Steve McQueen would much rather have been a race car driver than an actor.

Indeed, he spent a significant portion of his film earnings on ridiculously fast cars and proceeded to drive them rather recklessly, much to the horror of his producers and their insurance underwriters.

One of the fastest was his Lotus Eleven racer, an extremely beautiful car that suited the King of Cool to a tee.


In the Eleven, writes McQueen’s Machines author Matt Stone, the actor “felt he developed his driving skills from lucky weekend amateur to legitimate racer.”

In this shot, taken during a pit stop at the 1959 Santa Barbara Road Race, he certainly looks like the cat that ate the canary.

Or rather the King that sat in the Lotus