Movie Used 1976 Harley-Davidson XL1000 Evel Knievel To Be Sold Jan. 7 At Bonhams Las Vegas Auction

1knievel42knievelter3knievelbisThe XL1000 was built by Bud Ekins for the movie “Viva Knievel” It is one of the most famous motorcycles for one of the greatest showmen of the 20th century. Estimated price is $80,000 to $100,000. High school dropout Robert Craig Knievel left Butte, Montana with not much more than a petty criminal record and an insatiable hunger for fame and money. Stints at rodeo riding, ski-jumping and semi-pro hockey had failed to deliver the desired notoriety, but the man could ride a motorcycle…

He became a genuine cultural phenomenon to a nation reeling from the 1970s morass of the Vietnam War, Watergate and the Oil Crisis. “I came along at the right time in the right place,” Knievel told writer Davey Combs. “America was down on its ass when I came along and needed somebody who was truthful and honest, someone who would spill blood and break bones and suffer brain concussions, somebody who wasn’t a phony.”

5knievelA measure of his popularity was the production of two feature-length films – the first, Evel Knievel, a biopic starring George Hamilton in the title role; the second, Viva Knievel!, with none other than Knievel himself playing lead. The latter was an unlikely action-adventure flick with Knievel fighting Mexican drug dealers, but it attracted a cast that included big names like Gene Kelly, Red Buttons, Lauren Hutton and Leslie Nielsen.

The mechanical stars of Viva Knievel! included this motorcycle, a 1976 Ironhead Sportster 1000 done up to look like one of Knievel’s XR-750 jump bikes. Several new Sportsters were dispatched from the Harley factory for use in the movie, delivered to Dick Hutchins, a Los Angeles-area dealer. From there Warner Bros. commissioned Bud Ekins to perform cosmetic makeovers that would turn the roadsters into convincing jump bikes. Following filming, Hutchins purchased this example, which for many years was on display at the museum attached to his new dealership in Yucca Valley, California.

In the current owner’s care, the bike has undergone a recent cosmetic restoration, including being repainted by George Sedlak, the man who originally painted Knievel’s jump bikes and all of the motorcycles in the movie. It is sold with a letter of authenticity from Dick Hutchins. Bonham’s Auction January 7 at 11 PST Las Vegas Ballys & Casino.

8 Responses to “Movie Used 1976 Harley-Davidson XL1000 Evel Knievel To Be Sold Jan. 7 At Bonhams Las Vegas Auction”

  1. 1 Sharkey Dec 25th, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Sadly, repainted…but an Ekins built Knievel bike…will be an interesting sale

  2. 2 Lyle Landstrom Dec 25th, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Move the decimal over one place to the left.

  3. 3 zipper Dec 25th, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    Nice ride. ..z

  4. 4 Sportman Dec 26th, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Cant beleive they devalued the bike by repainting it. Not very smart.

  5. 5 JZ Dec 28th, 2015 at 11:16 am

    @sharkey @sportman –

    The paint was done by Sedlak himself – the very man who painted all the Knievel bikes. That’s like complaining that a McQueen custom was refreshed by Von Dutch.

    This bike, from what I can see, has everything going for it – featured in “Viva Knievel,” ridden by Evel, customized by Ekins, and painted by Sedlak. The only possible gripe would be that it’s a Sportster.

  6. 6 A 1 CYCLES Dec 29th, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    latham will grab it

  7. 7 Steal Your Face Jan 4th, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    I watched the “Being Evel” movie on TV this weekend. It was by Johnny Knoxville and was pretty good. Guys of my generation thought Evel Knievel was a hero, often imitating his jumps on our Schwinn Stingrays and later on our mini bikes and motorcycles. Great memories.

  8. 8 Knievel Evel Jan 6th, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    Knoxville should grab it whilst he can…

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Cyril Huze