The Bullitt Mustang Speeds into ACM

Photo Courtesy of America's Car Museum

One of the most iconic movie cars of all time, a 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390 Fastback—the Bullitt Mustang—is on display through April 25, 2019 at LeMay-America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington.

The Ford Mustang, piloted by legendary actor and motorsports enthusiast Steve McQueen during the 1968 film “Bullitt,” left a lasting impact on movies and pop culture. In Bullitt, McQueen played the title character, a San Francisco police detective trying to bust a mob ring.

The gripping 9-minute and 42-second chase scene was revolutionary for its time—putting the audience inside the vehicle while driving on actual roads and creating suspense without any spoken dialogue—a style that raised the bar for film chase scenes. In the scene, drivers reached speeds as high as 110 mph through the streets of San Francisco, only possible because Mayor Joe Alioto (who only charged one dollar for permission to film) recognized how much publicity the city would get from the film.

Two Mustang GT 390s were modified for the making of “Bullitt.” Modification included a dark Highland Green paint scheme, no exterior badges, scoops or spoilers and adorned with a black-mesh grille absent of Ford’s iconic pony badging. Of the two, this is the only surviving car.

The Bullitt Mustang is the 21st vehicle inducted into the Historic Vehicle Association’s National Historic Vehicle Register. Its documentation, photographs and history will be archived in the Library of Congress so that future generations can see the car as it is today.

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