There’s an ex-Steve McQueen “Sandcast” 1969 Honda CB750 for sale

This is a rare 1969 Honda CB750 “Sandcast” which is historically significant for two reasons, firstly it was the world’s first “superbike” and secondly it was purchased new by Steve McQueen through his Solar Productions production.

Although there were many motorcycles before the CB750 to which the term superbike was applied retroactively, such as the Brough Superior SS100 and the Vincent Black Shadow, the Honda CB750 was the motorcycle for which the term was first used. time.

Quick Facts – The Honda CB750 “Sandcast”

  • The Honda CB750 was developed in the late 1960s and released in 1969 in response to a demand from American motorcycle dealers for a larger capacity motorcycle that would better compete with the likes of Harley-Davidson, Norton, Triumph and BSA.
  • With its 750cc SOHC inline-four engine, four carburettors, integrated 5-speed gearbox, front disc brake, electric starter, excellent reliability and zero oil leaks, the CB750 marked a generational shift in motorcycle design. And it was affordable.
  • Honda executives had at first been skeptical that the motorcycle would sell in numbers, and so instead of gearing up for mass production, they initially relied on sand casting for the crankcase . These early “sandcast” bikes are now highly collectable.
  • The CB750 you see here was purchased new by Steve McQueen’s Solar Productions, the company he used for much of his filming and the entity through which he purchased many of his cars and motorcycles.

The UJM: a paradigm shift in motorcycle design

The transverse four-cylinder engine with the cam at the top, with unitary construction and a quartet of carburettors had been done on production motorcycles before of course, most famously by the Italians of MV Augusta.

Built with unitary construction, this inline four-cylinder engine with its SOHC and four carburetors would revolutionize the motorcycle industry.

What Honda did was produce a similar engine that was affordable for the average Joe, and it revolutionized the motorcycle world.

The other major Japanese motorcycle manufacturers quickly copied the transverse four-wheel design and launched their own superbikes, namely Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha. These motorcycles became known as “Universal Japanese Motorcycles” or “UJM” for short.

The transverse four-cylinder engine became a de facto standard for many Japanese superbikes and this trend continues to this day.

The Honda CB750

In the late 1960s, American Honda motorcycle dealers were clamoring for a high-capacity motorcycle to compete with Harley-Davidson, Triumph, Norton and the other popular British motorcycle brands that sold tens of thousands of motorcycles each year in the United States. United. .


Unlike many of its contemporaries, the CB750 had an electric starter, no oil leaks and excellent reliability. All this has made it a very easy bike to live with on a daily basis.

Honda was a little skeptical of the concept, but they accepted it regardless and began development of an all-new motorcycle.

Honda engineers, who had years of Grand Prix motorcycle design experience under their belt, designed a new inline-four engine that would be mounted transversely in the frame. It was built with unitary construction and it had an electric starter, 5-speed gearbox, no oil leaks and excellent reliability.

Despite their initial skepticism, Honda was initially unable to build enough to meet demand, the CB750 became one of the best-selling large-capacity motorcycles of its time, and it nearly killed the industries of British and American motorcycling in the process.

Ex-Steve McQueen 1969 Honda CB750 shown here

This Honda CB750 is a bit more special than most, it was bought new by legendary Hollywood actor Steve McQueen through his production company.


This now restored CB750 was purchased new by Steve McQueen through his production company.

McQueen was famous for being a top notch tanker, collecting cars, motorcycles, planes, 4x4s and just about anything that moved and made noise.

This bike is from the first year of production, making it a desirable “sandcast” model. During the first year of building the CB750, Honda relied on sand casting for crankcases, later models would use mass production techniques.

For the first 45 years of its life this bike had only two owners, the first being Steve McQueen and the second being a long term owner who took care to preserve the bike.

It has just completed a two-year restoration which was completed in February 2022 and it is now offered for sale on Bring A Trailer.

If you want to know more or register to bid, you can click here to visit the list.

The bike comes with original sales literature, a letter from Honda Motor Company, a copy of an invoice from American Honda, remanufacturing records, Honda tool kit, a yellow-on-black California license plate and a proper California title in the seller’s name.


Images courtesy of Bring A Trailer


Ben has had his work featured on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the Official Pinterest Blog, the Official eBay Motors Blog, BuzzFeed and many more.

Silodrome was founded by Ben in 2010, in the years since the site has become a global leader in the alternative and vintage automotive sector, with millions of readers around the world and several hundred thousand followers on social networks.