Steve McQueen's Vintage Camper Heads to Auction

Mcqueen 52 chevrolet 001 II

By Barbara Toombs

Legendary actor Steve McQueen was known for his love of racing and speed — both on and off the silver screen. He was a serious collector of cars, trucks and motorcycles, and reportedly owned more than 60 rare vehicles. While some were top-of-the-line performance cars, others were more utilitarian in nature, such as the 1952 Chevrolet 3800 pickup truck and custom camper (Lot No. 1292) that will be crossing the block without a minimum price during the 2016 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction.

In a statement on the auction website, Barbara "Minty" McQueen said her late husband often collected trucks on a whim even though they didn't have the parking space at their Trancas Beach home just north of Malibu, Calif.

"Steve's collection of cars and motorcycles cluttered that private driveway, which serviced a row of homes near the beach," she said, "but that didn't stop him from buying whatever he wanted."

McQueen purchased this Forest Green truck in 1978 and mostly used it for cross-country camping trips. The custom camper was built by a sheet-metal fabricator from Yreka, Calif., in October 1952. Made of galvanized metal and aluminum, the camper includes a double bed (with its original mattress), storage cabinets, drawers, shelves and a heavy-duty diamond-plated bumper. It also has a platform on top, providing a prime viewing location from which to view the auto and motorcycle racing events McQueen loved so much.

The Chevy 3800 custom camper will go on the auction block at the 45th Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Jan. 30. For more information, go to


Mcqueen 52 chevrolet 008 II

Steve McQueen's 1952 Chevrolet 3800 camper comes with the original six-cylinder engine, body and frame. Other noteworthy features include a four-speed transmission, 5-gallon gas tanks on the running boards, a driver's-side spotlight and two toolboxes.


Mcqueen 52 chevrolet 030 II

This pickup's significance has historical importance: It was the last vehicle to take McQueen from his Santa Paula home to the Ventura County Airport on Nov. 3, 1980, before he headed to Mexico for what would be his final cancer surgery. Accompanying him on that journey was the Rev. Billy Graham.


Mcqueen 52 chevrolet 026 II

The Chevy camper was first sold at the Steve McQueen Estate Auction in 1984 at the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas. The sale at Barrett-Jackson auction will include an original certificate of authenticity from the estate auction signed by Terry and Chad McQueen, as well as auction flyers and a ticket, the original 1959 California license plates and three California title "pink slips" in Steve McQueen's name.


Mcqueen 52 chevrolet 009 II

Although a wilderness adventure might be out of the question in this humble camper, it represents a rare opportunity to own a memento from "The King of Cool" himself.

Barrett-Jackson images


Mcqueen 52 chevrolet 029 II

Mcqueen-chevy-camper II



Nice camper.

The engine is actually what Toyota originally built as the first Landcruiser engne as well.

That engine is original Chevrolet, 1954 looks to be the year Toyota started building them as well. This article states its a 1952.


For a second I thought this was a story about the new RAM half ton that Fiat keeps promising.

Look forward not backwards. Crush that relic.

What a neat truck and in such good shape. It would make a good addition to Jay Leno's collection. This is worth preserving. Can crusher needs to be crushed.

What an awesome looking old truck! Don't get any simpler than that inline 6. It defiantly needs to be preserved.

I am really surprised that the Fat Girl From Oz has not brought up its fuel economy, it being made from steel, or the F150 in general. He has been on a F150 rampage all day. Quite entertaining for sure.

