____________________________________________ February 11 2015

In the summer of 1970, Steve McQueen's film company Solar Productions set up camp in Le Mans to film an action movie based on the 24 hour endurance race.

Much has already been written about the shambles that was to be McQueen's race epic. Halts in production, threats of cancellation of backing and even changes of the director. We'll let others tell those stories.

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What follows is a set of never before seen photographs from the proof sheets of the earliest days of filming, from the Johnson Motors photo archive. We've chosen to purposefully use the grainy proof sheets rather than prints.

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McQueen coming in from the Solar Village, passing the movie cars (and the infamous Porsche 917).
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Steve's choice for pit bikes was (unusually) two 90cc Kawasaki GA 1SS models. McQueen was known to have no affection for Japanese motorcycles- regifting a Suzuki production race bike he was given on the set of Papillion on his return to the US.
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Joe Siffert and Mcqueen arrive to check on the Porsche 917s.
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Siffert, McQueen and Haig Alltounian (Steve's close friend) who now restores Vincent motorcycles in Santa Monica, CA.
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This appears to be a practice day, as McQueen is wearing his race shoes.
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With the prices of any motorcycle or car attached to McQueen, it's interesting that these two Kawasakis are lost, considering so many great racing drivers rode and raced them in fun against each other on the great Le Mans track during the making of this film.
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Where are they now?
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McQueen and Siffert head back out on to the track. Even though McQueen was a great motorcyclist and racer, our money's on Siffert!
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Sorry Steve.
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