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Mecum Arizona bike auction set for March 11-14

Mecum Auctions is offering a wide variety of desirable motorcycles at its auction March 11-14 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., including a bike once owned by AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers Bud Ekins and Steve McQueen.

Also for sale is a 1974 Suzuki 400 TM RN motocrosser reportedly built for AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer John DeSoto to race.

Here’s a look at some of the machines being sold. For more information, go to www.mecum.com.

One of the oldest bikes on the auction block is a 1926 Excelsior Super X alcohol-burning factory flat tracker/hillclimber (above, photo courtesy Mecums) once owned by Ekin and then McQueen. The rare 750cc, two-cylinder still runs.

Ekins was one America’s pioneering off-road motorcyclists. Plus, he was one of the first Americans to compete in the World Championship Motocross Grand Prix circuit in Europe during the 1950s. He also earned gold medals in the International Six Day Trial (now International Six Day Enduro).

After his racing career, Ekins went on to become one of Hollywood’s leading stuntmen. His most famous stunt was the climactic motorcycle jump scene in the 1963 movie, “The Great Escape,” starring McQueen.

McQueen not only was one of the leading movie actors of the 1960s and 1970s, but he was also an avid motorcyclist. He also financed the influential motorcycle movie, “On Any Sunday,” in which he rode with buddies and fellow AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers Malcolm Smith and Mert Lawwill.

Mecum Auctions says that Ekins bought this 1926 Excelsior Super X factory hillclimber and then gave it to McQueen.

“Gary Hite purchased this machine from the Steve McQueen estate auction in 1984 and it remained in Hite’s collection for 30 years before it was purchased by its current owner.,” Mecums says. “Running, in original McQueen condition and documented since the McQueen estate auction, this 1926 Excelsior Super X once owned by the ‘King of Cool’ also comes with an impressive glass display case, making this McQueen motorcycle the ultimate living room trophy.”

The 1974 Suzuki 400 TM RN MXer reportedly was built by R & D Racing in Southern California for Suzuki for DeSoto to race. It has a ported high-compression cylinder head featuring a ‘DH’ reed cage welded to the cylinder, oversized Mikuni carb, Suzuki Racing front forks, lowered frame, lay down shocks and an extended swingarm.

DeSoto, known as “The Flyin’ Hawaiian’” because he was born and raised in Hawaii, was an early pioneer of motocross in America and was well known in the 1960s and 1970s. He began with nothing, sleeping in a van in Southern California, and went on to get factory rides and compete at the world championship level.

Other bikes include a Japan-only 1994 Suzuki GSX-R 400RR powered by a 398cc, four-stroke inline four engine; a 1973 Honda CB750 with Tracy fiberglass bodywork painted Sunflake Orange; a 1971 single-cylinder, two-stroke Maico MC501 and a 1978 Harley-Davidson MX250 dirtbike.

Also, a 1970 441cc, four-speed BSA Victor Special; a 1968 650cc BSA Lightning; a 1973 Norton Commando 850; 1975 Suzuki T500; 1975 Trimph Trident and a 1985 347cc, liquid-cooled two-stroke Yamaha RZ350.