Friday, May 21, 2010

The King Of Cool

Yeah...It's got to be Steve McQueen!

Steven McQueen won the first amateur sports car race he entered in Santa Barbara in 1959 driving his 1958 Porsche Speedster. After that first outing, he continued driving the Speedster, entering races at Willow Springs, Del Mar, Hourglass Field and Riverside. After the Speedster he would move to a Lotus XI in late 1959, hitting all the same tracks again. Other cars raced by him were a Cooper FJ, an Austin Healey at Sebring and a Porsche 908 Spyder which was used for a Factory Poster.

Here he is at the start of his racing career. This photo was taken at San Diego's "Hourglass Field." He was driving his black 1600 Speedster at the time. The event was put on by the California Sports Car Club. Hourglass Field sat where Miramar College is now. Photo: Chad McQueen Collection.

In 1963 he is jumping into the Jag that he nicknamed the "Green Rat". The car is now owned by the Robert Peterson Collection of the Peterson Museum. Photo: John Domimis/Life/Getty Images.

This is his 1956 Jaguar XKSS, chassis number-XK.SS.713, one of 16 built. McQueen purchased the Jag used in 1958 for $4,000 and had it repainted BRG from its' original off-white color. Photo: John Dominis/Life/Getty Images.

Originally, the Jag had red leather, however Steve had it redone by SoCal Drag racer/hot rodder/upholsterer Tony Nancy in black leather. Pinstriping pioneer Von Dutch fabricated a metal glove box door to cover the open storage space.

From his racing Lotus he went to an open wheel Cooper T52 Formula Junior in 1962. His first outing in that car was Del Mar at a SCCA weekend double-header winning both events.

This is the LeMans Movie Poster with the 917...the best racing movie made.

Some of the other cars that he owned and enjoyed were; his first sports car a MG-TC then a '53 Siata 208S, a '63 Ferrari 250 Lusso, a '67 Mini Cooper S, a Ferrari 275 GTS, a '64 Corvette Sting Ray, a '69 911S, a '52 Hudson Wasp, a '49 Cadillac Series 62, a '57 fuel-injected Bel Air, a '71 911E, and a '76 930 among others.

Steve McQueen passed away in Mexico on November 7, 1980 from complications of mesothelioma.

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