Classic car junkies are flocking to Washington, D.C., in hopes of seeing the 1968 Ford Mustang GT made famous by the Warner Bros. cult film “Bullitt.”
The famous Mustang will be displayed through April 23 on the National Mall in a glass garage lit up at night as part of the Historic Vehicle Association’s month-long Cars at the Capital celebration.
The display, featuring one car at a time throughout April, also featured the 15-millionth Ford Model T and a 1984 Plymouth Voyager — the first Chrysler minivan.
Sean Kiernan had it secretly stored in his Tennessee garage, and contacted Ford Motor Co. two years ago. He worked on authentication with Kevin Marti, owner of Marti Auto Works in El Mirage, Ariz., who maintains the database for every Ford built since 1967, before unveiling it to a shocked public at the Detroit auto show this year.
“The car shows the gentle patina of time. It has rust marks,” said Mark Gesler, president of the Historic Vehicle Association. “Steve McQueen wanted to create the most realistic chase scene ever on film. They took four weeks to shoot an 11-minute chase scene.”
The car still has many of the unique artifacts from the movie, including camera mounts welded underneath, a Warner Bros. parking lot sticker, and the missing backup lights that McQueen wanted removed.
“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,” said Carl Widmann, Ford Mustang chief engineer.
The tour has been great, “although shockingly cold,” Kiernan told the Free Press.
“It is an amazing honor to be on the mall with the car, very surreal to be between the Capitol building and the monument,” he said. “The happiest moment for me currently is that my mom is here enjoying everything this week.”