February 12, 2018 marks an important anniversary in automotive history. It was 110 years ago a race began which changed the perception of the “horseless carriage” from a novelty for the rich, to a viable means of transportation for everyone.
Sean Kiernan’s family kept a secret for decades. They had a celebrity in their garage. Not a person, but the most famous Ford Mustang ever made. The green one from the 1968 Steve McQueen film “Bullitt.”
The Hollywood car chase was born during a thrill ride on the streets of San Francisco in the 1968 classic “Bullitt,” when Steve McQueen chased the bad guys for almost 10 minutes on screen.
By late October in 1966 Steve McQueen had Hollywood on a string. His company, Solar Productions, inked a six-film deal with Warner Bros., and McQueen was now in the driver’s seat, hired to produce and star in his own films. He and director Peter Yates were intent on bringing real, almost documentary-like action to the screen, and they succeeded with Solar’s first film, Bullitt.
Steve McQueen made one last effort to buy his favorite Mustang in 1977. He sent a letter, typed on a single piece of heavy off-white vellum, to the car’s owner in New Jersey. The logo for his movie company, Solar Productions, was embossed in the upper left corner and opposite that resided the date, December 14, 1977. The letter is just four sentences.
It doesn’t matter how hard we try, pop-culture will always steer our automotive culture into tangents we could’ve never expected — and for Ford, who knew that a simple Highland Green ’68 Mustang GT would be enough to propel the pony car into the highest reaches of hollywood fame and car culture lore? 50 years later, Ford is revealing the 2018 Mustang GT 50th Anniversery Bullitt Edition with a splash: by bringing out the long-forgotten “Bowling Green” Bullitt!
The 2019 Bullitt is mighty fine, but pales in comparison to the original 1968 car
The star of arguably cinema’s greatest chase was long thought to be lost to history, but it’s just been in a New Jersey garage for a few decades.
The National Historic Vehicle Register (NHVR) is not open to just any classic car. Selected vehicles must be significant to the fabric of automotive history in America. Only 20 vehicles have been deemed important enough since the NHVR launched in 2013, and until now, a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro was the only pony car in the NHVR corral.