Viva Knievel: Halifax businessman buys yacht once owned by daredevil Evel Knievel
HALIFAX -- Death-defying jumps and spectacular crashes on his motorcycle made Evel Knievel a legend and one of the most famous people on the planet.
But it's a boat that's connected him to the Maritimes 13 years after the maverick's death.
His luxury yacht was recently purchased by Halifax businessman Rob Steele.
Like most kids growing up in the 1970s, Steele couldn't take his eyes off the screen when Evel Knievel was on TV.
"He had sort of an Elvis vibe," Steele says. "He used to wear the white leather suits with the stars and the stripes."
Knievel successfully jumped cars and buses dozens of times, but it was live-televised failures, like his ill-fated attempt to clear the fountains at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas that helped build the legend.
The late daredevil was the farthest thing from Steele's mind when he went boat shopping in Florida last fall and spotted Knievel's vintage 75-foot yacht in Fort Lauderdale.
The yacht, called Bottom Line at the time, caught his eye, so he contacted its owner who told him about its pedigree.
"Of course, the EK connection just made it that much more appealing," Steele said.
Knievel paid $650,000 for it new in 1976, but only owned it about three years.
It turns out the spectacular 1967 crash wasn't Knievel's only run of bad luck in Vegas.
"He lost (it) in a poker game," Steele said. "He was an avid gambler. Apparently the owner of Caesar's Palace owned this boat after Evel."
Steele is the fourth owner of the yacht and has renamed it Viva Knievel.
Steele's appreciation of classic boats comes from growing up in Newfoundland watching both of his grandfathers fish.
But this yacht will be staying in Halifax and will become a museum for Steele's collection of Knievel memorabilia.