DETROIT – The Mustang Bullitt is back, in more ways than one.
At the Detroit Auto Show on Sunday, Ford introduced a new Mustang inspired by the one that Steve McQueen drove in the 1968 thriller “Bullitt,” which made a surprise appearance on stage alongside it.
It’s just the third time Ford has offered such a tribute car, following efforts in 2001 and the 2008-2009 model years. The 2018 version is based on the Mustang GT Premium. It sports Highland Green paint, dark five spoke wheels with chrome rims around the edge and a crosshair-style Bullitt badge on the trunk lid. All other logos have been removed, including the pony on the grille, to give it the same understated look as Frank Bullitt’s car. If for some reason you don’t want a green one, it’s also available in black.
The new Bullitt also comes standard with Recaro seats and the GT’s performance package – with upgraded suspension, brakes and tires – plus a new intake and exhaust systems that bumps the 5.0-liter V8’s power up to 475 hp while giving the Bullitt a sound all its own. A six-speed manual topped by a cue ball shifter is the only transmission available.
Prior to the show, the original had been out of the public eye for decades. It was purchased from a classified ad in Road and Track in 1974 by Robert Kiernan, who put 50,000 miles on it as a daily driver before parking it with plans to fix it up that never came to fruition before he died in 2014. His son Sean finally got it running not long ago and reached out to Ford about sharing it to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the film. A second Mustang used that was used as a stunt car during shooting was discovered in a junkyard in Mexico just last fall, but didn’t make the trip to Detroit.
Kiernan says he’ll never sell his car, even though it’s practically priceless. Technically, so is the new one because hasn’t yet said how much it will cost when it goes on sale this summer to kick off just a two-year model run.