It wasn’t pure serendipity that the 1968 Bullitt Mustang driven by Steve McQueen in the movie “Bullitt” surfaced just about the same time Ford was preparing to unveil the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week. According to a story on the Hagerty Insurance website, despite a degree of confusion and repeated setbacks, several parties had been working to bring the Bullitt Mustang out of obscurity after nearly four decades.
Two dark highland green 1968 Mustang GT fastbacks were used in the 1968 movie “Bullitt.” One had a roll cage and was severely modified as the stunt car used in the movie’s famous 10-minute car chase. The other, known as the hero vehicle, was not nearly as modified and was the one driven by McQueen in the movie. After shooting wrapped, the heavily modified car went to a salvage yard for crushing, and the hero vehicle was sold to a private party.
The hero vehicle changed hands a couple of times before being purchased by Robert Kiernan of Madison, New Jersey in 1974. It has been under wraps in the Kiernan family ever since, finally winding up in the garage of Sean Kiernan, Bob’s son. It was upon hearing a year or so ago that Ford was going to pull the wraps off a 2019 version of the Mustang Bullitt in Detroit that he reached out to Ford. And the rest is history.
In the meantime, what’s left of the stunt Bullitt car, thought to have been crushed, was discovered in a Mexican junkyard in the fall of 2017. Now that probably is pure serendipity.
A 40-plus-year mystery solved.