Bullitt(s) Old & New

This weeks post is a little longer than normal but we think it deserves it. Unless you have been under a rock for the last couple of weeks there has been an explosion of media around the legendary ’68 Bullitt Mustang and the special edition which Ford have released to commemorate the fifty years since the film. After the Bullitt article we have compiled there is our exciting news about our latest delivery we promised last week.

DETROIT – Celebrating the 50th anniversary of iconic movie “Bullitt” and its fan-favorite San Francisco car chase, Ford introduces the new cool and powerful 2019 Mustang Bullitt.

Third-generation member of the McQueen family, Molly, starred in a special movie of her own introducing the new third-generation Bullitt at the North American International Auto Show. In the film, Molly races a new Mustang Bullitt through a parking structure battling a Dodge Charger for the final free space.

Helping it win that particular spot was the Bullitt’s upgraded 5.0-liter V8 engine that will deliver at least 475 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque, pushing the new Bullitt to a top speed of 163 mph – an 8 mph increase versus the latest Mustang GT.

Special Edition

As a special-edition model due out this summer – the all-new Mustang Bullitt is equipped with a manual transmission, and the gear shifter features a white cue ball shift knob as a nod to the original. The vehicle packages all Mustang GT Premium and Performance Package content into a vehicle that maintains the original Bullitt’s understated persona. An active valve performance exhaust system is standard with new Black NitroPlate exhaust tips, and retuned to give the car a signature burble, as well as new Open Air Induction System and Shelby GT350 intake manifold with 87mm throttle bodies and powertrain control module calibration for optimal performance.

Other standard equipment includes a heated leather steering wheel and a 12-inch all-digital LCD instrument cluster, identical in function to the cluster introduced on 2018 Mustang, but with a unique Bullitt welcome screen that starts in green with an image of the car rather than the pony.

“This new Bullitt is, as Steve McQueen was, effortlessly cool,” said Darrell Behmer, Mustang chief designer. “As a designer, it’s my favorite Mustang – devoid of stripes, spoilers and badges. It doesn’t need to scream about anything – it’s just cool.” Exterior paint choices are limited to Shadow Black and the classic Dark Highland Green – as worn in the movie. Other features that pay tribute to the car McQueen drove are subtle chrome accents around the grille and front windows, classic torque thrust 19-inch aluminum wheels, red-painted Brembo brakes, and a unique black front grille. Inside and out, the vehicle uses minimal body badging; only the circular faux gas cap Bullitt logo on the rear center is visible on the exterior.  The leather-trimmed interior features unique green accent stitching on the dashboard, door panels, center console and seats.

Aside from the two exterior paint choices, Mustang Bullitt buyers are limited to three factory-installed options:

  • Bullitt Electronics Package includes navigation, driver memory seats and mirrors, upgraded sound system and Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert that can alert customers of vehicles detected in difficult-to-see places
  • MagneRide® semi-active suspension system optimizes driving performance
  • RECARO® black leather-trimmed seats

“When making a Bullitt, there are certain things it absolutely must have,” said Carl Widmann, Mustang chief engineer. “It has to have the right attitude, it has to be unique in some way from a Mustang GT, and more than anything, it has to be bad ass.” That reputation was born after a Mustang GT fastback played a prominent role in the 1968 movie, and most notably in a chase scene that set new standards in filmmaking. The film’s nearly 10-minute-long sequence followed McQueen chasing down two hitmen in his Mustang through the streets of San Francisco.

The Original

Original 1968 Mustang ‘559 from movie Bullitt. Courtesy of HVA, Casey Maxon (PRNewsfoto/Historic Vehicle Association)

Two identical 1968 Mustang GT fastbacks were used in the filming of the classic Warner Bros. movie “Bullitt” that debuted in theaters on Oct. 17, 1968. After filming, the cars went their separate ways: the hero vehicle driven by McQueen in the movie was sold by Warner Bros. to a private buyer, and the other – used in many of the jumps during the famous chase scene – was sent to a salvage yard. That jumper vehicle resurfaced in Baja, California, in early 2017, but the other was lost to history. Until now; Sean Kiernan, owner of the hero vehicle, inherited the car in 2014 from his late father, Robert, who had purchased the vehicle in 1974. To fulfill his family’s lifelong dream, Sean contacted Ford and the two parties worked together to reveal his movie star car alongside the all-new 2019 Mustang Bullitt at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. “You know, it was never our intention to keep this car a secret from everybody,” Sean said. “It just kind of happened with life. I’m just completely buzzing to join with Ford and the new Bullitt and show this car to the world on one of the biggest stages there is.”

