Exclusive: Steve McQueen-linked dune buggy may be a stunt car from his unfinished epic film ‘Yucatan’


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Automobiles pushed by Steve McQueen in his movies are sometimes price thousands and thousands of immediately, however there’s one linked to the Hollywood star which will have probably the most attention-grabbing backstory of all of them, though it by no means received its close-up.

After reporting on the restoration and upcoming reveal of what’s claimed to be the long-lost Meyers Manx from McQueen’s “The Thomas Crown Affair,” Fox Information was contacted by the proprietor of one other one of many basic dune buggies that he thought we is likely to be taken with listening to about.

The Manx has been modified over time.

 (Lisa Scarpello)

Don Martin of Valley Heart, Calif., mentioned that the automotive was a hand-me-down from his stepfather, who had purchased it from a neighbor named Don Graves. Graves was an enormous time motorbike gross sales government concerned within the off-roading scene again when McQueen was scratching his desert racing itch with the assistance of mechanic and crew supervisor Don Mitchell, who’s the one which bought the Manx to Graves.


Don Martin (R) inherited the buggy from his stepfather, who purchased it from Don Graves (L).

 (Lisa Scarpello)

In line with Graves, Mitchell instructed him that McQueen had pushed it for a couple of years, however it was initially ordered in 1969 from famed off-road automobile specialist Con-Ferr by Photo voltaic Plastics Engineering, an organization McQueen set as much as construct race automobiles and tools.


The unique letter despatched to Con-Ferr specified a Manx with a white physique and beige inside, road authorized lighting, an 85 horsepower VW engine with no muffler and the widest attainable tires. Observe up documentation reveals Three-speed automated transmission was put in together with Koni shock absorbers, the entrance disc brakes from a VW Karman Ghia and extra tools for a closing value of $3612.51.


The Manx initially had a one-gallon fuel tank.

 (Lisa Scarpello)

Whereas it’s painted in primer and has a five-speed handbook transmission now, a lot of the unique tools stays, both on it or in Martin’s storage. That features a one-gallon fuel tank, which gained’t get even slightly automotive like a Manx very far.


The automotive has been retrofitted with a bigger fuel tank.

 (Lisa Scarpello)

However it seems that Photo voltaic didn’t purchase it with the intention to race it cross-country and even drive it on the road. Graves instructed Martin that it was meant to be a stunt automotive for a film McQueen had in pre-production on the time, however that was by no means completed. A small tank lightens up a automobile and is safer in a crash, so it is smart.

However why would McQueen be seeking to characteristic one other Manx in a movie only a 12 months after the well-known scene within the “Thomas Crown Affair,” the place he jumped and drifted one throughout dunes of Crane Seaside Massachusetts with Faye Dunaway using shotgun? Sounds slightly by-product for a film genius.

Nicely, biographer Marshall Terrill thinks that timeline matches up with a venture that McQueen had within the works that was set to be one of many greatest movies ever made referred to as “Yucatan,” which had a task that was good for it.

It was an motion journey a few marine salvage skilled enlisted to seek for treasure hidden on the backside of deep wells in an historic Mexican wreck. It additionally included chase scene in it that was meant to make those in “The Nice Escape” and “Bullitt” seem like Sunday drives to church. Substitute Nazi vans and muscle automobiles with a dune buggies and grime bikes and the items to this puzzle certain appear to suit collectively properly. Idea artwork for the movie printed within the New York Occasions in 2006 depicts lots of of bikes racing throughout a barren plain.

Sadly, after the monetary failure of McQueen’s labor of affection movie “Le Mans” in regards to the 24-hour race, the “Yucatan” venture collapsed. The roughly 1,700 pages of notes and storyboards his improvement crew created for it had been sure into leather-based books and put right into a chest and saved away for years like Indiana Jones’ Ark of the Covenant. Becoming.


That was till they had been uncovered years after his dying, within the 1990s, by his son Chad. The youthful McQueen has been working with Hollywood heavyweights for years to show the fabric into a movie, with Robert Downey, Jr. lengthy connected to it.

“That is simply a $200 million film and it will take an motion famous person on the peak of his profession surrounded by a stellar worldwide solid to open an image like this,” Terrill mentioned. “I might actually like to see it occur at some point in order that Steve McQueen’s imaginative and prescient can lastly be unfolded.”

The chest was put up on the market at a Mecum memorabilia public sale in 2013 with different McQueen gadgets, however it didn’t discover a purchaser.


“Pirates of the Caribbean” author Terry Rossio was introduced onboard the venture a 12 months later, which is the final time there was any main information about it, so there’s no telling when or if it should get greenlighted.

If it does, the producers may wish to name Martin. He’s beginning a full restoration of the Manx that will probably be documented on YouTube, and he does plan to promote the automotive when it’s full.

The automotive might not ever make it to the large display, however as probably the one present artifact from one of the crucial legendary unmade movies, that actually won’t matter in any respect.

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

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