9 February 2019

Ford's Mustang Bullitt celebrates iconic movie

It is one of the most epic car chases in movie history, writes Trish Whelan. Almost 10 minutes long, the iconic sequence in the Warner Bros film ‘Bullitt’ follows actor Steve McQueen at the wheel of a 1968 Mustang GT fastback as he chases two hitmen through the streets of San Francisco.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the legendary film, the new special edition Ford Mustang Bullitt is now available in Ireland, powered by an enhanced version of Ford’s 5.0 V8 engine delivering a thumping 460hp and 529 Nm of torque.

This powerful and thirsty engine gulps 12.4 L/100km of fuel (that’s 22.78 mpg) and is matched to a six-speed manual transmission with seamless gear changes. The cute gear shifter features a white cue ball knob.

We got to drive a few laps in this very special car on the tight Mondello race track this past week, with a Mondello instructor, and experienced the enormous speed and torque it offers. Too much in fact for this tight track which was better suited to the Ford ST performance car that we also drove on the track. But it was an unforgettable experience for the sheer thrill of it all!

Offered with a choice of classic Dark Highland Green or Shadow Black exterior colours, the Mustang Bullitt features 19-inch Torq Thrust-style wheels, red Brembo brake callipers and a faux Bullitt fuel-filler cap.

The interior delivers Ford’s 12-inch all-digital LCD instrument cluster and offers Recaro sports seats. Interior seat-, centre console- and instrument panel-stitching reflects the exterior colour choice, and each Mustang Bullitt features an individually numbered plaque in place of the traditional Mustang emblem on the passenger-side dashboard. It also boasts, as standard, the Blue Oval’s new rev-matching technology and premium B&O Sound System that delivers 1000 watts through 12 high-performance speakers.

Ciaran McMahon, Chairman and MD of Ford Ireland with the Mustang Bullitt at Mondello.
“Nothing captured the spirit and excitement of Mustang quite like that amazing car chase in ‘Bullitt’ said Ciaran McMahon, Chairman and Managing Director of Ford Ireland. “This car packs a similar punch with more power, exciting new features, and - just like Steve McQueen - dripping with understated cool.”

But back to that famous movie and that spectacular car chase. Two identical 1968 Mustang GT fastbacks were used in the filming. Afterwards, both cars went their separate ways; the hero car driven by McQueen in the movie was sold by Warner Bros to a private buyer, and the other - used in many of the huge jumps during the 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 very recently.

Sean Kiernan, owner of the hero vehicle, inherited the car in 2014 from his late father, Robert, who had purchased it in 1974. To fulfill his family’s lifelong dream, Sean contacted Ford and the two parties worked together to reveal his movie star car firstly at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and later at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, alongside the new Ford Mustang Bullitt. 

Mustang Bullitt is priced from €73,092.