, if you have to ask…
On Any Sunday Director’s Cut DVD
On Any Sunday is the definitive motorcycle movie, a must-have in every rider’s library, and should be viewed with friends at least once a year. This latest release has been digitally re-mastered from the original Academy Award-nominated film and includes bonus behind-the-scenes footage, a Bruce Brown biography, photo scrapbook and more. Unwrap this $24.95 collector’s-edition DVD carefully—there’s special artwork printed on the back of the wrapper.
Troy Lee McQueen Collection
Before Facebook “Likes,” fans showed their appreciation of celebrities by rocking their T-shirts. The simple cotton T is still a powerful broadcasting medium, and these Steve McQueen garments from Troy Lee Designs are a stylish way to show your admiration for the King of Cool. Pick from retro-styled crew-neck long-sleeves for $65 or a variety of slim-fit T’s for $42. If that’s not a strong enough statement, consider this limited-edition helmet styled after that worn by McQueen in Le Mans. It’s painted in Gulf colors and bears McQueen’s likeness, racing number and the logo of his filmmaking company, Solar Productions. The DOT-approved, open-face lid is also available in an On Any Sunday edition, both priced at $450.
Roland Sands Hesher Jacket
The Hesher jacket from Roland Sands Designs has a simple, timeless style about it, just like Steve McQueen. And with a classic cut and heavy duck canvas chassis with snap-close cuffs and pockets, the Hesher is great for those looking to recreate McQueen’s International Six Days Trials look. Available in khaki or black, the Hesher is American-made and retails for $200. While it has pre-curved sleeves and a dropped back that are suitable for riding, the jacket unfortunately doesn’t have any armor so should be reserved for casual wear.
Triumph McQueen Jacket
Inspired by the jacket worn by Steve McQueen’s character Virgil Hilts in The Great Escape, this limited-edition leather jacket from Triumph is hewn from distressed cowhide that’s double-stitched in critical areas. The jacket’s straight-cut, plush lining and knitted cuffs and waist make it incredibly comfortable, and since the CE-certified elbow and shoulder armor is easily removable, it can serve as casual wear as well as a riding tog. The jacket is only available through Triumph dealers for $449.99.
GRAN PRIX Rough-Out Boots
There are dozens of images of McQueen riding, sliding, wheelying and jumping motorcycles, and more often than not he’s pictured wearing jeans and work boots. His boots of choice? WWII-issue M-42 Type IIIs, colloquially known as “rough-outs” since the rough, flesh-side of the leather is turned outward. These rough-out boots from Gran Prix Legends in England are replicas of the Type IIIs that McQueen wore in The Great Escape. Classic, simple and rugged, these $228 kicks will literally let you walk in the King of Cool’s shoes.
McQueen’s Machines Book
While other Steve McQueen books focus on the man, this piece is all about the hardware. An avid racer and mechanic, McQueen owned a diverse and impressive collection of performance machinery. This book chronicles McQueen’s array of internal-combustion playthings, from his 1920 Indian Powerplus Daytona to his beloved 1957 Jaguar XKSS. Written by former Motor Trend Classic Editor Matt Stone, McQueen’s Machines: The Cars and Bikes of a Hollywood Icon contains 200 photos and retails for $14.99. A portion of the book’s proceeds benefits the Boys Republic in Chino, California, where McQueen served time as a teen.