Dune buggy may be a stunt car from unfinished film ‘Yucatan’

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Was this car meant to have a starring role in the “Yucatán” movie? Photo: Fox News

Cars driven by the Hollywood actor Steve McQueen are often worth millions of dollars today, but there’s one linked to the late icon that may have the most interesting backstory of them all, even though it never got its close-up.

Fox News was contacted by the owner of another one of the classic dune buggies that was likely intended for McQueen’s never-completed epic “Yucatán.” McQueen died in 1980, at only 50 years old, while in Ciudad Juarez.

Don Martin of Valley Center, Calif., said that the car was a hand-me-down from his stepfather, who had purchased it from a neighbor.

He was told that McQueen had driven it for a few years, but it was originally ordered in 1969 to be a stunt car.

Biographer Marshall Terrill thinks that timeline matches up with a project that McQueen had in the works that was set to be one of the biggest films ever made.

“Yucatan” (not the Spanish comedy of the same name, to be released Aug. 31) was an action adventure about a marine salvage expert enlisted to search for treasure hidden at the bottom of deep wells in an ancient Mexican ruin.

It also included a chase scene in it that was meant to outdo “The Great Escape” and “Bullitt.”

Concept art for the film printed in the New York Times in 2006 depicts hundreds of motorcycles racing across a barren plain, Fox News reported.

Unfortunately, after the financial failure of McQueen’s labor of love film, “Le Mans,” the “Yucatan” project collapsed. The roughly 1,700 pages of notes and storyboards his development team created for it were bound into leather books and put into a chest and stored away for years.

That was until they were uncovered years after his death, in the 1990s, by his son Chad. The younger McQueen has been working with Hollywood heavyweights for years to turn the material into a film, with Robert Downey, Jr. long attached to it.

“This is easily a $200 million movie and it would take an action superstar at the height of his career surrounded by a stellar international cast to open a picture like this,” Terrill said. “I’d really love to see it happen one day so that Steve McQueen’s vision can finally be unfolded.”

“Pirates of the Caribbean” writer Terry Rossio was brought onboard the project a year later, which is the last time there was any major news about it, so there’s no telling when or if it will get greenlighted.

If it does, the producers might want to call Martin. He’s starting a full restoration of the Manx that will be documented on YouTube, and he does plan to sell the car when it’s complete.

The car may not ever make it to the big screen, but as possibly the only existing artifact from one of the most legendary unmade films, that really might not matter at all.

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