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Original ‘Bullitt’ Mustang resurfaces

By Chris Thompson, 15 Jan 2018 News

1968 bullitt mustang original resurfaced

As Ford reveals new Bullitt tribute, Steve McQueen’s on-screen partner comes out of hiding

With the announcement that a 2018 Mustang ‘Bullitt’ is on its way, it seems a fitting time for Ford to reveal that it’s also found the original Bullitt car.

The stunt car from the film was found in the US last year (though it had originally been sent to a salvage yard after filming), but the one driven by McQueen was believed to have been lost to history.

The Dark Highland Green 1968 Ford Mustang GT which starred alongside, and was driven by, Steve McQueen was sold to Warner Bros. employee Robert Ross. It was then bought from Ross by a detective in New Jersey, before the detective then sold it on to the Kiernan family, which has owned it since 1974.

The Kiernans used it as a family car for six years, during which time Steve McQueen had tracked the car down and offered to buy it back. The Kiernans declined.

Before the car was put away as a future restoration project, then owner Robert Kiernan was gifted ‘BULITT’ number plates for the car by his wife.

In 2001, Robert and his son Sean began restoring the car, only deciding to reveal it to the world at the 2018 Detroit Motor Show, 50 years after the car and the film were made. 

Now the owner of the car, Sean revealed the car to McQueen’s granddaughter, Molly McQueen, in a video released by Ford.

“It’s all original… there’s been about eight people since your grandfather that have sat in the car,” Kiernan tells McQueen.

He also points out the marks left by the makeshift redline on the tacho, as there wasn’t one on it and the car’s builder didn’t want McQueen to blow the engine. Kiernan says the car was never meant to be a secret, but kept it quiet once the plan came together to reveal it with the new Bullitt Mustang on the film’s 50th anniversary.

“You know, it was never our intention to keep this car a secret from everybody,” Kiernan says. “It just kind of happened with life.”

We don’t yet know whether any of the 2018 Bullitt Mustangs will head down under, but a few wouldn’t surprise us.