Hagerty.com

Bullitt sells for $3.74M, topping all-time Mustang record

Sean Kiernan drove his father’s Mustang for probably the final time today. He shepherded the Highland Green 1968 pony car right up onto the auction block and into the history books. Yes, the original, real-deal hero car from the film Bullitt, starring the inimitable Steve McQueen, just sold at Mecum’s Kissimmee, Florida, auction for $3.74 million.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2020/01/10/bullitt-sells-for-3-74m-topping-all-time-mustang-record

Neat that they started the auction at $3500.

Real test of the value is the next 2-3 times it sells?

I would love it if the new owner drove it as is (fix brakes, etc. if you have to). Imagine seeing the thing in the wild? That’s how you become the next part of the story (if I could spend almost 4mil on a car you bet I would be driving it… I want to use it, not worry about value after me)

WOW! There’s some SERIOUS money laundering going on THERE!

Thank you to Sean Kiernan and his family for being such great caretakers of the Bullitt!

The very coolest thing about this cars story is the simple fact that the guys wife actually drove the “Bullet” Mustang to work as a TEACHER for quite some time, very few teachers could ever even begin to be that lucky; especially on what their salary was, I should know I taught for a few years a long time ago and the student parking lots were always significantly filled with far better rides that the teachers lot was. The sound of that exhaust is just fantastic, how cool to think of a teacher firing it up to drive home from school each day, just to cool!!

@Colin Comer

If it rolled right out of the garage in Tennessee and went straight to the block, would it have brought more?

A lot of people would say yes.
That means that a lot of people would say no!

Sean Kiernan said, “It’ll be hard looking in the garage and seeing an empty space, but this is a way for my dad to take care of his family. With Bullitt, we’ve been able to tell my dad’s story and share the car with the world*.

This is what Sean thought was important about selling it and how the sale was handled!

I don’t think a couple hundred grand would change his feelings.

And besides, the sale price should be more than enough to take care of his family for years to come, maybe into the next generation!

Silly!
Not only are these poor driving cars with minimal HP and zero handling but “Bullitt” did not compare to REAL car chase movies with studly rides like “Gone in 60 seconds” THE ORIGINAL, not the pathetic sequel …
OR “Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry”
Someone with too much money have a “Trailer Queen Beater”

The Bullitt did not sell for $3.74MM. As you called out in the body of this article, $3.4MM was the highest the undisclosed bidder was willing to pay for the car. The $374,000 difference was what the buyer had to pay to Mecum.

Its disappointing to see Hagerty use a distorted headline like that. Its bad form.

Hagerty and the traditional collector car auctions do the hobby a disservice by not reporting the true hammer price. It only serves uninformed car owners to think their car is worth ten percent more than it really is and only helps to pad Hagerty’s insurance premiums as well as the auction houses coffers.

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Grow up jwhayton! That was a realistic chase scene. They use a lot of CGI now. Where have you been dude. The movies your talking about aren’t real chase scenes numb nuts.

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I’ve seen other things report top bid + commission as well. It is the total cost… same as if it private sold I suppose the assumption is it would have taken more than that hammer to get it privately.

I’d rather be told the commissions/costs since not all auctions or services may want the same cut. Not like the Bullitt sale realistically impacts the price of normal Mustangs anyways.

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The two movies jwhayton was talking about were made long before CGI.

The original Gone in 60 Seconds was arguably/allegedly illegally filmed on the live streets… the crash damage is real and some of it was unscripted. Halicki was a crazy genius. There have been better produced, edited and special effected car chase scenes —but not many can claim to be as real as the original Eleanor on the run sequence.

The Nick Cage Gone in 60 --we don’t need to talk about that.

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@rsam1013 - Thanks for the message. There is reasoning behind the reported number. We report the total amount the buyer had to pay in order to take the car home, which includes the buyers premium paid to the auction house. To only state the hammer price would be misleading since that number is not the all-in cost required to take the car home.

As you noted, we did clarify in the body of the article how that total number broke down.

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Hmmm, never thought of that. But makes sense.

@dasm and @rsam1013 - Remember, if they over-insure a car and then the owners does something dumb and totals it, they have to pay the amount it was insured for. That is what an insurance contract states. The measly additional money they get from over-insuring cars walks right out the door when the claims start to come in.

Why would they ever want to set themselves up as the ONLY way for the owner to get what they think the car is worth. Think about it, owner insures their rusty '67 Camaro with a straight-six for $100,000 because “one just like it went for $90k on the teevee, 'cept it was a different color, and a different engine, and the family of mice had been evicted.”

Now that person wants to sell their not-COPO. They could put it for sale and take the $15k the car is actually worth, or commit insurance fraud and get $100,000. Even if it was obvious fraud, Hagerty would still have to spend time investigating($$) and paying lawyers($$$$) to fight the case and not pay the $100k. lose/lose.

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@Kyle,

Here’s my litmus test: Hypothetically, if you were the winning bidder on the Bullitt and decided to register the car, what price would you report to your local DMV to register and pay sales tax on it?

By including the “all-in cost” in every car Hagerty uses in its analytics model, the Hagerty Valuation Tool artificially inflates the value of collector cars when a private sale between a buyer and seller would not incur seller’s and buyer’s premiums.

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Many people make ‘clones’ of it… exact spec. including the rust. What they don’t know is that there was 2 more ‘Bullitt’ Mustangs beside this one built for the movie. It’s not just the only car. (sorry) One was found in a junk yard in Mexico last year and one is in a private collection in Germany. So the stupid buyer did not buy the ‘only’ one! oops!

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@rsam1013 - You are correct, a private sale would not have those fees. To protect from being affected by auction fees, the Hagerty Valuation Tool includes multiple sources, not just auction data. Members can choose to share purchase and sold price with Hagerty when adding or removing a vehicle from an insurance policy, which combines with other sources like dealer commentary to create a strong reference without depending on just one side of the market.

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Well I was shocked. A rusty Mustang movie car sold for that number. Wow. I’ve devoted the majority of my professional life to collector and specialty cars. Were I to be of the means times 10 to spend that
I still wouldn’t. Were I to advise a pricipal with genuine interest in acquiring something like this, I’d say no practically and leave the choice to personal desire or emotion. Impossible to say with any degree of certainty, but if the iconic Steve were still with us I’d bet a coffee and donut he’d have never paid that. Somebody is happy now and has the “biggest one” for the next year. Sour grapes? No way, it’s a Highland Green Mustang movie car, period. I’d rather have the Aston Martin from Goldfinger. I can build a “Bullitt” tomorrow.

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Well the good news is, the former owner was lamenting about seeing the empty space in his garage BUT for less than 5% of what he received he could buy a clone of that 68 with all modern tech, better metal and better performance and far better looking than the POS that landed on the auction block.

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Clearly, whoever bought the car is dripping with money and won’t rationalize the purchase the way that most people would.
I wonder what it’s like to have so much money that you can buy a rusty old movie car and not give a damn how much it’ll fetch when you decide to sell it?
I’ll bet the buyer still has lots of money to buy something else for $3.4M, so they never asked themselves the question, “I wonder what else I could buy for $3.4M instead?”
Huh.

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