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Steve McQueen piloted it in the movie “Bullitt,” and for the next 50 years, it was mostly a ghost. Now it’s heading to auction, and the speedy dark-green 1968 Ford Mustang fastback is expected to break records when it crosses the block next week at a Mecum event in Florida.

Bravely, its owner is offering the rusty, dented, largely unrestored car “without reserve,” which means it will sell to the highest bidder — however low that bid is.

The seller, Sean Kiernan, a Tennessee horse farm owner, says he is not worried that the bid will be too low. He figures the price could approach $5 million. Certainly, he adds, the car will sell for more than the $3,500 his father, Bob, paid for it in 1974.

It took only 10 minutes of screen time — the length of Hollywood’s most acclaimed movie car chase — for the Mustang (official color: Highland Green) to achieve immortality. McQueen himself raced it through the streets of San Francisco in pursuit of ill-fated evildoers in a black 1968 Dodge Charger.


But despite all of this—and co-stars Robert Vaughn, Robert Duvall, and Jacqueline BissetBullitt is recalled today mainly for its car chase, a 10-minute masterpiece shot in and around San Francisco, and completed in a souped-up, Highland Green, 1968 Ford Mustang fastback (and a 1968 Dodge Charger). The scene helped the movie win the Oscar that year for film editing. Full-size replicas and best-selling toys were made of the car, and are still made today. So long is its shadow that Ford has even produced limited-edition versions of the Mustang as recently as 2009.

“I feel like with Bullitt, the car chase is synonymous with the movie,” said Molly McQueen, Steve McQueen’s 30-year-old granddaughter. “So, while there is a story that holds up, it kind of falls by the wayside because the movie is all about the car chase.”

Two different, specially prepared Mustangs were used in filming. One was the “hero car” driven by McQueen throughout the film. The other was used mainly for the hardcore sections of the chase and jump scenes. Both were thought to be lost to the crusher, but the jump car was discovered in the spring of 2017 in a junkyard in Mexico. Now, the car driven by McQueen has also been found, and it was just unveiled Sunday in Detroit, along with a new 2018 Bullitt-edition Mustang, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the movie.

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