On July 20th, 1963, an all-time classic movie was released. For gentlemen of a certain age, The Great Escape remains a favourite film, and is remembered by all who've seen it for a particular scene - the famous motorcycle chase in which the "Cooler King", Captain Virgil Hilts, leaps over a barbed wire fence. To mark the film's 60th anniversary, we are offering you the opportunity to recreate the stunt.
Steve McQueen (as Captain Hilts) starts his engine
Whilst based on a true story, a fictional motorcycle chase was incorporated into the film at Steve McQueen's behest, serving as a platform for him to display his abilities and, perhaps, to assuage his delicate star ego. However, due to restrictions, McQueen was prohibited from executing the iconic leap himself. Instead, his friend, stuntman and Triumph motorcycle dealer, Bud Ekins, stepped in and successfully carried out both the daring jump and the subsequent slide into the treacherous barbed wire, a sequence that ultimately leads to Hilts being recaptured.
The film's assistant director Robert Relyea's recalls that both Steve McQueen and Tim Gibbes, a motocross rider enlisted for certain bike stunts, also executed the jump on camera. While Bud Ekins ultimately performed the jump in the final film, Relyea maintained that it could have been any of them. Interestingly, McQueen, who possessed superior motorcycling skills compared to some of the film's stuntmen, also took on the role of a Nazi soldier in the sequence. As a result, the scene effectively portrays moments where McQueen is actually chasing himself.
McQueen ready to chase or be chased
The machines used during the chase scene were 1961 Triumph TR6 Trophy models disguised as German BMW R75 military bikes. Pin-striper and artist Von Dutch converted them for the movie while working at Bud Ekins' shop in California. For those of you who may wish to recreate a piece of cinematic history, commissions can now be taken to produce replicas of what is undoubtedly the world's most famous motorcycle... just be wary of barbed wire.
Model: 1961 Triumph Trophy TR6 "Great Escape" Replica
Price: £22,500 + VAT
Delivery: 6 Months
Contact Us for more information.