I military grade do. I did you a military grade favor and copied your military grade post. You did not say it was your military grade opinion. You said military grade Harley Dropped military grade Ford. So again, time for you to put your military grade money where your military grade mouth is. I would like to see the military grade proof of that military grade statement. That military grade information is hard for me to military grade find. Real man military grade trucks for sure. I still miss my military grade 03 Lightning. But I was getting to the military point where I needed to military grade upgrade the military grade rods and military grade pistons to military grade reliably make more military grade power. The military grade Syclones and military grade Typhons were some wicked military grade little trucks. Still are. I believe they are still bringing in good military grade money today. Same as the military grade grand national. The late model military grade Silverado SS was a military grade disappointment though. Typical military grade answer from a military grade GM fanbot that does not have a military grade clue. Thank you military grade GMsNOTSOGREAT for continuing to military grade prove me right. Please look up military grade stuff before looking military grade stupid. They were military grade all wheel drive which was nice with a military grade 6.0L but they just were not military grade fast. I believe the military grade Trailblazer SS was considerably quicker though. The military grade SRT Jeeps are military grade stupid quick for a military grade SUV. Well it is time you military grade put your military grade fanbot money where your military grade mouth is: wait I’ll get my military grade wife and you can put your military grade money there!

@LMAO - Dad can I borrow the Chevy tonight?

That might be getting old but did you know that many times I will check this site out when I am sitting on the toilet making a statue of Johnny Welfare!

That's really getting old

Posted by: roadram | Jan 21, 2016 6:21:14 PM

It is but sometimes people like Johnny welfare doe or the other retard hemi v8 has to try and feel cool and post under someone else's user name.

Nice truck.

It is but sometimes people like Johnny welfare doe

or the other retard hemi v8 has to try and feel cool

and post under someone else's user name.


Hey LMAO kid, it's probably truckcrazy kid using your name. He's always talking bout stool buses any way.

Nice truck no doubt. Tough. @johnny blow not my pal. Don't bring my name up unless you have something on me. As far as I'm concerned you don't ever bring my name up again.

Manufacturer Toyota
Production 1955-1974
Combustion chamber
Configuration I6
Displacement 3.9 L (3878 cc)
Cylinder bore 90 mm (3.5 in)
Piston stroke 102 mm (4.0 in)
Compression ratio 6.8:1
Fuel system Carbureted
Fuel type Gasoline
Power output 75/93 kW (105/125 hp)
Torque output 261/289 N·m (189/209 ft·lb)
Predecessor B
Successor F (1974) aka F.5
The F engine is a 3.9-liter, 75/93 kW (105/125 hp), carburated gasoline engine that is capable of 261/289 N·m (189/209 lb·ft) of torque at 2000 RPM; the difference in power and torque is different depending on the export destination. The original design was started in the early 1950s when Toyota had begun to export their vehicles internationally.

The F engine block, crankshaft and lower end assembly is loosely based on the 1939-63 G.M.C. L6 OHV 235 engine but with a taller deck (rather than the similar but smaller Chevrolet 1937-63 Gen-2 L6 OHV engine), and built under license. The cylinder head and combustion chamber is derived from the Chevrolet L6 OHV "stovebolt" engine, slightly scaled up. The general idea was consumers would feel comfortable with the engine since it was a familiar design and had a proven track record. None of the bottom end of the engine is interchangeable with these engines.

The F engine replaced the early 3.4-liter B gasoline engine introduced in 1937 (not to be confused with the 2.9-liter B diesel engine introduced much later). The early B engine was based on the original 1929-36 Chevrolet Gen-1 207 inline-6, not the later 1937-63 Gen-2 216, 235 etc. engine.

Hope they get some good money for it.

That thing got a V8? Chevy trucks were so far behind the Ford pickup's on engineering.

Actually an inline six is a better engine than a V8.

This is why most any semi is fitted with an inline 6.

The engine fitted to this old time Chev would of been more than enough to move the vehicle along at even 80mph.

Considering the chassis, suspension, brake dynamics of the era the engine was adequate as well.

Even back then bias tyres were only available and not radials which are far better performing tyres.

Hey johnny doe did you know that many times I will check this site out when I am sitting on the toilet making a statue of Johnny Welfare!

@Big Al from oz- I love an inline six engine. I only hope they can make a comeback.

