Lot 351: Ford Mustang Bullitt Edition
There have been several valiant cinematic efforts to eclipse the rip, tear, and bust chase scene from Steve McQueen's 1968 film, Bullitt. But when the lists are made and the bets laid down, Bullitt still comes out on top. Every time. Ford Vice President of Global Automotive Design was a wide eyed youth when he first saw the King of Cool and his barking, tire-melting Highland Green Metallic 1968 Mustang GT fastback assaulting the streets of San Francisco, alternatively chasing and being chased by the bad guys' sinister, black Dodge Charger 440. The image stuck with Mays, and not long after he joined Ford, he and a team of similarly minded designers conceived a modern day Mustang that paid homage to character Lt. Frank Bullitt's iconic ride. A concept version of the Bullitt edition Mustang was shown at the Los Angeles auto show in 2000, and the enthusiast's cry was clear: build it! Just 5,521 Mustang Bullitt editions were built for the 2001 model year, and all were sold immediately. Most were properly liveried in the proper green, although blue and black were also offered. The concept and its realization proved to be so popular that an avid following and enthusiastic owners' club sprang up. The car's notion proved so legitimate that Ford reprised the concept for 2008-09. In order to acquire the rights to use the name "Bullitt," as well as Steve McQueen's likeness and image, Ford ponied up the first two cars in the 2001 Mustang Bullitt edition series. The first one went to the actor's son, Chad McQueen. The number two Mustang Bullitt was earmarked for Chad's sister Terry, but she passed away before receiving it, going instead to her daughter Molly. It is the former that is being offered here. The 2001 Mustang Bullitt is true to the concept of the original 1968 Mustang GT. Legendary road racer and specials builder Max Balchowsky modified the Mustang and the Charger for the movie, beefing up the suspensions for better high speed handling. The 2001 Mustang Bullitt got the same treatment, lowered 3/4" to drop the center of gravity and give it the menacing stance that characterized Lt. Bullitt's Mustang in the film. The rocker panels, C-pillars and quarter panels also have been cleaned up. The front is a plain, blacked-out grille. Seventeen-inch Torque Thrust 5-spoke alloy wheels are fitted, along with serious tires, brushed aluminum outside fuel filler, and subtle "Bullitt" identification to complete the look. In keeping with the flavor of Balchowsky's engine modifications on the movie Mustangs, the 2001 Mustang Bullitt has double 57mm bore throttle bodies borrowed from the SVT Mustang (265 horsepower at 5,000rpm) and a revised intake manifold with better torque characteristics (305 lb-ft at 4,000rpm.), The chassis gets the Balchowsky-esque treatment, too, starting with revised struts and shocks, special stabilizer bars matched to the lowered suspension, subframe connectors to stiffen the chassis and 13" Brembo front brakes. The exhaust system is special, giving the Mustang Bullitt a unique tone. Inside, Dark Charcoal leather bucket seats, brushed aluminum accents, white-faced gauges and Bullitt identification ensure the driver won't forget, even sitting still, that this is a special, limited production Mustang. Ford even relocated the brake and clutch pedals for easier heel-and-toe action entering corners. It is, in fact, one of the best-combined appearance/function packages in Mustang history, a combination that looks serious, and has the performance and handling to back up its appearance. Only two Mustang GTs were built for the movie, just as only two 2001 Bullitt edition Mustangs were built for the McQueen family. Chad McQueen followed in many of his father's footsteps. He is an avid automobile and motorcycle enthusiast. He's an accomplished automobile road racer. And he has acted in and produced several motion pictures. Chad was engaged by Ford to participate in the media launch program for the '01 Bullitt in San Francisco, and did so by driving (and jumping...) one of the engineering prototypes on the same streets that his father and stunt drivers Bud Ekins and Carey Loftin did back in the day. The 2001 Bullitt edition Mustang on offer here, colloquially dubbed "McQueen 1," was delivered to him at that occasion, and has remained in his private possession since. It is the last '01 Bullitt in the possession of the McQueen family, it is in factory original and unmodified condition, and has covered 2012 miles since new.
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Bonhams & Butterfields, Los Angeles
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