Thursday, October 25, 2012

Video captures the spirit of McQueen and motorcycles

There may not be a single Royal Enfield motorcycle in it, but the spirit that drives men (and women) to adore Steve McQueen and vintage motorcycles in general is captured in a new Shell gasoline commercial.

An actor a bit too plump to be the hollow-cheeked McQueen plays the role of the fleeing American prisoner from the movie "The Great Escape."

The famous leap across a barbed wire barrier is recreated and a Shell gasoline pump is added to the script to suggest that the energy in its gasoline made the jump possible.

Fake Steve McQueen flees on real British motorcycle.
In the commercial our hero rides what may be a genuine World War II vintage WD (war department) British motorcycle. Chatter on the Internet reveals that his pursuers may be mounted on Ural outfits.

That's no World War II military motorcycle.
Looking at screen grabs of the recreated jump it seems apparent that Shell's rider did not use the WD machine to get airborne. More likely the stunt was done by substituting a lighter and more powerful Japanese off-road motorcycle.

Still, the commercial is stirring in a way the original movie was not.

In the commercial, McQueen gets away!


  1. If one looks around 0:46, when he kick starts the bike, one sees the little winged "BSA" logo on the magneto gear cover. BSA apparently did not make telescopic forked bikes during the war, so it is probably a post-war model, like the M33.

  2. Anonymous10/28/2012

    This ad isn't new - I remember it playing on Australian TV 15-20 years ago.


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