The Mustang in the 1968 movie “Bullitt” is possibly the most famous Mustang in the world.
Ford built a tribute car in its honor in 2001 and a special edition version for the 40th anniversary in 2008. This month Ford presented to the public – at the North American Auto Show in Detroit – the 50th anniversary Bullitt Mustang. But this event was upstaged by the original ’68 Mustang finally being revealed after missing for decades in the shadows.
The original Bullitt Mustang from the movie was sold to a Warner Bros. employee at the end of filming. The car passed through three owners and spent years as a driver in New Jersey.
The Robert Kiernan family wound up with the car and moved to Kentucky and then Tennessee, where the car languished for 38 years in disrepair.
Steve McQueen, who starred in the movie, contacted the family in an effort to purchase the car in 1977, but the patriarch refused all requests to sell the car or even have magazine articles written about it. He wanted the car kept in complete anonymity.
In 2016 his son, Sean Kiernan, inherited the car. He put back all the original pieces of the Mustang after having the engine rebuilt to running condition. He has no plans to sell it but is willing to share its history with the public.
He contacted Ford to help him reveal the car to the world several weeks ago, unaware of the planned announcement of a new special edition of the Bullitt Mustang.
The 2018 Bullitt is rumored to have a base price of $43,990 with premium and performance packages as options. The engine is a retuned version of the Coyote 5.0 V-8 rated at 475 horsepoer with a top speed of 163 mph. The car will go on sale this summer.
The ’68 Bullitt has been added to the National Historic Vehicle Register as part of the Library of Congress’s documenting significant cars in American history, a fitting tribute to McQueen’s cultural treasure.
Until next time, happy cruising!