A cult movie in the world of motorsport, Le Mans was the brainchild of Steve McQueen at the height of his popularity. Amongst the Porsche 917s and Ferrari 512s, one item from the film achieved international stardom: the Gulf racing suit worn by McQueen’s character Michael Delaney.
Now, this original iconic suits with its matching and original Bell helmet and Nomex underwear as worn by McQueen, was sold for an eyebrow and brought in $ 336,000.
Following the release of the movie, a promotional competition was run in the German magazine Bravo; the consignor’s late husband entered the competition as a teenager hoping to win the headline prize, a Porsche 914, but was left disappointed with the 2nd prize: the suit, helmet, and underwear presented here today. The winners were publicly announced in the November 1971 edition of Bravo, and the 2nd-place prize has remained in the possession of the consignor’s family ever since.
Stored for much of the past 46 years, this suit is still incredibly original with light staining from storage. The helmet has been repainted in period as it was used as a daily motorcycle helmet for a few years. Both the helmet and jacket have lead seals attached, believed to have been added by Solar Productions’ Costume department, whilst the helmet features all of the correct and original labels from Bell and the Snell Foundation.
The most encouraging feature of the racing suit’s condition is the light black staining on parts of the trousers, jacket, and necktie, which are synonymous with being used in a race car.
This Hinchman jacket, replicated countless times and worn by fans all over the world in the decades since the film, still features all of its original patches, including the iconic Gulf, Firestone, and Heuer sponsorships.