Salon Privé announces first show appearance of Steve McQueen’s 650cc Triumph motorcycle used for the iconic jump in 1963’s The Great Escape

The motorcycle famously ridden by silver screen icon and King of Cool Steve McQueen in legendary film classic The Great Escape will appear at Salon Privé on Thursday August 30.

Set to star in the Chubb Insurance Concours d’Elégance, the 1962 650cc TR6R is presently on display at the Triumph Factory Visitor Experience at the motorcycle manufacturer’s facility in Hinckley, Leicestershire. This is the first time it has been shown publicly since the celluloid classic was released in 1963.

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However, the motorcycle is just one of a mouth-watering array of iconic motorcycles that will be vying for honours across three classes at Blenheim Palace later in the summer.

An accomplished amateur racer on both two and four wheels, McQueen apparently begged the film’s director John Sturges to let him perform the famous stunt, which saw his character Virgil Hilts attempt to flee his Nazi pursuers in spectacular style. Jumping across barricades and barbed wire from Germany towards neutral Switzerland, the stunt has since become the fodder of legend.


However, the film’s insurers wouldn’t allow McQueen to make the leap, so the task fell to his close friend and racing team-mate Bud Ekins. World War Two-era bikes would not have been up to the task, so as many as three TR6Rs were aged to look the part and used for the rough stuff.

The McQueen Triumph will be competing in Class B, with judging taking place on August 30. It will be on general display on Friday, August 31.

Steve McQueen’s Great Escape motorcycle returns!

Salon Privé welcomes enthusiasts from all over the world to share their passion for classic motorbikes. Chubb Insurance Concours d’Elégance holds three classes for two-wheeled classics:

  • Class A: Exceptional Motorbikes 1900-1939
  • Class B: Exceptional Motorbikes 1940-1979
  • Class C: Exceptional Competition Motorbikes

You can find out more about the event here.