For decades, nobody knew where to find the original 1968 Ford Mustang GT from the groundbreaking action movie “Bullitt.” That’s not a problem anymore. In April the rediscovered Mustang GT went on display at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where it was seen up close by its adoring public in a specially lit glass garage. The exhibition was part of the Historic Vehicle Association’s Cars in the Capital celebration, which also featured the 15 millionth Ford Model T to come off the assembly line.
“To see the Bullitt under glass within steps of the Smithsonian museums, the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument is a fitting tribute to automobiles that have transcended utility to become truly iconic examples of America’s culture,” said Ford Mustang Chief Engineer Carl Widmann.
The 1968 movie “Bullitt,” which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is arguably best known for its gripping 10-minute car chase scene through the steep streets of San Francisco. Two Ford Mustang GTs were used to shoot this sequence. The one on display on the National Mall is the hero car that was driven by “Bullitt” star and film icon Steve McQueen, while the other was used to film stunts and jumps.
After the movie was filmed, the jumper GT was sent to a salvage yard and was thought lost before reappearing in early 2017. The Mustang GT driven by McQueen was sold by the studio and disappeared from sight for decades. A few years ago, the owner of the original Mustang GT got in touch with Ford about possibly authenticating and restoring the car. Verifying its authenticity with the Historic Vehicle Association was easy, as the vehicle was still outfitted with welded camera mounts, a studio parking sticker and other relics from the movie shoot.
For car enthusiasts who aren’t satisfied with just seeing the “Bullitt” vehicle, Ford also introduced the limited-edition 50th anniversary Mustang Bullitt earlier this year. This Mustang is available in the original Dark Highland Green color seen in the movie and features an upgraded 5.0-liter V8 engine that produces 475 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque.
This article is presented by Jack Demmer Ford in Wayne, Michigan.