It's hard to think of Steve McQueen in his last days. Diagnosed with incurable mesothelioma in 1979, the beloved racer, gearhead, and movie hero was dead less than a year later, age 50.
Which is why this particular vehicle once owned by the hero actor has a bit of a pall cast over it. Because this 1952 Chevy pickup, with a drop-in camper built custom for McQueen, is , en route to what would be his last cancer treatment in Mexico. :
This truck's significance takes on greater historical importance as it was the last vehicle to transport McQueen from his Santa Paula home to the Ventura County Airport on Nov. 3, 1980. From there he would be whisked to El Paso, Texas, for his final cancer surgery in Juarez, Mexico. Accompanying McQueen in the camper was the Reverend Billy Graham. According to Graham, McQueen peppered him with questions of the afterlife on this 'last ride.' When they arrived at the airport, Graham read a number of passages of Scripture and they prayed several times. After "Amen," Graham instinctively handed over his Bible to McQueen, which became his proudest possession. He was clutching the Bible when he passed away a few days later. As Graham turned to leave, McQueen proclaimed, "I'll see you in heaven!"
In better days, McQueen used the one-ton truck, with custom "Dust Tite" camper built by Harold Van Hoosen, on camping trips throughout the U.S. The six-cylinder truck reportedly wears the same forest green paint, custom jerry cans, camper equipment, and license plates as it had when McQueen owned it.
As with , a portion of the proceeds from this sale will go to The Boys Republic in Chino Hills, CA, the reform school that McQueen credited with turning his life around when he was a rebellious, troublesome teen.
We're not sure what we'd do with such a rig. A NAPCO 4x4 conversion would definitely be fitting with the aesthetic, though it would probably ruin the oh-so-valuable "just as McQueen left it" condition (). One thing's for certain: This truck is yearning to explore the vast and desolate reaches of the American desert. Just as McQueen would've wanted.