FORD MUSTANG BULLITT CONCEPT
Dark Highland green with dark charcoal leather trimmed interior
When it comes to film car chases Lt. Frank Bullitt's charge through the streets of San Francisco in Warner Bros. Pictures' 1968 film "Bullitt" set a standard that continues to challenge producers, directors and stunt coordinators to this day. Lt. Frank Bullitt was played by Steve McQueen, who actually could drive a car - fast - which endeared the Bullitt chase to car enthusiasts. His ride, a 1968 Mustang GT Fastback, was as perfect for its part as Steve McQueen was for Frank Bullitt. It looked good, it sounded good and it went like...well, it went fast and its image is an instant flashback for every fan of fast street cars. There is no substitute for the real thing, whether it is an actor who knows how to drive, a chase scene created in real time, or a fast car doing what it does best like Frank Bullitt's Mustang GT.
Based on a production 2000 Ford Mustang, Ford created the Mustang Bullitt prototype and unveiled it in Hollywood at the 2000 Los Angeles International Auto Show, a concept unabashedly inspired by the movie. Not surprisingly, the Mustang Bullitt was greeted enthusiastically and the prototype translated quickly into production for the 2001 model year, a muscular rendition of Ford's Mustang GT with special equipment that carried through on the prototype's exterior identification, interior interpretation and performance intent.
The Mustang Bullitt prototype incorporates modified C-pillars and quarter panel moldings to suggest the fastback looks of Frank Bullitt's '68 Mustang. Exterior side scoops in the rear fenders also recall the '68 Mustang GT. The Mustang Bullitt prototype's stance is lowered ¾" and enhanced by body-color rocker panel moldings. Aggressive 18" 5-spoke alloy wheels that look like the American mags of the period wear low profile 275ZR-18 tires. 4-piston Brembo front brakes with 13" rotors and red pony calipers are visible through the wheel spokes. An aircraft-style brushed aluminum fuel filler cap graces the rear fender. The prototype's paint is a faithful rendition of 1968's metallic Dark Highland Green.
Inside, the Mustang Bullitt prototype's theme continues with Dark Charcoal leather seats and interior trim, a brushed aluminum shift boot trim ring and stark and practical black-faced gauges with plain white graduations. The prototype's nostalgia is tempered by modern touches like the carbon-fiber look shift knob instead of the brushed aluminum shift lever ball that in 1968 almost instantly replaced the white plastic cue ball knob that came from the factory. The driver's office look is enhanced by a modern and seriously functional steering wheel featuring three broad aluminum spokes and a leather-covered rim and by generously bolstered performance seats.
Steve McQueen would have felt at home in the left front seat of the 2000 Mustang Bullitt prototype. It has just enough period feel, and all the right present day go-fast features.
Two 1968 Mustang GTs were prepared for the movie by legendary California specials builder Max Balchowsky. One was ruined in the spectacular jumps that marked the movie chase scene's signature run down San Francisco's steep hills and was destroyed by the studio. The other has disappeared into the hoard of an anonymous collector who has, for twenty-five years, steadily resisted attempts to buy, or even see, the car. Even Steve McQueen himself is said to have been rebuffed.
The 2000 Mustang Bullitt prototype is an important milestone in Mustang history. It presaged the 5,400 unit limited production 2001 Mustang Bullitt GT, celebrated one of the greatest movie cars in cinema history, and suitably acknowledged the memory of Steve McQueen, a legendary actor, driver and car guy. The elusive remaining 1968 "Bullitt" movie Mustang may never come out of its Ohio barn, but the 2000 Mustang Bullitt prototype is alive and well, unique and shiny.