Four decades after the original Bullitt made its appearance on the silver screen, the Ford Mustang Bullitt will return to the streets in 2008. On sale in January, the new Bullitt stands to gain notoriety among enthusiasts and club members who keep the spirit of the car alive and well.
The Shot Heard ‘Round the Mustang World
The 2008 Bullitt Mustang marks the second tribute to the iconic 1968 Bullitt Mustang. Ford launched a specially modified Mustang GT in 2001 after receiving overwhelming positive response from consumers who saw the concept version at the 2000 Los Angeles International Auto Show.
The car is as popular today as it was at its introduction in 2001. More than 3,000 Bullitt Club members link up on the forum pages of the International Mustang Bullitt Owner’s Club web site (www.imboc.com). The site’s registry lists 2,428 Bullitt Mustangs and represents owners from all 50 United States and several other countries.
Bullitt owners are loyal, many having gone as far as having Bullitt tattooed somewhere on their bodies. Club members are like a family, answering the call when one of their own runs into trouble. When one member’s car broke down on the way back from the 2006 Nationals, for instance, “Bullittheads” made calls and pulled strings and had the car repaired for free and returned to the young serviceman’s family while he was serving his country in Japan.
Mike Affourtit, IMBOC co-founder and webmaster, is a long-time Mustang enthusiast and was drawn to the 2001 Mustang Bullitt because of the connection the car had with the movie Bullitt.
“It was the whole Steve McQueen vibe,” said Affourtit. “As soon as people saw the car, they fell in love with it. It offered an instant connection with the movie car and the movie chase scene. That Bullitt is the epitome of muscle cars and especially Mustangs.”
The Mystery Behind the Original Bullitt Mustang
Two 1968 Mustang GTs with 390 cu.-in. engines were purchased for the making of the movie. Both vehicles were modified for on-screen duty with making modifications to the engines and suspensions and camera mounts welded in to facilitate in-car photography.
One of the two was equipped with a roll cage. This was the car seen jumping the hilly streets of San Francisco and being used as a battering ram to force the bad guys’ Charger off the road and into a gas station moments before it explodes in a massive ball of flame.
At the end of filming, the bashed and battered Mustang was sent to the salvage yard to be crushed.
The history of the second movie car is chronicled in an article written by automotive journalist and Mustang expert Brad Bowling. It can be found on his website: www.bradbowling.com.
Ultimately, the remaining car was sold to an MGM employee and changed hands several times until 1972. The car’s current owner bought it under the stipulation that his name remained anonymous.
The mysterious owner, now a successful businessman, has turned down numerous offers to sell the car or to loan it out for display at commemorative events. McQueen himself tried to buy the Mustang from him in 1977, but the owner turned him down. He did tell McQueen that if he ever did decide to sell, McQueen would get first dibs. McQueen died in 1980.
Bullitt will scream into dealers in January. With a starting price at just under $31,000 and limited production of 7,700 units for the United States and Canada, McQueen wannabes will need to grab their tweed jackets and hop in line.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With about 260,000 employees and about 100 plants worldwide, the company’s core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.fordvehicles.com.
TM & (c) Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (s07)