Bullitt Mustang channels iconic McQueen movie

By Motoring Staff Time of article published Jan 15, 2018

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Detroit, Michigan - The colour alone is enough to rev up any Pony Car fan. It’s Highland Green, the signature colour of the Ford Mustang GT350 driven by Steve McQueen in Bullitt, and the star of what is still regarded 50 years later as the archetypal car chase.

And to celebrate that 50th anniversary, here is the 2019 Mustang Bullitt, introduced in (of course!) a car-chase video, driven by Molly McQueen, who seems to have inherited every one of her grandfather Steve’s cool genes.

Mind you, it’s not difficult to be cool in a car with understated chrome accents around front windows and special black grille, classic 19 inch aluminium wheels, red painted Brembo brake callipers and  - just like the original - no exterior badging at all other than a Bullitt logo on the dummy fuel cap in the centre of the rear panel.

It’s even easier to be cool in a Mustang that has its five-litre V8 tweaked to deliver at least 350kW and 570Nm, thanks to new open air induction system and Shelby GT350 intake manifold with 87mm throttle bodies, an active valve performance exhaust system, re-mapped engine management software and a top speed of 260km/h - 13km/h faster than the new Mustang GT.

All the Mustang GT Premium and Performance Package go-fast goodies comes as standard kit, including a five-speed manual transmission with a white cue ball - just like the original - in place of the gear-lever knob.

The interior is trimmed in black leather with green top-stitching, with a heated leather steering wheel, and a 30cm all-digital LCD instrument cluster with a special Bullitt welcome screen.

Shortly before the launch McQueen was invited to Ford's design studio for what she thought was a briefing on the presention - but instead she got to sit in the car that her grandfather actually drove in the iconic movie.

It's well known that the car driven by the stunt crew in the chase sequence is being restored in Mexico by a local enthusiast who didn't know what he'd got until after he'd bought it at auction in very poor condition, but nobody knew what had happened to the 'star car' used for the close-up sequences when you can see that it's actually the King of Cool at the wheel - until Ford tracked down its present owner.

Sean Kiernan inherited the car from his father, who'd owned it since 1974; it's exactly as it was when filming wrapped, right down to the studio gate pass sticker inside the windshield. Kiernan told McQueen she wasn't the first lady to grace this most macho of Mustangs - his mother, a Grade 3 teacher, drove it to school every day for two years.

IOL Motoring

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