This is a set of three original Baja Bucket Seats designed by legendary actor Steve McQueen. He patented the design for use in the 1968 movie Bullitt, which features one of the most famous car chases in cinematic history.
“To me there are cars, and then there is transportation. I don’t have a lot of interest in cars that won’t go fast and stop well and corner a little. I’d rather sink my fanny into a bucket seat than park it on a bench.” – Steve McQueen in a Sports Illustrated interview
The seats were manufactured and sold by McQueen’s company Solar Automotive Products. This was a sister company to Solar Productions, the film production company that was behind the 1971 film Le Mans as well as the classic motorcycle documentary On Any Sunday. Solar Automotive Products sold these seats directly, they also offered them through a network of suppliers.
McQueen’s seat design was first used in the Bullitt Mustang, but it would really come into its own when they were installed into the Baja 500 race-winning “Baja Boot,” a vehicle now owned by James Glickenhaus.
The seat design was brilliant in its simplicity. Each seat consisted of a curved plastic “bucket” that was designed to contour to the form of a seated driver. It offered deep padding to soak up bumps, a fixed head rest, ports for passing through multi-point racing harnesses, air vents, and broad side bolsters to keep the occupant firmly in their seat no matter how spirited the driving may have been.
McQueen was only given a 14 year patent on the design, after this expired the seats were widely copied in the years that followed, eventually becoming almost ubiquitous in off-road racing vehicles. Copies of the seat remain in production today and many of them retain almost all of the original patented McQueen design cues, though relatively few give credit to the original creator.
This set of three original Baja Bucket Seats were bought new from King Motoring Specialities of Haddon Heights, New Jersey, in April of 1970. They remain in original condition throughout and even come with the original invoice showing a purchase price of $377.80 USD – a significant figure for the time, equivalent to $2,996 USD in 2023 dollars.
These three seats are now being offered for sale on Bring a Trailer out of Monarch Beach, California. If you’d like to read more about them or register to bid you can visit the listing here.
Images courtesy of Bring a Trailer
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