The Rare Evel Knievel Stratocycle Goes to Auction, and It’s Not Cheap
Over the years, legendary stuntman Evel Knievel jumped scores of motorcycles over pits of fire, veritable parking lots full of buses, and everything in between. But this Knievel two-wheeler is a bit more special than most. This red, white, and blue Harley Davidson is known as the “Stratocycle.” It featured in the 1977 Warner Bros. action movie Viva Knievel!, and was famously ridden by Knievel during a scene in which he rescues Gene Kelly’s character from a mental hospital by driving straight through the front door. Bam! The motorcycle recently came up for auction at Profiles in History, and the auction house estimates it will sell for between $200,000 and $300,000. RELATED: Check Out the Famous '75 Harley Davidson Evel Knievel Trike
Expectedly, the Stratocycle isn’t your average ‘70s Harley Davidson. The bike was custom built for Warner Bros. using a 1976 XLCH Sportster 1000 as a starting point. It features a winged fiberglass fairing, rocket-shaped exhaust, upright rear fin, and the eye-catching eagle paint scheme. Like many of Evel’s memorable rides, it would go on to spawn its own highly collectible (and launch-able) Evel Knievel “Strato-Cycle” toy, manufactured by the Ideal Toy Company.
After filming, the bike is said to have been sold to the Rich Budelier Company, a Los Angeles Harley Davidson dealer, before it was then sold to Harley Davidson's ex-head of archives, Tom Bolfert, for a mere $500.
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Today, the rarified Stratocycle has received a cosmetic restoration, which returns its plexiglass screen and alloy wheels back to their on-screen likeness. Amazingly, it still carries its original California registration card, issued to Warner Bros. on April 18, 1977. Viva Knievel! may not eclipse stunts like Evel’s historic Greyhound bus jump, nevertheless the film’s eagle-emblazoned Stratocycle forms an interesting piece of the Evel Knievel story.
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