Close-Up: Steve McQueen’s 1970 Porsche 911S

The Porsche 911 is an automotive icon with few equals. 1970s 911s are particularly coveted among the cognoscenti. A 1970s 911 owned by the King of Cool? Well that’s just sick. Steve McQueen’s 1970 911S that was featured prominently in his 1971 flick Le Mans is set to cross the auction block come August, and given the provenance no one’s even trying to guess how much cash it could bring in. Not only did it get a lot of screen time in the film, McQueen used it as his personal vehicle while filming in France. The opening sequences of his character Michael Delaney driving it through the French countryside while reflecting on life, death and racing were pretty true to life.

McQueen had a nearly identical 1969 911 back home in California, also slate grey, but he either didn’t feel like shipping it overseas or else Porsche wanted the latest model in the movie, Matt Stone recounts in the must-read McQueen’s Machines (a great new edition of which was recently published by Motorbooks). In any case the King had it shipped home once filming wrapped but later sold it. Stone actually got a chance to get behind the wheel – “Driving this car was like piloting a time machine that took me back to what it must have been like during the summer of 1970 in France,” he writes. We probably won’t be that lucky, but we can still enjoy an eyeful, so feast yours.

Jared Paul Stern writes the Classicist column for Luxist.

(All photos © Darin Schnabel 2011, courtesy RM Auctions.)

Comments on “Close-Up: Steve McQueen’s 1970 Porsche 911S

    MATT on March 17, 2011 11:14 AM:


    Mike on March 17, 2011 11:25 AM:

    I am not a car person, but 911’s, particulary 70’s and 80’s models, are my favorite. So beautiful, so cool.

    satchel b moore on March 17, 2011 11:37 AM:

    i remember the moment when i promised myself i’d own a porsche some day….
    ..some day…

    Ramalhoni on March 17, 2011 11:50 AM:

    Beautiful color, beautiful car …. a classic!!!!!!!!……..

    Sleeper on March 17, 2011 4:52 PM:

    a 1970 porsche 911 is going to be my graduation present when pharmacy school is over

    Shoeless Joe on March 17, 2011 9:53 PM:

    Thank You

    dom on March 18, 2011 9:23 AM:

    fully my favorite car, iv always said, tho id go for a 60’s model or a 1960 merc 300 sl gullwing

    Brigade on March 18, 2011 7:22 PM:

    What would you rather have, real life Porsche 911s or larger then life Bullit Mustang (NOT THE NEW ONE!!)

    chris b. on March 19, 2011 1:15 PM:

    Nice looking car—-except for the Flintstone lookin’ rims.

    Ax on March 20, 2011 4:19 PM:

    I don’t see anything wrong with the rims, but the spokes and centers of the wheels look cheap.

    Duncan on March 20, 2011 10:18 PM:

    Great post!

    They don’t make cars in this color any more unfortunately.

    The 911 is such an icon, it’ll probably never disappear. The real beauty of this post for the normal human being, is that you can acquire a fantastic air cooled 911 that is virtually the same as this for comparative chump change. It’ll have the basically the same look, probably a more reliable motor which will be larger, same road feel & will be limitless in its ability to be modified to match the needs of just about any individual. I”m thinking of something like the 83′ SC, or 84′ onward carreras which are reputed to be the most reliable 911s ever manufactured.

    Personally I’d avoid Targas, I guess some people love them but I never liked how they broke up the roof line & they’re prone to leaking/creaking at some point. I’m also especially grossed out with Targas/convertables & a tail on the back.

    The only cars that ever really excited me were vintage Porsche or Mercedes.

    Rich on March 21, 2011 5:47 AM:

    Seriously, to bemoan or to even think such an iconic car might be improved with different ‘rims’ is blasphemy.
    Great post ACL.

    Gregg on March 21, 2011 1:48 PM:

    I was 12 yrs old when I watch that movie, it was great!

    tintin on March 21, 2011 2:52 PM:

    I swear to God that 911 was advertised in a Classic cars magazine from the UK in the mid 90s. It was either $10,000 US or 10,000 sterling. I can’t remember.

    McQueen was dead in the ’90s. In more ways than one. James Dean was the shit. I know I still I still have that ad. I just have to find it.

    JP on March 22, 2011 2:58 PM:
    Rory Carroll on March 22, 2011 4:47 PM:

    Fuchs rims are not, nor do they look cheap.

    JPS on March 24, 2011 10:31 AM:

    McQueen would have turned 81 today. Long live the King.

    RM Auctions Inc on March 25, 2011 2:44 PM:

    Interested in purchasing this iconic car? It will be offered at RM Auctions’ Monterey sale on the weekend of August 19-20, 2011. Here’s a link for more info:

    Bill Smith on April 1, 2011 7:34 PM:

    Nothing like a classic Porsche 911, the modern ones have no character.

Comments are closed.