Best known for portraying rebellious, anti-hero characters who challenged the status-quo, “The King of Cool” made most of his best and most memorable films throughout the 1960s and ’70s — decades coinciding with some of the last century’s most iconic automobiles. Check out this shortlist of the most memorable McQueen movie cars.
Myers Manx (The Thomas Crown Affair, 1968)
Knowing how well the Myers Manx dune buggy performed on the beach, Steve McQueen decided he wanted to use one for the beach racing scenes in this famous movie with co-star Faye Dunaway. (The script originally called for a Jeep.) The Thomas Crown Affair helped skyrocket the popularity of dune buggies. McQueen helped customize the car he called the “Queen Manx” and performed all the beach driving stunts in the film.
1968 Ford Mustang Fastback GT (Bullitt, 1968)
One of the greatest action films of the 1960s, Bullitt also contains a 10-minute sequence many consider “the granddaddy of all movie car chases.” The Mustang McQueen’s character drove during filming survived production and later was sold (twice) for a pittance. In 1977, three years before dying of cancer, Steve McQueen supposedly tried to buy back the car and was refused by the current owner who has never publicly shown the car and has repeatedly refused to reveal its current whereabouts.
Porsche 917K (Le Mans, 1971)
There are so many cool little factoids about this epic race film it’s hard to know where to begin. For starters, McQueen was deeply into real, live auto racing by this point in his life. (At the legendary 1970 12 Hours of Sebring Race, the actor partnered with co-driver Peter Revson and raced with a broken left foot in a cast against racing great Mario Andretti.) Shot live at the actual 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans where McQueen’s movie production company entered the now iconic Porsche 917K seen in the film, Le Mans set the standard for every racing movie since.
1969 Chevrolet Impala (The Getaway, 1972)
Though the film strangely lacks a true car chase scene, Steve McQueen and co-star Ali MacGraw are nonetheless in and out of a lot of different cars in this early ’70s action-crime film. Owing to the fact that there seemed to be at least one on every American city street in 1972, this Impala is one of the most easily identifiable.
1951 Chevrolet Styline De Lux Convertible (The Hunter, 1980)
A movie based on the real life of bounty hunter Ralf “Papa” Thorson, this sometimes-comedic thriller was McQueen’s last role. Although never a box-office success, the film has a number of memorable car scenes — the Trans-Am-versus-combine-harvester-in-a-cornfield scene comes immediately to mind. But arguably the coolest car was this classic convertible that embodied the simple, old-fashion ways of the main character played by McQueen. After filming ended in 1979, McQueen bought the Chevrolet, which remained in his collection even after his death a year later. The car most recently sold in 2013 for $84,000 at an Auctions America event.