1970 Kawasaki G-31 "Centurian" race bike,
Lot 808
The ex-Steve McQueen, Von Dutch,1970 Kawasaki 100cc G31M Centurian 'Ringadingdoo!'
Sold for US$ 55,575 inc. premium
Lot Details
The ex-Steve McQueen, Von Dutch
1970 Kawasaki 100cc G31M Centurian 'Ringadingdoo!'
Engine no. G31E01347
This Kawasaki G31M Centurian (Kawasaki’s spelling) is one of six given to Steve McQueen by the Japanese manufacturer to be used during the filming of the motion picture, Le Mans in France, and is typical of the new generation of lightweight trail bikes emerging at that time. The late 1960s/early 1970s saw the popularity of off-road riding increase immensely, although many found that models developed from large capacity roadsters were hard work on the dirt. The result was a rash of lightweight two-stroke trail bikes, although the G31M was actually a full-on moto-crosser that produced 18.5bhp at 10,500rpm, a staggering output for a 100cc single-cylinder machine. Combined with a dry weight of only 178lbs, this made for one exciting package and the performance available would certainly have appealed to Steve McQueen. Steve was supposed to use the Kawasakis for running around the vast Le Mans racetrack in France, but he left this one behind at his hangar at Santa Paula airport. When he and Von Dutch returned from the filming, he told Dutch to get rid of the Kawasaki green paint and prepare the bike for use around the airport. Dutch repainted the tank in orange, striped it in gold and gave it the name ‘Ringadingdoo!,’ presumably a reference to the noise made by an un-silenced race-tuned two-stroke. Steve used the Kawasaki for trips to the coffee shop and visiting friends’ hangars.

In the mid-1970s Dutch moved back to California to take over the job vacated by Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth at the Brucker family’s ‘Cars of the Stars and Planes of Fame’ Museum at Buena Park. When the Museum closed in 1979 Dutch was kept on as custodian of the Brucker family’s private collection in Santa Paula, California where he died in 1992.

The vendor first came across this Kawasaki in 1990 when he visited Dutch at the Bruckers’ warehouse, where it was stored. Dutch recounted the bike’s story and then signed it: ‘Done up for Steve McQueen by Von Dutch’. The machine’s history was later confirmed to the vendor by Ed Roth, Dutch’s predecessor at the Bruckers’, who had worked with him on the filming of ‘Le Mans.’ The only time ‘Ringadingdoo!’ has ever been seen in public was at recent vintage cycle meet in Dixon. Cool and understated, yet packing a serious punch – it’s easy to understand why Steve liked it – this lovely little bike represents an exciting opportunity to acquire a unique machine representing the great friendship and respect that Steve and Dutch had for each other.

Offered without reserve
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