Do we want one – Yep, we do!

As is often the case with these things, the reappearance of the Bullitt Mustang was no coincidence. Current owner Sean Kiernan explained to Jay Leno that he and Ford “found each other” and worked together to stage the car’s comeback. Kiernan’s father, Robert Kiernan Jr., bought the car in 1974 after seeing an ad in Road & Track for a “Bullett” Mustang. He was the only one who inquired, and got the car for $6,000. That was actually a lot of money for a used 1968 Mustang in 1974.

In 1977, McQueen wrote a letter to Robert Kiernan Jr., asking for the opportunity to “get back my ’68 Mustang.” As documented by classic-car insurer Hagerty, McQueen said he wanted to keep the car unrestored, as it had appeared in Bullitt, which he said was “simply personal.” But McQueen was only willing to go so far in getting the Mustang back. While he did offer to pay for a replacement car (the Kiernans were using the Bullitt Mustang as a daily driver), McQueen noted that he would do so as long as “there is not too much monies involved in it.”

The Bullitt Mustang was eventually retired from daily use and rolled into a garage. Meanwhile, the rest of the world assumed that it was simply lost. Spurred by Ford’s decision to launch special-edition Mustang Bullitts in 2001 and 2008, Sean Kiernan and his father intended to rebuild the car and share it with the public, but life got in the way. The senior Kiernan died in 2014, before the car was finished. Today, the Bullitt Mustang is in drivable condition, but remains unrestored. Note that this is one of two Mustangs used to film the movie. Coincidentally, the other car was found in Mexico last year. That car had been stripped of many parts and had some restoration work done, making it less original than Kiernan’s car. Kiernan has no plans to sell, but his Mustang is nonetheless incredibly valuable. Hagerty CEO McKeel Hagerty estimates the car could fetch around $4 million, noting that two other iconic television and movie cars, the original Batmobile and James Bond Aston Martin DB5, sold for similar amounts. There are also plans for a film on the Bullitt Mustang. This time, the car will probably be handled a bit more gingerly than the last time it was on-screen.

Do we want this car? Yep we need this car.

Sources – Fordonline and many others, Im ages are not our own.

WebShop

We promised last week that we would have an update on the delivery we have been waiting many months for now. It arrived as expected and took the day to move it all around. Adam has FOUR ’68 shells delivered to the yard. Couple full shells and a couple in parts. All of which are now stored in the own special location.

A couple of these have already earmarked for in-house projects and the others Adam bought for “something or other!” Now those that know Adam also know that he never actively sells a car, but if you offer him the right money he might consider it, as he can often be heard to say “It could be yours!” As for these body shells and kits? Who knows, like the second-hand parts – “nope, ‘aint got none of them either!”

Customers Cars:

Roy has his car with us now from the paint shop and Yogi has started the brand new wire loom fitting and putting some glass in. Once the glass is in the project starts to look like a car again.

Glass in the doors.

Headlights and new shiny fuel tank.

On top of that the engine has been worked on, new valves, seats and guides with all new engine internals. The heads have been skimmed and the block decked so this 351Windsor should be factory fresh too.

We finish with Yogi’s new sign:

Perhaps we should name all our storage areas!

8 thoughts on “Bullitt(s) Old & New

  1. Fantastic blog..the Bullitt part is really good – prefer the original car although I would’nt refuse the new version…it’d be rude eh!
    I reckon lots of people might think Mustang Maniac are just a small time parts dealer keeping plugs and filters while ordering the rest from the US as required. Just shows how wrong you can be – keep the surprises coming guys!

    Liked by 2 people

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