Steve McQueen in Popular Science


an unseen slice of McQueen editorial goodness....

The Steve McQueen industry reached its peak a while ago.

The talismanic actor, motorcycle racer, and general petrolhead’s every grease and benzine related utterance or action has been pored over, analysed and fetishised by every channel, ‘tube and feed on the web.

So it was a surprise this week when we stumbled upon a slice of McQueen culture that we hadn’t noticed before.

As has been so often we need to tip our hats to the excellent TSY blog for pointing this out.

These pages come from the November 1966 edition of Popular Science magazine – the huge circulation print missive that sketched out the inner workings of the American Dream for a public that since the end of WW2 had been hopped up, jazzed and psyched by all things scientific, mechanical and to which they could aspire.


The genius editorial team managed to get McQueen on a fleet of the latest bike releases )mostly of the Desert Sled-ish variety – and ride them and feedback what the man liked and disliked accordingly. We learn a number of things:

1: McQueen had a penchant to the more brutal, heavier, four-stroke sleds epitomised by the Triumph

2: He paid a lot of attention to suspension settings (not uncharacteristic for an off-road enthusiast)

3 He learned most of what he knows about the way of bike mechanics from the Ekins brothers’ studio in the San Fernando Valley

4 He used the word ‘keen’ a lot to describe what he liked in a bike

We can’t be sure how much journalistic license went in to censor or accentuate McQueen’s clean cut gee-whizzitude – but all we can say is that this was an inspired piece of editorial production the likes of which you rarely see these days.

Bravo Popular Science. Bravo TSY.