Ask just about any Mustang enthusiasts what the “holy grail” of Mustangs is and the 1968 fastback driven by Steve McQueen in the movie “Bullitt” is going to be close to the top of the list. For a long time it was thought the original from the movie was lost forever, but it’s now been found and has taken its rightful place alongside a new 2019 Bullitt Mustang Ford that has just unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The new car isn’t just a current Mustang painted in Highland Green to pay homage to the movie original either. It’s actually been pretty well worked over to deliver more horsepower and a classic burbly exhaust note.
The engine in the 2019 Mustang Bullitt is Ford’s tried and tested 5.0-liter V-8, but this one will develop “at least” 475 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque. The car, due out this summer, also features a new air induction system Ford calls the Open Air Induction System, and the Bullitt also borrows the intake manifold and ECU from the Shelby GT350. Perhaps a little surprisingly, the car will be offered in Shadow Black as well as the classic Highland Green, although production of both will be limited.
It was thought for decades that the original Mustang from “Bullitt” was long gone, but it turns out it was just being kept out of the public gaze. After the filming concluded, two cars were sold off by Warner Brothers. One of them went to a private buyer and the other went to a salvage yard. The one sold to the salvage yard was severely battered and bruised through the filming of the movie, but the other was eventually located in a private collection in Baja California where it had been peacefully resting for almost four decades.
When the car’s owner, Robert Kiernan, passed away in 2014, his son Sean got in contact with Ford to let them know where the car was. It turns out McQueen tried on several occasions to buy the car from Robert Kiernan over the years, but was rebuffed at every attempt.
It seems Sean Kiernan doesn’t have plans to sell the car at the moment, but as Hagerty estimates the car’s value to be more than $4 million in the current market, it could be too tempting to resist.