Let the film legend’s image rest in peace!

Milking McQueen

To use a phrase inspired by another motorcycle-riding hipster, Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli, Steve McQueen has officially jumped the shark. Still a style icon almost 30 years after his death, McQueen’s image has been pressed into service recently to market everything from pimped-out Mustangs to MILF-made folk rock to $380 sunglasses.

[McQueen was a legendary motorcycle enthusiast, so there's no shortage of McQueen-themed motorcycle merchandise too. Some of these items, like the reproduction, $23,000 Metisse scrambler featured in our November 2009 issue, are legitimate replicas. Other pieces, like approximately half of Truimph Motorcycles' current casual clothing line, are more loosely based in reality. During the inexorable march toward over-exposure, however, McQueen-"endorsed" memorabilia is becoming increasingly contrived. Case in point: this McQueen-inspired Bonneville Heuer, a "natural collaboration" between Triumph and Swiss luxury wristwatch maker TAG Heuer. You see, McQueen once rode a Triumph motorcycle in a little movie called The Great Escape; eight years later, he wore a TAG Heuer Monaco watch while he drove a blue-and-orange Porsche 917 in another little movie called Le Mans. That it makes sense in some brand manager's mind to mix up such disparate elements into one blue-and-orange painted, TAG-branded Bonneville motorcycle illustrates exactly how desperate the quest to *** out McQueen's name has become. Steve McQueen honored authenticity and integrity above all else. We can only imagine that such a tacky, tasteless contrivance must have him rolling in his grave. Thankfully, you won't have to eyeball this insult at your local Triumph showroom. This one-off machine was painted up just for display purposes, and can only be seen at various watch shows and TAG Heuer retailers throughout Europe this year.