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Iconic 1968 Mustang driven by Steve McQueen in ‘Bullitt’ reportedly has been found and restored

Goran Blazeski

“Whatever you have heard about the auto chase scene in Bullitt is probably true…a terrifying, deafening shocker.” This extract from  National Observer ‘s review comments the premiere of the iconic action movie Bullitt, starring Steve McQueen.

No introduction is needed for the legendary Steve McQueen, known as “The King of Cool,” who plays a San Francisco cop assigned as a bodyguard to a syndicate witness in the movie. However, he was not the only star of the 1968 film. The dark green Mustang GT Fastback takes all the credits for making this film legendary.

It is said that the chase scene in Bullitt has contributed to film history and is considered by many to be “the granddaddy of car pursuit movies.” As Roger Ebert wrote in his review, “Bullitt, as everybody has heard by now, also includes a brilliant chase scene. McQueen (doing his driving) is chased by, and chases, a couple of gangsters up and down San Francisco’s hills. They slam into intersections, bounce halfway down the next hill, scrape by half a dozen near-misses, sideswipe each other, and leave your stomach somewhere in the basement for about 11 minutes.”

Unfortunately, shortly after the filming, the iconic dark green Mustang GT Fastback went missing, and it hasn’t been seen in nearly half a century. McQueen tried to locate and buy the car on several occasions before he died, but he failed to find it.

Photo of Steve McQueen as Josh Randall from an episode of the television program Wanted:Dead or Alive dated August 21, 1959.
Photo of Steve McQueen as Josh Randall from an episode of the television program Wanted:Dead or Alive dated August 21, 1959.

Two identical cars were used during the film – one of the cars was kept brand new, and the other car was utilized for the filming of the iconic chase scene. The first one was preserved and sold several times and supposedly today is in Kentucky.

The stunt car was beaten up so badly by the end of production that it was sent to the wrecking yard, reported Fox News Auto.

However, a Southern California shop owner claims that the legendary Mustang which was used in the chase scene in Bullitt was located recently in a scrapyard in Mexico’s Baja region.

The shop owner Ralph Garcia Jr., who has made a career building replicas of the “Eleanor” Mustang which featured in the Nicolas Cage’s movie Gone in 60 Seconds, told the L.A. Times that he was contacted by an associate in Mexico who found a clean ’68 Mustang fastback which he thought would be a good candidate for “Eleanorization”.

Bulitt Photo Credit
Bulitt Photo Credit

“I was going to turn it into another ‘Eleanor’ car, but my partner Googled the VIN,” Garcia told the L.A. Times. “That’s how he found out that it was the ‘Bullitt’ car. He said, ‘You mustn’t touch it!’ ”

Read another story from us: Classic cars that are skyrocketing in value

Car historian and former Petersen Automotive Museum consultant, Ken Gross, who called the car “the Holy Grail of the Mustang car crowd,” has estimated that the car might worth $1 million at auction- if it is not proved inauthentic.

Goran Blazeski

Goran Blazeski is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News