The Bullitt became a legend after appearing in Steve McQueen’s 1968 film Bullitt. Over 30 years later, Ford released
special-edition 2001 Mustang Bullitt GT as a throwback to the popular movie. Even though the Bullitt didn’t stick
for long, Ford resurrected the limited-edition Mustang in 2008 and 2019.
1968 Mustang Bullitt History
The original Bullitt Mustang gained fame after being featured in one of the greatest car chase scenes in cinematic
history. In Bullitt, Steve McQueen drove a 1968 Mustang GT 390 Fastback painted a signature Dark Highland Green.
Warner Brothers had bought the original Bullitt along with a second stunt car in March 1968. After the Bullitt’s
ride in the spotlight, it was fixed up in a Hollywood auto repair shop. It ended up with a Warner Brothers employee
before being sold to a detective that shipped it to the East Coast, putting it up for sale in 1974.
Bob Kiernan saw the ad in Road & Track and bought the famous Mustang, which only had 19,000 miles on it. Since movie
cars weren’t that popular at the time, Kiernan used it as a daily driver until 1980.
Despite offers over the years, Kiernan refused to sell (even to Steve McQueen). After Kiernan’s death, the Bullitt
passed down to his son Sean and the long-kept family secret was eventually unveiled to the world. The original
Mustang was finally listed for auction on January 10, 2020. It fetched a record-breaking $3.74 million, the highest
price tag of any Mustang ever sold.
But what about the other Mustang used in the film? The stunt version resurfaced in a Mexican junkyard in 2017,
one our favorite rare barn finds of all time.
1968 Mustang Bullitt Specs & Features
Both 1968 Mustang GT 390 Fastbacks had the GT equipment group with the extra cooling package and Dark Highland Green
paint. They featured Wide Oval white sidewall nylon tires, power disc brakes, and a heavy-duty battery.
The original interior had an AM radio, interior decor group with black vinyl luxury bucket seats, deluxe seat belts,
a remote control left-hand mirror.
Max Balchowsky, a stuntman and self-taught race car builder, modified the 1968 Fastbacks for the film. According to
National Historic Vehicle Register, Balchowksy added quite a few changes.
- 390 cubic-inch big-block V8 with milled heads (built by Balchowsky)
- Borg-Warner T-10 heavy-duty four-speed manual transmission
- Heavy-duty Borg-Warner clutch
- 4:10 Positraction rear end
- Heavy-duty universal joints
- 5-ton motor mounts
- Reinforced shock mounts
- Cross beam support bar
- Helwig stabilizers in the front and rear
- Koni shocks
- Heavy-duty coil springs
- Frame reinforcements
- American Racing Torq Thrust mag wheels
- Dunlop racing tires on the front and Firestone GP Indy Tires on the rear
- Custom exhaust
For the exterior, the badges were removed, and the fuel caps were painted black. The reverse light was removed as
The paint was scuffed to create a duller appearance.
2001 Mustang Bullitt
The 2001 Mustang Bullitt was Ford’s first attempt to commemorate the original from the film. It was based on a
well-loved concept released at the 2000 L.A. Auto Show. It had a 4.6L V8 engine with improved airflow and power.
Contributing to the added performance was a cast-aluminum intake, twin 57-mm throttle body, and high-flow mufflers.
It sported bigger Brembo disc brakes in the front and discs in the rear, both painted red. The brakes had a
ABS system, linked to all-speed traction control. Short-length subframe connectors and Tokico shocks that make this
Mustang easy to handle.
Both the exterior and interior were styled after the classic Bullitt, featuring unique wheels, special badging, and
brushed-aluminum gas door. In homage to McQueen’s character, this Bullitt was offered in the same Highland Green
along with True Blue and Black. Ford produced a total of 5,582 Bullitt models in 2001.
While the horsepower output was listed at 265 hp, some owners indicated their Bullitt provided horsepower in the
2001 Mustang Bullitt Specs
||2001 Mustang Bullitt GT
||Total produced (coupe only): 5,582
- Dark Highland Green: 3,041
- Black: 1,819
- True Blue: 722
||90-degree SOHC 16-valve 4.6L V8
||Tremec TR-3650 5-speed manual
||265 hp @ 5,000 RPM
||305 lbs.-ft. @ 4,000 RPM
||Modified MacPherson strut (Tokico), stabilizer bar, coil
springs, lowered 0.75 in.
||Solid axle, 4-link locating arms, coil springs, subframe
connectors, lowered 0.75 in.
