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Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian, by Steven Lubar and Kathleen M. Kendrick
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Evel Knievel's jumpsuit and motorcycle, 1970sEvel Knievel's jumpsuit and motorcycle, 1970s

The ultimate American daredevil, Knievel thrilled audiences in the 1970s with his spectacular motorcycle stunts. Although he completed many death-defying jumps—over cars, buses, trucks, and other obstacles—he also crashed a lot. But his crashes seemed to make the fans love him more, for they proved he was the real thing, a man willing to risk life and limb to put on a great show. In 1994 the Smithsonian acquired Knievel's customized Harley Davidson XR-750—one of the few motorcycles to survive his career—and Knievel donated a star-spangled leather jumpsuit, cape, and boots that he wore during jumps. Curators used these objects, along with toys and memorabilia donated by fan and historian Joey Taff, to create a special display and document Knievelā€™s unique place in American popular culture.

See also: Automobiles, Clothing, Popular Culture Memorabilia, Sports Memorabilia, Transportation

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