when ford revealed a new bullitt mustang in the beginning of 2018, it shared the stage with something truly remarkable—one of the originals from the movie, thought to be lost to time. two mustangs were used in the filming of bullitt, and of the two, the one ford brought out was the more complete example. now, that car is headed to auction.
earlier this week, mecum announced that the bullitt mustang, a 1968 gt fastback painted highland green, will be the featured lot at its kissimmee, florida, auction next january. don't be surprised if it becomes the most expensive mustang ever sold. and you don't need to take our word for it. when road and track first wrote about this car's rediscovery last year, mustang legend kevin marti was quoted as saying, "i won’t be surprised if the kind of offer sean [kiernan, the owner] gets will be the highest ever offer for a mustang."
since our interview with marti, a 1967 shelby gt500 super snake sold for $2.2 million. it's easy to imagine this one selling for more. after all, it's arguably the most iconic mustang of them all, and it was driven by a legend in one of the greatest car-chase scenes in movie history.
the car was modified pretty extensively for the movie, with heavier-duty suspension hardware, some engine upgrades, and mounting points for cameras. after filming was complete, warner brothers repaired the car and sold it to a detective living on the east coast. the detective listed it in the october 1974 road & track classifieds (as the "bullett" mustang), and robert kiernan bought it for $6000, immediately putting it to use as a family car. mcqueen himself tried to buy the car back in 1977, but robert kiernan held on to it until his death in 2014, at which point it was passed on to his son, sean.
the younger kiernan told r&t last year that "the goal will always be to have it in my family . . . that's the goal. it always has been. it always will be." but things evidently have changed.
it's hard to blame him for wanting to sell. he even conceded to us that its value could "change lives." we've reached out to mecum to see if the auction house has a sale-price estimate, and we'll update if we hear back.
in other steve mcqueen car auction news, bonhams sold the actor's 1949 chevrolet pickup in monterey this week for $95,200, and the auction house also announced that the meyers manx dune buggy he drove in the thomas crown affair will be sold next march.
and if you think we're going to spend the next 10 minutes watching the bullitt chase scene, you're damn right we are. you should, too.