Here’s the deal. I couldn’t afford even the opening bid when the Bullitt Mustang crossed the block a few years ago, and the Manx buggy from The Thomas Crown Affair will likely elude me for life. The Husqvarna from On Any Sunday will forever be a dream.
So what’s a man to do to to get his Steve McQueen fix on a budget? Bell helmets just announced a great option.
Using its Custom 500 half helmet as the base, Bell partnered with the McQueen estate to create a replica of the helmet worn by Steve and the rest of the U.S. contingent during the 1964 International Six Days Trials (ISDT, now known as ISDE) off-road race. This was the first year the U.S.A. entered a team in the historic European multi-day race, an event first held in 1913, only paused for the first and second world wars, and still active today. That means you or I can put #278 on the numberplate of whatever bike we own and do our best impression of McQueen, which should be easy: According to Chad McQueen, Steve’s son, the man had motorcycles on the mind more often than not.
“My dad loved riding motorcycles more than anything,” said Chad. “Much of my childhood memories with my dad revolve around motorcycles. We loved going on two-wheeled adventures together and I’m thrilled to see this helmet come back to life considering my dad and I always wore Bell helmets.”
The helmet is painted in a simple, blue and white scheme accented with some red pinstriping and a tasteful little signature from the man who inspired the lid on the back. The visor is a period-correct 510-style, too.
Though not identical to the original Bell TX that would have been worn during the 1960s, that’s not a bad thing. Safety technology has come a long way in 60-plus years, and a helmet is meant for safety, not style. It’s always nice when you can get both in a lid, though.
Will slipping this new helmet on make you as cool as the characters McQueen played? Probably not, but if you want to try, be sure to hurry. This is a limited release that will include a special 278 decal featuring Steve McQueen’s name and the 1964 ISDT details, along with a keychain featuring McQueen’s name and a black leather helmet bag for transporting and storing your new helmet safely.