Amelia Island 2020

Dune buggy from 'The Thomas Crown Affair' sells for $456,000

This dune buggy was driven by Steve McQueen in the cinematic classic "The Thomas Crown Affair".

Photo courtesy of Bonham's

When the gavel fell on Lot 119 on Saturday afternoon, a piece of cinematic history was claimed by new owners. Bonham's auctioned off the 1967/68 Con-Ferr Meyers Manx Dune Buggy from the classic movie "The Thomas Crown Affair" to the highest bidder during the company's annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance auction.

Before it was driven around by Hollywood heartthrob and noted automotive enthusiast Steve McQueen, the car was specially built for the movie. It's an authentic Meyers Manx complete with a modified Volkswagen floor plan, chassis, and suspension. The exterior was been thoroughly customized for the movie by Con-Ferr as were the interior, exhaust, and wheels (American Racing Wheels). The seat frames are from a Datsun Fair Lady.

Thomas Crown Affair 1968 dune buggy Actors Faye Dunaway and Steve McQueen ride in a dune buggy in a scene from the movie "The Thomas Crown Affair" which was released on June 19, 1968. Photo by Getty Images

The car is powered by a 2,683 cc lat six-cylinder Chevrolet Corvair engine and gets over 140 bhp. That's well over the 40-125 bhp generally gotten from the traditional air-cooled Volkswagen flat-fours in the dune buggies at the time.

Originally, the script called for Crown to be driving a Jeep but McQueen nixed that idea after allegedly seeing the original Meyers Manx on the cover of a 1966 issue of "Hot Rod" magazine and thought it would be more his character's style.

As part of the car's listing, Bonham's described McQueen's affinity of the little car:

In a period documentary about the making of the film, McQueen told the story of the one-off dune buggy that so clearly demonstrated his love of cars and his driving ability: "Crown lives at the beach, and he has a sand dune buggy. I helped 'em design it, so I'm kinda proud of that. It's set on a Volkswagen chassis, with big ol' wide weenies, big wide tires on mag wheels, Corvair engine stuffed in the back...It's very light, you know. It's pulling about 230 horses, and the vehicle weighs about 1,000 pounds."

The car appears in a pivotal scene in "The Thomas Crown Affair" where McQueen and co-star Faye Dunaway take on sand dunes in the car. McQueen did all the driving for the film.

Post-production, the car lead a less exciting life, spending much of its time driving around Hawaii, living the beach life it was built for. For nearly two decades it sat in a warehouse then it was purchased, disassembled, and restored with concours-level precision.

Lot 119 sold for $456,000 including the premium.

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Spider-man performers are seen at the premiere of Sony Pictures' "Spider-Man Far From Home" at TCL Chinese Theatre on June 26, 2019 in Hollywood, California.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Usually its the stars that are bragging about a multi-picture deal. This go-round it's Hyundai. The automaker has teamed up with Sony Pictures Entertainment that will place Hyundai's new models and technologies in coming productions. Hyundai will also offer marketing support and the companies will collaborate on a wide range of ancillary content-creation.

"This strategic partnership with Sony Pictures will allow customers to understand and experience our human-centered future mobility vision through innovative vehicles and technologies, illuminating a way forward for transforming how we move, interact, and design our lives for optimal benefits. We will offer various ways to inspire our customers and movie fans around the globe," said Wonhong Cho, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Hyundai Motor.

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid starts at $27,750, comes in three trim levels. Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai isn't the first automaker to collaborate with a production, nor is it the first to enter into a relationship of this kind. Nissan worked with Disney on a number of pictures including the recent Star Wars movies, the remake of "Mary Poppins" and "A Wrinkle in Time" among others. Audi has had its vehicles appear in animated features. Porsche presented a new vehicle at the last Star Wars movie premiere. Land Rover and Aston Martin are virtually synonymous with the James Bond brand.

Hyundai Motor's new models and technologies will be featured in five upcoming Sony Pictures films including "Uncharted" (July 2021); the sequel to "Spider-Man: Far From Home" (November 2021); the sequel to "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" (October 2022); and other tentpoles to be determined.

In the last Spider-Man movie, Audi had a supporting role. It looks like their time with the Spidey stories has come to an end.

"This deal embodies the true definition of the word partnership," said Jeffrey Godsick, EVP of Global Partnerships and Brand Management, and Head of Location Based Entertainment at Sony Pictures Entertainment. "The deal has many layers, including substantial marketing support, but its real potential and impact come from groundbreaking content that we will develop together."

Hyundai has a great deal of new-age tech on the horizon including hydrogen-powered transportation, cloud-based driving dynamics, and air travel.

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