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The McQueen Factor

By Alex Inwood, 05 Apr 2013 Features

Steve McQueen, Bullitt, anniversary, Baja Boot, fastest, production, car, Bugatti, Veyron, top speed, 400km/h

It’s a cult movie scene burnt onto the retinas of car fans worldwide.<

It’s a cult movie scene burnt onto the retinas of car fans worldwide.

Steve McQueen, at the wheel of a Ford Mustang GT 390, flying over the hills of San Fransico, chasing baddies in a black Dodge Charger.

The scene of course, comes from the iconic film Bullitt – which turns 45 this year.

So to celebrate, we thought we’d remind you of the time McQueen got air in a very different kind of animal – the ‘Baja Boot’.

Built in secret for McQueen by one of GM’s top engineers, the Baja Boot was a bespoke, ‘go anywhere’ machine that saw the movie star contest the gruelling Baha 1000 – a 1600km trek across Mexico’s Baja California Penusula.

Packing a 335kW V8, the Baja used a custom space-frame chassis and a ‘unique’ four-wheel-drive system – something that caught McQueen’s imagination.

“I’ve lined me up a sweet machine for this one called the ‘Baja Boo,” he told the media at the time. “Chevy powered. Four hundred and fifty horses under the bonnet. Space frame construction. Four-wheel drive. Independent suspension. And ‘smooth’! I can notch close to a hundred over a sand wash and you better believe that’s moving.”

Sadly, transmission failure saw McQueen retire after just 237 of the Baja’s 1000 miles, but still, it’s a machine worth remembering.