The Original Car From ‘Bullitt,’ Long Thought Lost, Is Up For Auction
There are a few contenders for the most famous car in movie history. James Bond’s Aston Martin. His Lotus that turned into a submarine.The Batmobile, certainly. And then there’s Steve McQueen’s dark green Mustang from Bullitt. That 1968 cop thriller, directed by Peter Yates, contains one of the most famous and revered car chases of all time, with McQueen’s Ford at the center of it.
There were apparently two Mustangs featured in the film, one the “hero car” used for most of the chases and stunts and another mostly utilized for the interior shots. Both vanished into obscurity in the years after the film but now the famous Ford has been located and is coming up for auction by Mecum.
The whole saga is chronicled in a fascinating New York Times article. It turns out the hero Mustang has been sitting in a barn in Tennessee for decades. It was bought by a man named Bob Kiernan, who answered an ad in Road & Track offering the vehicle for sale in 1974. The price? A measly $3,500. (It’s expected to go for at least $3 million now.) McQueen contacted Kiernan in 1977, offering to buy the car from him. He ignored McQueen’s letter.
The wildest part of the story? Kiernan didn’t put the Bullitt Mustang on display in some home museum; he drove it regularly for years:
The Mustang, still with its handling and horsepower enhancements added for movie duty, lived on as a daily commuter for the Kiernan family until it succumbed to clutch issues in 1980. It has been barn-bound most of the time since then.
Can you imagine owning the Bullitt car and just ... driving it to work every day?
The auction for the car will be on January 10, and aired on NBCSN. If it’s been a while, here’s the famous Bullitt car chase.
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