The Great Von Dutch Motorcycle Auction of 2007

Paint, pinstripes, tools and toys under the hammer.

The Great Von Dutch Auction of 2007 - First Look

How much is a gas tank worth? About $47,000—at least when it’s been painted and pinstriped by Von Dutch and attached to a 100cc dirtbike once owned by Steve McQueen.

A 1970 Kawasaki Centurian (fair market value maybe $500) used by the late actor to bop around the Santa Paula airport was hammered down for a staggering $47,500 at the recent Bonhams & Butterfields auction at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

The only thing distinguishing this Centurian from any other was its fuel tank, which McQueen’s pal Von Dutch painted a bright orange with gold pinstripes and the name “RINGADINGDOO!” in big black letters. Barely visible above one of the pinstripes was the hand-painted inscription, “Done Up for Steve McQueen by Von Dutch.”

That was enough to ignite a bidding war over this Von Dutch motorcycle that ended in what must be a world record for an early-Seventies dirtbike. Factor in a 17 percent buyer’s fee and the final tally was $55,575!

Other Von Dutch memorabilia was on the block, including several customized motorcycles among the 70 or so bikes for sale in the general auction. See the photo gallery for some of the more interesting lots and the sale prices.

033 A 1998 Harley Road King put up for sale by Peter Fonda, on the other hand, didn?t get near its $30,000-$50,000 pre-sale estimate.

032 More star power: A 1934 Harley-Davidson flathead once owned by box office king Clark Gable, now restored, changed ownership for $70,200.

031 Or this low-miles 1982 Yamaha XS850 Midnight Special owned by the late publishing magnate Robert E. Petersen for $1755.

030 Not everything was expensive. You could have gone home with this nice 1971 Ducati Desmo Cross for $2574.

029 Rare 1956 Matchless G45 roadracer with competition history and lots of spares went for $50,310.

028 Old board-trackers remain collectible. This 61-inch Indian V-Twin from 1912 surpassed estimates and brought $124,700.

027 Fittingly offered the day before Veterans Day, this 1942 Harley WLA Army bike got transferred to another owner for $17,550.

026 Formerly owned by Indian guru Woody Carson, this 1923 Indian Scout in unrestored condition was bought for $31,590.

025 Handsome and rare 1962 BMW R50S, showing just 5 miles since a no-expense-spared restoration, seemed well-bought for $17,550.

024 Another unmolested survivor, this 1913 Thor?with a sympathetically restored engine?reached $50,000 but didn?t sell.

023 Not a Von Dutch but nicely done, this Panhead custom went to a new home for $25,740.

022 Stored in a barn since 1932, this rare, original-condition, four-cylinder Pierce was snapped up for $161,000.

021 Nice, unrestored 1968 Honda CB450, showing just 11,000 miles, went for $4000. Good deal.

020 Another ?39 Crocker, this one a Triumph-framed special, went unsold when bidding dried up at $95,000. The seller had hoped for between $140,000 and $170,000.

019 One of the stars of the auction was this 1939 Big Tank Crocker, restored in Italy. Crocker prices have gone through the roof lately, with one recently trading hands for $300,000!

018 This 1903 Rex, from England and a veteran of vintage rallies, sold for $24,570.

017 One of the highlights of the general auction, as nice a first-year (1959) Triumph Bonneville as you?re likely to find. It sold for $28,080.

016 Ringadingdoo again, surely now the world?s most famous minibike. McQueen used the two-stroke for visits to friends? hangars or to run to the airport coffee shop.

015 Then there was this. A Le Mans promotional poster, featuring McQueen prominently but neither owned nor signed by the star, was the subject of a bidding war that took its final price to $18,720!

014 Steve McQueen stuff is still hot. His leather flight jacket brought $46,800. A well-used Winchester Model 94 rifle went for $5616.

013 McQueen and Von Dutch together equal big bucks. This 1929 Scott Super Squirrel, restored for the actor by Von Dutch in the 1980s, sold for $44,460. Cheaper than the Kawi dirtbike, though!

012 Dragons were a favorite Von Dutch subject. This hot-rod tonneau cover was estimated to go for $4000-$6000 but sold for just $2340.

011 Trademark Von Dutch-flamed gas tank?looks like a Triumph?s?sold for $3042.

010 Various engraved Von Dutch tools were on offer. This Whitworth wrench got $527. A 7 1/2-inch screwdriver went for $995.

009 Von Dutch?s leather tool satchel, embossed with this name, brought $4680.

008 Dutch gets dirty: Rickman Metisse tank, seat and sidecovers pinstriped and signed by the man went for $1755.

007 Von Dutch also crafted guns and knives. This scratch-built .45-caliber black-powder pistol, a twin to one given to McQueen, sold for $14,040.

006 A 1920s electric racecar game restored by Von Dutch. Handwritten instruction sheet included with the game helped push selling price to $19,305.

005 Another Von Dutch sign, 51 x 99 inches, of his famous flying eyeball logo was withdrawn from the auction when it failed to garner bids anywhere near its $75,000-$100,000 pre-sale estimate.

004 Most of the Von Dutch memorabilia on offer came from the collection of friend and fellow painter Stan Betz. This weathered sign, 48 inches across, once hung outside Von Dutch?s Arizona shop. It traded hands for $18,720.

003 How?s this for return on investment? This Von Dutch-restored 1919 Cleveland sold earlier this year for $23,500. It made $93,600 at the Petersen auction!

002 Lost Von Dutch? This 1954 BMW R51/3 was customized by Von Dutch for a customer in 1966. It sold for $32,760.

001 Von Dutch?s very own Moto Guzzi Falcone. This one, stored for 20 years, fetched a whopping $40,950.