BK Auto Auctions presents this classic 1951 BSA C11 finished in an awesome finish in British Racing green. . This head turning BSA is restored and once owned by Steve McQueen’s widow, Barbara McQueen, to honor his love of this model BSA motorcycle after passing.
BSA’s model line-up over the years included both single- and two-cylinder models. At the company’s peak, it was the largest motorcycle manufacturer (with Triumph included) in the world. Ultimately, poor management decisions in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s kept BSA from developing new products which resulted in steep sales declines. The company vastly underestimated the threat posed by the Japanese motorcycle companies and by 1972 BSA was effectively bankrupt. A government-supported reorganization briefly kept the Triumph and Norton marques in the marketplace but BSA production ended in the 1973 model year. (NOTE: While BSA production ended in the 1973 model year there are some instances where BSA models bear a later year of registration due to some instances of these motorcycles being titled in the year they were sold as opposed to the year of production.)
The BSA C11 was produced from 1939 through 1956, and the motorcycle evolved significantly during that time. Originally a four-stroke side valve engine design displacing 249cc’s, later models were fitted with overhead valve powerplants with the same displacement. 1951 marked the introduction of a new frame which featured plunger-style rear suspension. The cycle was equipped with a four-speed gearbox, which in true British fashion was shifted with the right foot. Drum brakes front and rear provided the stopping power.
A 1951 BSA C11 was among the many motorcycles that movie star and cycle enthusiast Steve McQueen owned in his lifetime. While this BSA C11 was not owned by the “King of Cool”, it comes in a close second. This motorcycle was purchased and owned by McQueen’s widow, Barbara McQueen, to commemorate his love for motorcycles after his passing!
A part of the present owner’s portfolio of collectible vehicles since September 2009, the motorcycle received a complete and authentic restoration prior to his acquisition. It has been on static display in a humidity-controlled environment under his ownership. The BSA C11 is finished in British Racing Green with a chrome gas tank bearing green and gold accents. All of the brightwork presents exceptionally well. The motorcycle has traveled just under 250 miles since the complete restoration was completed. Included with the sale is a copy of the title in Barbara McQueen’s name.