Bud Ekins Is Not Steve McQueen

Illustration for article titled Bud Ekins Is Not Steve McQueen

Bud Ekins is not a household name like Steve McQueen, a man he spent part of his career doing stunts for, but you know his work. Yesterday, Bonhams auctioned off a few of his motorcycles and brass era cars.

Bud Ekins was a man with some serious gear head credentials. He was already a successful motorcycle racer when he met and befriended Steve McQueen. Their friendship led to Ekins doing some of McQueen's most famous stunt work. He jumped the motorcycle over the fence in the final scene of The Great Escape. Ekins also did some of the more technical driving in the famous San Francisco chase scene in Bullitt.

Illustration for article titled Bud Ekins Is Not Steve McQueen
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In the 1960s he competed in the International Six Day Trials successfully on teams with McQueen. Bud Ekins won 4 gold medals at the ISDT before retiring from racing to focus on selling Triumphs and doing movie stunt work. Ekin's later movie credits include Animal House, The Blues Brothers, and Diamonds are Forever. He continued to work in the movie industry until his death in 2007 at the age of 77.

Yesterday some of Ekin's Brass Era cars and motorcycles were sold by Bonhams at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. The cars were painted and pinstriped by a one time employee of Ekin's named Kenneth Howard, who some of you might know as Von Dutch. Follow the link to see pictures and sale results.

[Bonhams]

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DISCUSSION

This is Steve McQueen and Bud Ekins with the Hurst Baja Boot.

Steve first raced the Baja Boot in the ‘Stardust 7-11′ off-road race in June

1968. A grueling 320 mile odyssey for both cars and motorbikes, the race started at the Stardust raceway in Las Vegas, Nevada, and ran across the potentially lethal Amargosa desert. Bud Ekins was also with Steve in the Baja Boot in the role of rider-navigator.

In the lead-up to the race Steve told the media - "I’ve lined me up a sweet machine for this one called the ‘Baja Boot.’ Chevy powered, 450 hp. Space frame construction. Four-wheel drive. Independent suspension. And ‘smooth’! I can notch close to a hundred over a sand wash and you better believe that’s moving."

Steve and Bud were performing well in the race, until, in Steve’s own words, "We were really battin’ along, feeling good about the car and our chances with it, when we see this big fat wheel rolling along beside us. It’s our wheel! The axle had popped. Well, that did it. We just sat on our tails in the desert ’till help came."

Steve McQueen is still the coolest, but Bud Ekins is pretty darn cool too!