The Great Escape - Friends of Steve McQueen Car and Motorcycle Show

By Lizett Bond  

(photos by Bruce Benedict)

They rode in, they drove in, were trailered in or towed in. They arrived by night or in the early morning fog.

They came for the show. On Saturday, June 1, 2013 over 5,000 spectators and more than 350 display vehicles arrived on the campus of the Boys Republic in Chino Hills, CA for the 6th Annual Friends of Steve McQueen Car and Motorcycle Show benefiting the venerable school.

Founded in 2008 by members of the Porsche 356 Club of Southern California, the event raises awareness and funds in support of the Boys Republic, a private, non-profit, nonsectarian community for at-risk teens, established in 1907. As a Boys Republic 1947-49 alumnus, McQueen earned self-respect through work and accomplishment during his stay at the facility. The actor never forgot and was a frequent visitor even after he became a Hollywood star.

The Friends of Steve McQueen Car and Motorcycle Show blends McQueen’s passion for cars and motorcycles with his passionate support of the school. Each year, a theme from a McQueen movie role is woven throughout the event. This year’s show focused on German cars, motorcycles and military equipment saluting the classic 1963 World War II film, "The Great Escape".

Spectators enjoyed a diverse collection of the classic, the expensive and the rare. Highlights included a Cooper T-52 Formula Junior and Chad McQueen’s black Speedster, both owned at one time by Chad’s famous father.  Crowd favorites included an original 1965 Ford GT40, 1949 Belly Tank Lakester, Roush Mustang. A 1935/41 Miller-Ford NOVI-Winfield also caught the eye. Entrants vied for a host of unique trophies designed and fashioned out of engine parts by the students of Boys Republic. Michael Dunn’s 1940 Zündapp motorcycle with sidecar broke out as The Great Escape Trophy winner.

As the crowd mingled and strolled the field, a realistic reproduction of Stalag Luft III, the POW camp depicted in the movie, stood as silent sentry, complete with guard tower, cooler, tunnel, and barbed wire fencing. The set exploded into life as the California Historical Group, a World War II living history association, re-enacted the legendary escape scene portrayed in the film, complete with McQueen’s character, Hilts infamous motorcycle jump. Rifle-carrying German soldiers fired on the M4A1 Sherman tank as a P-51 Mustang, complements of Chino Airport Planes of Fame Museum, performed a flyover.

Since its start in 2007, the event has gathered momentum, and the proceeds for this year’s show approached $200,000. The beneficiaries of these monies, the boys of the Boys Republic, play a yearly role in this fundraising effort, participating in every aspect of the show from traffic control and parking to preparing and serving the Friday night pre-show dinner to 500 al fresco diners. The evening festivities featured a program MC’d by automotive journalist, editor and Speed TV commentator, Matt Stone, along with a silent auction, wine tasting with Rock Wall Wine Company, and a very successful live auction featuring 2004 American Idol runner-up Matt Rogers as auctioneer with Boys Republic students assisting as callers.

The theme of the 7th Annual Friends of Steve McQueen Car and Motorcycle Show on June 7, 2014, will be The Thomas Crown Affair.

Trophy Winners

The Great Escape Award (bike only) Michael Dunn 1940 Zundapp w/sidecar

Best European Bike Don Reichel 1969 BMW w/sidecar

Best American Bike Brad Boyle 1999 Harley Davidson

Best Japanese Bike Gareth Ashworth 1991 Honda 750

Best Café Racer John Dunham Norton Manx

Best Dirt Bike Don Petersen 1965 CZ 250

Best Custom Motorcycle Adrian Packatt 2007 Triumph Canyon Cycle

Motorcycle Best in Class Laurie Bogsio 1953 Vincent Black Shadow

Best Paint of Show Randy Palmer 1960 Dodge Power Wagon

American Street Car D. & C. Fernandez 1974 Chevy Vega

Best Pre-90’s Corvette Lee McCoy 1960 Corvette

Best Post-90’s Corvette Erik Simonsen 2013 Corvette GS

Best Italian Street Car Hector Vazquez 1974 Alfa Romeo GTV

Chad McQueen Award Bird Bete 1970 BMW/VonDutch/sidecar

Judges Choice Bisi Ezerioha 1976 Porsche 911 w/CAN-BUS

The Boys of BR Motorcycle Award Dave Scoffone Triumph

Ron Harris/Chairmans Award Aaron Weiss 1934 Packer

Chris Burns/Directors Award Chuck Bartron 1984 930

Best Street Truck George Dull 1971 Chevrolet

Best Hauler Truck Ron Adler 1965 Crew Cab Pickup

Bullitt Best in Class Bret Duff 2008 Bullitt

Best Open Hot Rod Dick Bennett 1932 Ford

Best Closed Hot Rod Tim Weens 1934 Ford

Model A or T Steve Salazar 1931 AA Ford

Closed 356 Freeman Thomas 1956 356A

Open 356 Jim Bouzaglou 356

Outlaw 356 Yolanda Borner 1961 356B Outlaw

Best 911 John Tolen Porsche 1973 911E

English Street Car Craig Ludwin 1959 Austin Healy Bug Eye

Le Mans Trophy (race car) Tom Malloy 1935/41 Miller-Ford Novi Indycar

Best Early Mustang Donald Oaks 1968 Mustang

Best Late Mustang Michael O’Donnell 2001 Mustang