Saturday, March 11, 2017

Bud Ekins, famous movie stuntman and legend in Hollywood customs, cars, and motorcycles for his movie work, and friendship with Steve McQueen and Von Dutch. However, impressive for his own motorcycle accomplishments. Lets take a look

Born in, and lived in, Hollywood, California, Ekins began riding off-road motorcycles daily in the hills above his Hollywood home just after WW2 ended. He was too young for the military until years after WW2 was over, because he was born in May 1930

He was a young hooligan, not going to school after 8th grade, and getting 2 years in reform school for joy riding in a stolen car.

He started entering local off-road races in 1949, and within a couple years, was the top motocross racer in Southern California, winning the AMA District 37 championship seven times. He used a shovel blade as a engine skid plate. Crafty.

Matchless motorcycle factory sponsored him in the 1952 European Motocross Championship and he finished the season in ranked 15th in the world.

In 1955 Ekins won the Catalina Grand Prix, and in 1959 became the third three-time winner of the prestigious Big Bear Hare and Hound desert race, which at the time was the largest off-road event in the country, while at half way, he was in the lead, broke a rim, had his team fix it, and still made up the lost time and won the race 30 minutes ahead of the guy in 2nd place. For his 1959/3rd time win

He hired Von Dutch in the early 60's, and that's something I already covered in my Von Dutch posts. He also hired Evel Knievel:
   ‘I never saw Evel Knievel jump, but he worked for me,’ Bud recalled. ‘He was dead broke. I had him changing tyres. He was an egotist and that was before he got really famous. He jumped anything – Norton, Triumphs. He was a whore. He was kinda stupid to do it with a Harley, but Harley paid him for it.’

In a couple years, he opened a Triumph dealership, and the young Hollywood stars were dropping by... Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Warren Beatty

Von Dutch painted the sign/lettering on the bldg

Ekins won four gold medals and a silver during his seven years of competing in the ISDT, the International Six Days Trial, a form of off-road motorcycle Olympics.

In 1964, he helped pioneer the Baja 1000 when he and his brother Dave did the TJ to La Paz in 39 hours on a motorcycle and was the overall winner of the the inaugural Baja 500 in 1969 in a Hurst Baja Boot

After the first Baja 1000, Both McQueen and Ekins recognized the potential and advanced design of the Baja Boots. Solar Plastics, Steve McQueen’s factory which produced accessories for dune buggies and motorcycles, eventually purchased both Boots from Vic Hickey.

He was the stunt coordinator for the tv show CHiPS, and did stunts in the Love Bug, Blues Brothers, and Animal House. He was a writer for Motorcycling Magazine.

Many of his collected bikes are at auction every year, just a glimpse at Bonhams shows 6 pages of his motorcycles and cars, who states that Ekins was one of the USA’s foremost collectors of veteran and vintage motorcycles - at one time his collection numbered over 150 motorcycles and was considered to be the most valuable in the country.

In his collection which went to auction in 2010 with Bonhams, were some odd things like this sign made by Von Dutch for Ekins' Hollywood vehicle rental business,  and things pinstriped by Von Dutch

a 1905 REO Roadster,

a 1908 REO Tourer and

a 1908 Delaunay-Belleville H4 Double Phaeton.

 a band saw and tabletop lathe

 a motorcycle sidecar “Mona”
 a 1970 Triumph Bonneville T140
and he had sold the Triumph to the production studio that the Fonz rode


  1. Nice article. Thanks. It looks like the tailstock of the lathe is pinstriped. (From the shop sequence pictures.)

    1. Thanks! Wow, no one's ever said nice article before!
      I used only that one photo to show what the thing was, and the Von Dutch series photo to show him, using it, but I didn't add the other photos available of the close ups of the lathe parts he had pinstriped. I felt adding more images would detract from the post, which I wanted to show more of the variety of the things Bud had, and had auctioned, to demonstrate his broad range of interests, accomplishments, and business dealership that was a Hollywood fixture for decades.