Steve McQueen’s ’68 ‘Bullitt’ Mustang displayed in D.C.

This article originally appeared on, written by Graylan Janulis, on April 20, 2018. 

The classic car junkies are flocking to the Washington, D.C., in hopes of watching the 1968 Ford Mustang GT made popular by the renowned Warner Bros. cult film “Bullitt.”

The famous Mustang would be displayed through 23rd April on the National Mall in a glass garage lit up at night as a part of the Historic Vehicle Association’s month-long “Cars at the Capital” celebration. The display, featuring one car at a time throughout the month of April, also featured the 15-millionth Ford Model T and a 1984 Plymouth Voyager, the first Chrysler minivan.

The old Bullitt is one of two Mustang GTs that were used in the movie. After filming in San Francisco, the hero vehicle driven by Steve McQueen was sold to a private purchaser, and the other, which was used in many of the jumps during the famous chase scene, was sent to a salvage yard. That jumper vehicle resurfaced in Baja at California, in the year 2017, but the other had been lost somewhere in the history.

Sean Kiernan had it stored secretly in his Tennessee garage, and contacted the Ford Motor Co. around two years ago. He worked on the authentication with Kevin Marti, the owner of the Marti Auto Works in El Mirage, Ariz., who maintains the database for every Ford built since the year 1967, prior to unveiling it to a shocked public at the Detroit auto show in the current year.

The president of the Historic Vehicle Association, Mark Gesler, said that the car shows the gentle patina of time as it has rust marks. He further added that Steve McQueen wanted to create the most realistic chase scene ever on the film and they took nearly four weeks to shoot an 11-minute chase scene.

Kiernan’s father bought the “Bullitt” Mustang for somewhere between 3,000 dollars and 6,000 dollars after responding to a Road & Track classified ad in the year 1974. Its estimated value at the present day is near about 4 million dollars. The car still has got many of the unique artifacts from the movie, including the camera mounts welded underneath, the missing backup lights that McQueen wanted to be eliminated, and a Warner Bros. parking lot sticker. The car propelled thousands of onlookers at the Cobo Center during the auto show in the month of January and continues to generate fan mail from all over the world.

The chief engineer of the Ford Mustang, Carl Widmann said that to see the Bullitt under glass within steps of the Smithsonian museums, the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument is a fitting tribute to automobiles that have transcended utility to become truly iconic examples of America’s culture.

Kiernan said in a statement to the Press that though shockingly cold, the tour has been great. He further said that it was an amazing honor to be on the mall with the car, very surreal to be between the Capitol building and the monument. He added saying that the happiest moment for him at the present was that his mom was there enjoying everything in the week.

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