Why it’s hard to determine how much the Bullitt Mustang is worth


How do put a value on a car that’s more than a car? With the recent unveiling of the 1968 Mustang fastback driven by Steve McQueen in Bullitt, the conversation quickly moves to how much it’s worth. Sorry, we don’t have a final answer here. The wild cards of a long-lost car found combined with the McQueen connection makes the value hard to determine. We do, however, have enough information to help you make your own guess.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/01/16/bullitt-mustang-worth


First of all my son ( who owns a film and television production company ) and I went over to the Detroit Auto show yesterday to see the car on display, before we went we watched the entire Bullit movie in his home theater as a warm up. You see I was a teenager when the movie first came out, I remember the posters and the references to the Cobra Jet Mustang vs the Hemi Charger…And of course if you have watched the movie, the cars have very little reference to this other than the RT emblems on the Charger, which was always a mystery to me as to why they dressed the cars down for the film. As a teenager , seeing this movie on the big screen for the first time left quite an impression, not only the cars but also Steve McQueen who was 38 at the time of the movie, he was one cool cop, he had a cool car, a cool girlfriend, he had it all. It was actually quite cool and memorable to see the real car yesterday, I love the story of how the car has come out of hiding after all these years, but I believe the fact that the car is out of hiding could create a dilemma for the owner Sean Kiernan, what to do with the car? It is easy to throw a value figure out there of 4 million but now what is the cost of the insurance every year to protect this investment piece, I am guessing based upon my cars with Hagerty this could be around 40k per year. I’m not sure what exactly Sean does for a living, there was reference to sales of some sort, but there is a big cost associated with storing and maintaining the car as it is, so it does not deteriorate further. I am hopeful he was able to negotiate a fair deal with Fords for using the car in their display. So right now we say it’s worth 4 million but who can actually determine that unless the car goes to auction to prove it, it could be worth a lot more than that, remember Paul Newman’s Rolex sale at 17.8 mil. We also have to keep in mind that a lot of younger people have not seen this movie or other McQueen movies, so the value is being determined by our age group the baby boomers and the next older group. My son fell in love with this movie because he fell in love with film, and dad saw this movie when it first came out, so he thought that was really cool. We can all guess at the car’s value but it’s true worth will only be determined if it’s sold. Sean has a hard decision to make, his dad did not sell the car back to Steve McQueen for a “fair” price but now we are talking about money that could set you up for a nice retirement and maybe more. Unless Sean can promote the car and get paid decent money to show the car, I’m not convinced someone won’t talk him into selling it at auction with a nice reserve. When it sells, the car’s true value will be determined at least until the car is sold again, and then the value will change again. After seeing what a 1965 Corvette GM display ( a non driveable car ) sold for this past Saturday at Barrett Jackson Scottsdale for 1.1 mil, I think the McQueen car is worth North of 4 mil to the right collector. Just as an added note if I owned the car I would keep it roadworthy and take it out for an ice cream once in awhile, I love my cars but I don’t just look at them, I drive them… Bob Krug, Windsor, Ontario, Canada


It was a Mustang GT(390) and Charger R/T-440, never any mention of CJ Mustang or Hemi Charger with regards to the movie. (yeah, I was around then too.)


Yes, I’m not arguing about what the cars actually were, I know the mustang(s) used was a 390 and the charger was a 440. What I remember seeing in 1968 was a poster or advertisement for the movie “somewhere” over here in Canada that talked about the 68 Mustang Cobra Jet vs The 68 Hemi Charger. That is what I remember before I went to see the movie . I was fortunate enough to own a 1969 Fairlane Cobra when I was 18, and then restored a 1968 Torino 390 car when I was 45, I upgraded it to a 428 CJ with motor build assistance from Barrie Poole, the Border Bandit. I sold the 68 Torino 18 years ago, and I know it is still around, it went through Barrett Jackson for the second time last year, it still looks pretty good. So to ask the question to the porscheman: what do YOU think the Bullit car is worth? Thanks, Bob Krug


The Mustang was listed for sale in the Los Angeles Times around 1970. I called the seller, who ironically was named Shelby. We made plans for me to see the car. I had cash in hand $2500, ready to buy, didn’t even think about bargaining.She called me back and said it was sold.

Then the car disappeared until now. People speculated where it was but no one knew.

I’ll never know for sure if she was selling the real car, but it’s a great story I get to tell. I have a car buddy who was actually there when they filmed the chase scene. He was 16-17. His story is even better.