Steve McQueen tear-assing around the streets of San Francisco in a Highland Green 1968 Mustang GT, hoping desperately to catch the two contract killers in a stealth black Dodge Charger R/T of the same vintage, is the standout moment from the film Bullitt. Three minutes of tension-building tailing followed by seven minutes of the most enjoyable and realistic on-screen tire-smoking mayhem ever set to jazz fusion. It is still one of the best car chases in any film, if not the best.
Sadly, as with most movie cars, the Mustang that did the majority of that incredible driving and took the brunt of the abuse vanished while the one kept pristine for the camera ended up on the East Coast in someone’s private collection. The owner of that car is notoriously secretive about it and has used it off-and-on as a daily driver, which is a shame, as the stunt car was assumed to have been sent to a junkyard and destroyed.
Then it cropped up in Mexico after having languished in anonymity for decades.
After filming wrapped on Bullitt, Steve McQueen purportedly tried to purchase the surviving vehicle to no avail. The Mexican Mustang, which has telltale modifications like a hole in the trunk for an onboard generator used to power lights and reinforced shock towers, was recently happened upon by Vintage Mustang Forum member Fede Garza. An acquaintance had purchased the car from a private party and originally indented to modify it. After a little research, he changed his mind.
While nobody at Warner Brothers has unequivocally said, “Yes, this is the car,” Garza did post a VIN that allegedly matches one of the cars used in the movie. He also had Ford expert and Barrett-Jackson consultant Kevin Marti come down and inspect the vehicle. Garza has since made a Facebook posting calling the car “authentic” and has announced that it will be heading back to America for restoration.