Ford rocked the North American International Auto Show in Detroit with the simultaneous introduction of a 50th anniversary tribute Mustang Bullitt painted in the modern version of the original 1968 Mustang GT's Highland Green hue as well as the unveiling of the actual car originally drive by Steve McQueen in the classic San Francisco car chase film.
Molly McQueen, Steve's granddaughter, reprises the chase scene versus a modern Dodge Charger, with modern stakes: the last remaining space in a parking garage.
Molly wins, in part thanks to the Bullitt's 475-horsepower version of the Mustang GT's 5.0-liter V8 engine, which uses the intake manifold and throttle body from the GT350 to boost top speed by 8 mph compared to a regular GT, to 163 mph.
In addition to the Highland Green paint (though the Bullitt is also available in Shadow Black), the Bullitt echoes the original car with chrome trim around the grille opening and windows, and the iconic cue ball white shift knob for the six-speed manual shifter.
The '68 car had a gas cap in the center of the rear, between the taillights, and the Bullitt wears a fake replica of that, but it is the only fake part of the car.
There are three available option packs for the Bullitt, an electronics package that includes navigation, upgraded audio, blind spot warning and cross-traffic alert, Magenride magnetically adjustable shocks for better ride and better handling, and Recaro seats that have green embroidery to match the car's paint.
The Bullitt rolls on 19-inch wheels with Brembo brakes to help in the event of any chases against Dodge Chargers.
“When making a Bullitt, there are certain things it absolutely must have,” said Carl Widmann, Mustang chief engineer. “It has to have the right attitude, it has to be unique in some way from a Mustang GT, and more than anything, it has to be bad ass.”
Ford has built Bullitt tribute cars in the past, but the actual, original movie car had been lost to history. Actually the car was working as an everyday driver for a New Jersey family that bought the Mustang from Warner Brothers in 1974.
This is original movie hero car driven by McQueen. A second car, abused in the film as a stunt car was discovered in Baja California last year.
Ford also built Bullitt tribute cars in 2008 and 2001, but this 2018 edition is fast faster and is very technically superior to those cars.
But the original '68 had one advantage over the 2018 tribute car. Its "mag" wheels were real old school lightweight magnesium wheels with more character than any of the modern imitations, even if they are a little dirty and corroded.
It looks like Sean Kiernan, owner of the original movie car, approves of the modern imitation, but we doubt he's parting with his classic any time soon.