It’s a fascinating story, and one that’s baffled many throughout the years – what happened to the two original Ford Mustangs GT Fastbacks used in the filming of Steve McQueen’s 1968 film, BULLITT? Many thought that at least one of them met with the crusher, and the fate of the other was more murky, with many claiming to have had it over the years. But in 2017, the truth was revealed that both still existed, but the most iconic of the two was the hero car, and now it’s back. To help launch the 2019 Ford Mustang BULLITT, the original car was brought together with it’s modern counterpart, but there’s a hell of a story about to be told…
The Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) announced this week that the 1968 Mustang Fastback, serial #8R02S125559 from the movie Bullitt (1968) was recorded as the twenty-first automobile on the National Historic Vehicle Register.
This program is a partnership between the HVA and U.S. Department of the Interior, Historic American Engineering Record and the archives of the Library of Congress. Sean Kiernan of Nashville, Tennessee is the owner of the “Bullitt” car. It was revealed to the public along with the new Ford Mustang Bullitt at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the iconic movie.
The Real Deal
The movie Bullitt was the first film produced for Warner Brothers by Steve McQueen’s Solar Productions. Actor Steve McQueen, known for his love of motorcycles and fast cars, was hell-bent on bringing real action to the screen. He and Director Peter Yates succeeded with a visceral cop action flick set in San Francisco. The action was all real in Bullitt. Real speeds, real streets, with real crashes caught on film. The Kiernan’s ‘559 Mustang was the “hero car” used for many of McQueen’s close-up scenes. A second car (serial #8R02S125558) ‘558 Mustang was the “jump car” and was modified for many of the film’s stunt scenes.
The eleven-minute chase scene was the film’s core and forever changed Hollywood filmmaking.
National Historic Vehicle Register
“The 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback (“Bullitt”) is associated with one of the most epic stars in film history and an automotive chase scene that helped propel McQueen to perpetual stardom. This was the moment when McQueen became “the king of cool.” It was the first movie he created on his own and had all the signature qualities for which he aspired. He played an understated cop, fighting the good fight, against all odds. What he needed was a car to complete his image to enhance his persona. The 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback was just that car,” said Mark Gessler, President of the Historic Vehicle Association.
“From our vantage point it is among the most important automotive artifacts of the twentieth century. It has the incredible combination of Hollywood royalty and decades of an honest family’s ownership and the secret that engulfed its mystery. As it is revealed today, it marks a moment on this 50th anniversary for America to look back at a time when McQueen and a 1968 Mustang Fastback could captivate popular culture.”
The HVA’s historic documentation program of the 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback (“Bullitt”) has been underwritten in part through the generous support of Ford Motor Company, Hagerty, Shell, Pennzoil, LKQ Corporation, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, and The NB Center for American Automotive Heritage.
HVA Documentary and Tour
The HVA is producing a feature length documentary, entitled Little Pieces; The Untold Story of the Bullitt Mustang, about the ‘559 “Bullitt” Mustang to be released in 2018. The film will feature exclusive interviews with the Kiernan family, as well as many other people connected with “Bullitt,” in a definitive telling of the beloved car’s entire mysterious life.
A national tour of the ‘559 “Bullitt” Mustang is also being organized by the HVA and will be announced in the near future.
The all-new 2019 Ford Mustang BULLITT will be available in the summer of 2018…
Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the classic movie starring Steve McQueen and his 1968 dark green Mustang, the new 2019 Mustang BULLITT™ delivers a 5.0L V8 engine with a top speed of 163 mph and projected at least 475 hp. A Dark Highland Green exterior and unique front grille with subtle chrome accents provide a nod to the original and maintain the look that set the standard for cool. Each BULLITT™ comes standard with the GT Premium Content, as well as many of the performance features found in the GT Performance Package, the 12-inch digital instrument cluster with MyColor® and an active valve performance exhaust with a unique black NitroPlate™ finish.
Learn more: https://www.ford.com/cars/mustang/