Found: the real Bullitt Mustang that Steve McQueen tried (and failed) to buy


Great article and I’m glad that a car that means so much to us is going to be shared finally. And I get that he wants to keep it but this is now beyond keeping an old Mustang in your garage. It’s like placing a million + dollars out there and daring someone to not come get it. In this day and age where people break in for a TV this is crazy. And I get him wanting to keep it but if I had left my kids this car I’d be yelling for them to get rid of it now, after all this is life changing money not just a few bucks.


Personally, I always thought the chase scene from Bullitt was rather amateurish with the fast motion clips and the obviously dubbed in audio portions that it includes in multiple places…
I guess that was just the cinematography limits of the 60’s, but still, to me, it was just an “OK” chase.

I still love the cars that did the scene though and the Big Block Mustangs of '67 & '68 have ALWAYS been a dream of ownership for me. In fact, I still own an all original 1968 390-4bbl motor w/C6 auto tranny that have never been unmated and have only clocked @52,000 miles on the ODO, that I bought over 30 years ago in the hopes of finding a nice donor car to apply them to. A 67/68 fastback 'Stang would be awesome. Maybe a 69 or 70 Pony would be cool too… Maybe I’ll make my own “Bullitt”, minus the bondo. LoL…


Next up, Jim Morrison’s Shelby? I am glad an icon was found, whatever the route it took to seeing the light of day again.


How about the new Mustang Owner’s Museum being built in Charlotte N.C. They would more than happy to have it in their exhibit when it opens later this year.


Fantastic that the Bullitt whereabouts are now known! A true legend of a car.
Congratulations to Sean and his family and what tremendous devotion on the part of his father. A man after my own heart. He pursued and obtained the object of his passion and hung on to it because he truly loved it.
Sean and his family are going to be facing some very difficult decisions in the near future and will be confronted with tremendous pressures to give the car up. However, I don’t personally feel they have any obligation to return the car to Ford or the Mustang museum or anyone else for that matter. Not knowing their personal circumstances, I give him credit for having kept quiet about it for this long. Whatever they end up deciding, it SHOULD be their personal decision to make, regardless of what anyone else thinks they should do with it.


Darrel, seeing your post reminded me of watching this wonderful movie in SEATTLE as well. I was 21, my best pal Mike and I paid to watch Bullit several times in that same downtown theater. Within the year Mike purchased a Shelby GT 350 and we spent many hours recreating the chase scene in the Seattle area. I sincerely believe the movie influenced many guys to pursue their passion for “image” cars. People still call me when Bullit is on the TV. It never gets old. Slide rule technology has been replaced for everyone but us.


It’s Mr Kiernan’s car and his to do with as he pleases. I am just delighted that it’s now confirmed to be in somebody’s good care and in a safe place. Agree w some of the other readers though, this is a car that belongs in a museum somewhere; and I’d vote for the Ford museum in Dearborn.
A great article and well worth the read. Kudos.


I have my doubts that place will ever actually open.


The car did not have a limited-slip rear axle. It was a peg leg. Watch the movie where McQueen misses his turn, backs up and takes off. It’s very obvious in that scene.


Good eye. I’ve always how many have noticed that as well throughout the years.

Now there’s not one but two Bullitt Mustangs after all these years…wow. What are the odds, indeed?


Best lost car story I have ever read. Way to go Hagerty and everyone else involved in getting this story out to us enthusiasts.

I really struggled trying to decide what I would do if I were in Sean’s or his dad’s shoes. I won’t bore you with my own Mustang hand-me-down story, but it helped me to sympathize with those who felt that Robert and Sean were right in keeping the car all these years. However, my thoughts led me to a different conclusion than those above.

The car sitting in Sean’s garage is only famous for one reason. Steve McQueen. The metal is in the garage in Kentucky, but the ghost or soul in the car belongs to Steve’s son, not Robert’s.

If I were Sean, I would reach out to Chad McQueen to share together their father’s stories. I would hope that I would like Chad and come to the conclusion that he should be the next owner of the car, and I would give it to him in appreciation for his father’s gift to all of us Mustang and other car enthusiasts. I would also hope that Chad would agree to give Sean first right of refusal before selling the car or giving it to any museum.

Finally I hope that Sean and Chad together would agree to donate Steve and Roberts’s car to the public via a suitable museum.


I enjoyed the movie years ago. After recently visiting San Francisco I reviewed some clips which brought back memories. This story brought in a human element and some history for the car that made chase scenes famous. Thanks for a great article and a little nostalgia.


Great article! Glad to see that Bullitt is getting the proper recognition and care.
My 1967 Fastback made its film debut in the 2015 music video “Fast As I Go” by Megan Burtt.
Google “fast as I go teaser” to see a clip.
I figure, with its notoriety, my car just might be worth a small fortune some day, so if there are any interested speculators out there, please feel free to contact me with any 6 figure offers, but I’ll probably just tell you it’s not for sale … or maybe I won’t!:laughing:


The article says the car had a limited slip differential. I recall watching the movie the car did not appear to have limited slip differential. Just smoked one tire in most scenes. Always wondered why it didn’t have a limited slip or Detroit Locker.


Great reading. Big fan of the movie and the Bullitt mustang. If a new Bullitt movie is made I can only think of one actor the could play lieutenant Frank bullitt. Mark Wallburg.


Unfortunate that important parts were stolen, shift knob, steering wheel, which are of tremendous historical value because McQueen used them, his DNA is in them. There’s McQueen DNA in my family too, my sister-in-law is a McQueen and has the same feistiness and other character traits that Steve McQueen had. Bullitt was just a car until McQueen drove it. When he drove it, it became him.


I drove a red 1964 289 convertible in high school. It was my moms car. We loved cars and I drove that beauty like the Bullitt. I wrecked it a few times. Man that was a fun car. Didn’t handle so well, but fun anyway.
Loved reading this story. I kept one of my cars from my youth. 1973 Porsche 2.0 914. I’ve had it 40 years. It’s parked in the hanger. Nothing too special, but I love getting in it and taking her for a ride in the hills! Wish we had kept the Mustang:-(


I look at this car the same way I would any artifact in a museum. Let’s take King Tut’s golden face mask as an example. It’s not perfect as it once was when new, it’s got chunks of stuff missing from it. Should we display the mask as-is as say, “this is how it was found 3,000 whatever years after he used it”? Or, should we restore the mask, replace all the broken pieces with new pieces, and then display it saying, “this is somewhat the original mask but half of it is new now so we can see it as it used to be when new 3,000 years ago”? Which path “connects” the viewer better with the historical value of the object? Personally, I’d much rather seat a torn seat actually sat in by Steve McQueen, than a perfect seat that visually resembles something Steve McQueen touched but never did. Restoration=No historical connection.


I too would like to see the tail panel from the original movie car. That was one of the best features on the mustang making it different from the chrome moldings around the tail lights.


Once again it all about the money right? I have grown sick and tired of so called car enthusiasts who only give a damn about buying a car, putting it up on jacks and then hoping that they can stick a fat hog when they flip the car. They do not enjoy or appreciate the car by driving it or working on it, That is their perogative, but these are the clowns, the speculators who have driven the price of cars up so high that a lot of average cars like Boss 302’ or 429’s cannot be purchased by average gear heads. I understand cars like Bugattis or Delahayes or Duesenbergs commanding high prices. They are rare due to their limited production , they were expensive when new, and those cars are a piece of art