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The TT Special 650 Triumph from The Great Escape

For the filming of the climactic scene in The Great Escape in which Steve (as Virgil Hilts) hijacks a German warbike and becomes the center of one of cinema's most famous chase scenes, a little bit of improvising was done, as explained by Steve to writer William Nolan: We had four bikes for this film. I was running a TT Special 650 Triumph. We painted it olive drab and put on a luggage rack and an old seat to make it look like a wartime BMW. We couldn't use a real BMW, not at the speeds we were running, since those old babies were rigid-frame jobs, and couldn't take the punishment.

The camera tricks didn't end there though. Steve's riding was too fast for the German stuntmen chasing him, so to solve the problem, Steve doubled for his pursuers as well, effectively chasing himself on camera!

The Triumphs ridden by Steve in the film were decked out and provided by Steve's friend and ofttimes stunt double Bud Ekins.
Steve riding the TT Special 650 Triumph
Exact Replica of Steve's TT Special 650 Triumph
Photo courtesy of Petersen Automotive Museum
www.petersen.org