Once again, that is Not a 3.9 six. This is a 1952 truck with an original engine(according to the article)

Big Al - "The engine fitted to this old time Chev would of been more than enough to move the vehicle along at even 80mph."

Nope. Not even close. Not with that camper.

Those inline sixes were great engines whether they be Ford or GM. They lasted forever and had good torque. Both companies put them in every truck class BUT non of them were speedy.
A buddy had one in his Chevy 3/4 ton 4x4. It was great for crawling through the bush but not higher speeds. It was also hard on fuel.

Remember that this was the era of 4 speed manuals and 4.10 or lower gear ratio's.

My brother had a Chevy 1/2 ton with 250 I-6. It had a 3 speed auto and tall gears. He could run at 75-80 all day long and get good mpg but under load it was a dog.

Like I said, back then we did not have 6-8 speed transmissions. Trucks were either geared for work (most were) or geared for economy.

I'd love to see I-6's make a come back with the big 3.

@Big Al - AND there is a huge difference between a 6 - 12 litre diesel inline six and a 250 - 300 gasser inline six.

I've driven both......... have you?

"Although a wilderness adventure might be out of the question in this humble camper"

Challenge accepted!

If you had any engineering acumen you would know irrespective of capacity of an engine an inline six is a superior engine over a V8.

Again, you are talking bestest, biggest, mostest, baddest, ect'est. There is more than Ford propaganda data in the world.

You must move away from the net and actually go out and drive a big rig. You make so many unsubstantiated comments you are becoming a joke on the net.

You will now be known as ....................... BC Mike. The Frod stooge.

The purveyor of Ford products.

Really, BC Mike.

BC Mike,
Do you know why the V8 engine exists? I doubt it.

They were developed to place in a more compact situation, ie, where an inline 6 fitted.

The V6 was also designed to fit into compact places.

It's all about cost reduction. Even back in olden days.

Looks like PUTC didn't like my reply to BARFo.

Ill try again but more politely.

You said, " "The engine fitted to this old time Chev would of been more than enough to move the vehicle along at even 80mph."

Care to post proof?

Salt flats with a 3 mile run and a tail wind?

Trucks of that era.........

Trucks of that era.........

Trucks of that era.........

ESPECIALLY 3/4 and 1 ton trucks are geared for work i.e. high numerical gear ratio's which mean low top speeds.

Ironically I found a thread about buying such a truck for 75-80 mph travel.

The consensus - no hope in hell unless you change gearing.

@BARFo - run along now and let the truck talk go on among those who actually live and breath trucks and ACTUALLY have driven them.

@Lou_BC--My grand dad's 63 IH had a 6 cylinder that was based on the old Chevy Blue Streak engine which is what this old Chevy would have. Getting it up to 60 mph was about the most it would do but these engines had a lot of torque and were designed to haul. My IH had a canister oil filter which was the same filter as an old tractor uses and it had an oil bath filter with a metal filter that could be cleaned. These were designed as work trucks that could be worked on by anyone. Another similar engine was the flat head straight 6 cylinder that Dodge 6 used up until the early 60's when the Slant 6 was introduced. You probably could modify these engines to go faster but they were primarily designed for work and durability.

If you look at the link I provided on Leno's Harley truck he discusses with a Ford truck manager how trucks transitioned from a no frills work to a luxury vehicle. Sometime in the 80's there was an excise tax passed by Congress on any vehicle above 30k but trucks were exempt. It is an interesting interview and Leno's truck is really neat.

I meant oil bath air filter with a metal screen that could be cleaned. The oil filter itself was huge with a canister that has an additional drain plug on it along with the oil pan drain plug. These old 6 cylinders were designed for the ease of maintenance and the ease of parts which could be bought anywhere. Farmers loved these engines because they were easy to work on and would run forever.

I saw a truck exactly like this in a garage in a house that was for sale that I was looking at around1997. The house was is Manhattan Beach. Could this have been the same Steve McQueen truck.

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