||13.0 in. vented Brembo disc, PBR twin-piston caliper (painted
||11.65 in. vented disc, single-piston caliper
||17x8 five-spoke American Racing "Torque Thrust" forged
||245/45R17 BSW Goodyear Eagle
2008 and 2009 Mustang Bullitt
Ford resurrected the Bullitt once again in 2008 for the 40th anniversary of the film. This edition was highlighted
the inclusion of Torq Thrust-style wheels and the noticeable absence of the decklid spoiler and all badges. The
offered a fairly significant power upgrade over the 2001 version, and updated programming provided a power output of
The standard Mustang GT was able to go from 0-60 mph in about 5.3 seconds. The Bullitt’s 5-speed Tremec transmission
3.73:1 ratio live rear axle dropped that time to around 4.9 seconds. The 2008 Bullitt also featured an enhanced
suspension system for a smoother, more stable ride and increased handling capability.
As far as the interior, the Bullitt was equipped with a special package that included unique door sill designs, dash
gauges, and a steering wheel cap. Other notable interior features included an aluminum gear shift knob, dash panels,
pedals. The front seats were based on those found in the Mustang GT500. For the 2009 model, satellite radio and
ambient lighting became standard.
While there were just under 6,000 models produced for the 2008 model year, a few models carried over to the 2009
year. Production came in at 816, with 635 in Dark Highland Green and 181 in Black.
2008 & 2009 Mustang Bullitt Specs
||2008 & 2009 Mustang Bullitt GT
||$31,075 (2008 and 2009)
|2008 Models Produced
||Total produced (coupe only): 5,808
- Dark Highland Green: 4,377
- Black: 1,431
|2009 Models Produced
||Total produced (coupe only): 816
- Dark Highland Green: 635
- Black: 181
||90-degree SOHC 24-valve 4.6L V8
||Tremec TR-3650 5-speed manual
||315 hp @ 6,000 RPM
||325 lbs.-ft. @ 4,250 RPM
||Reverse-L Independent MacPherson strut, stabilizer bar,
Ford Racing strut tower brace
||3-link solid axle with coil springs, panhard rod,
||12.4 in. vented disc, dual-piston caliper,
||11.8 in. vented disc, single-piston caliper
||18x8 five-spoke cast aluminum "Euroflange" wheels,
finished in Argent Grey
||235/50R18 BSW high-performance
2019 and 2020 Mustang Bullitt
Ford’s most recent Bullitt iteration, and perhaps the last, was released in 2019. The new design debuted in 2018 in
honor of the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Bullitt film.
With a style reminiscent of the original, it has chrome trim, a blacked-out grille with no pony logo, and 19-inch
five-spoke wheels. For the paint, the signature Dark Highland Green was offered along with Shadow Black. Special
is on the steering wheel and between the taillights.
The 5.0L V8 engine put out 480 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque, with a max speed of 163 mph. It was only
with a six-speed manual transmission. The S550 Bullitt could be had with a Level 1 or Level 2 Performance Pack.
It came with an active valve performance exhaust system with special exhaust tips. An Open Air Induction System and
intake manifold from the Shelby GT350 helped the 2019 Bullitt breathe easily.
2019 & 2020 Mustang Bullitt Specs
||2019 & 2020 Mustang Bullitt GT
||$47,690 (2019); $48,800 (2020)
||5.0L Ti-VCT V8 Engine
||Getrag MT82 6-speed manual
||480 hp @ 7,000 RPM
||420 lbs.-ft. @ 4,600 RPM
||Double-ball-joint independent MacPherson
strut with HD coil springs and tubular stabilizer bar (optional MagneRide™
||Integral-link independent with coil springs, larger
diameter solid stabilizer bar, and mono-tube dampers; (optional
MagneRide™ damping system)
||352 mm (13.9 in.) x 32 mm vented discs, four-piston 46
mm fixed aluminum
||320 mm (12.6 in.) x 30 mm solid discs, single-piston 45
mm floating aluminum
calipers; integral parking brake
||19x9 (front) and 19x9.5 (rear) Torque Thrust Design
machined-face aluminum with high-gloss black-painted pockets
||255/40R19 front, 275/40R19 rear summer only tires
Saying Goodbye to the Bullitt Mustang
Unfortunately, Ford is saying goodbye to the Bullitt Mustang. At least for now. There won’t be a Bullitt for the
model year as it’s being replaced with the Mach
1. But that doesn’t mean Ford won’t bring the Bullitt back in the
future. After all, the 60th anniversary of the Bullitt film will be in 2028.
Sources: Automobile Mag, Top Speed, Ford Performance, National Historic Vehicle
Register, Car and Driver, Road & Track