Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
January 15, 2018
Photos By: Ford Motor Company

In what is arguably now known as the worst kept secret of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Ford debuted the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt on the NAIAS press day, Sunday January 14, 2018, to a packed audience. The Bullitt shared the stage with not only Steve McQueen’s granddaughter, Molly McQueen, but in a surprise to all, the original 1968 Mustang fastback driven by Steve McQueen in his iconic movie “Bullitt”

Due out this coming summer, the Bullitt edition Mustang is equipped with all the right stuff to recreate McQueen’s famous chase scene if you ever so desired (don’t call us for bail money if you do though!). The Bullitt comes with Ford’s potent 5.0L DOHC V-8, putting out at least 475 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque with a revised top speed of 163 mph. No EcoBoost option is on the table, and sorry 10-speed auto fans, the Bullitt is for those that feel three pedals is the only way to fly when piloting a Mustang. Even better, the revised Getrag six-speed is rowed by a Bullitt-exclusive white “cue ball” shifter in a nod to the original four-speed transmission found in the 1968 fastback used in the movie.

Ford’s latest special edition Mustang ticks all the right boxes for you when you’re ready to order your own Bullitt. The 2019 Bullitt features the Mustang GT Premium package as well as the Performance Package, Active Valve Performance Exhaust (with new black NitroPlate exhaust tips) with a custom tuned exhaust note. Ford grabbed the Ford Shelby GT350’s intake manifold from the parts bin; added 87mm throttle body and a revised powertrain control module calibration.

Inside the Bullitt is standard with one of our favorite features, the all-new 12-inch digital LCD instrument cluster. It is identical to the 2018 Mustang cluster introduced in late 2017, but with a unique Bullitt welcome screen featuring an image of the car instead of the famed running Pony logo.

“This new Bullitt is, as Steve McQueen was, effortlessly cool,” said Darrell Behmer, Mustang chief designer. “As a designer, it’s my favorite Mustang – devoid of stripes, spoilers and badges. It doesn’t need to scream about anything – it’s just cool.”

Exterior paint choices are limited to Shadow Black and the classic Dark Highland Green—as worn in the movie. Other features that pay tribute to the car McQueen drove are subtle chrome accents around the grille and front windows, classic torque thrust 19-inch aluminum wheels, red painted Brembo brake calipers, and a unique black front grille. Inside and out, the vehicle uses minimal badging. Returning to the S550 Mustang for the first time is the circular faux gas cap Bullitt logo on the rear decklid panel, just like the two previous Bullitt edition generations (New Edge and S197). The leather-trimmed interior features unique green accent stitching on the dashboard, door panels, center console and seats.

Other than the two exterior pain options the only other options available are these three (and frankly you should check all three, as they’re awesome features!):

• Bullitt Electronics Package includes navigation, driver memory seats and mirrors, upgraded sound system and Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert that can alert customers of vehicles detected in difficult-to-see places

• MagneRide semi-active suspension system optimizes driving performance

• RECARO black leather-trimmed seats

“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.”

That reputation was born after a Mustang GT fastback played a prominent role in the 1968 movie, and most notably in a chase scene that set new standards in filmmaking. The film’s nearly 10-minute-long sequence followed McQueen chasing down two hitmen in his Mustang through the streets of San Francisco.

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The Original Bullitt On Stage

Two identical 1968 Mustang GT fastbacks were used in the filming of the classic Warner Bros. movie “Bullitt” that debuted in theaters on Oct. 17, 1968. After filming, the cars went their separate ways: the hero vehicle driven by McQueen in the movie was sold by Warner Bros. to a private buyer, and the other – used in many of the jumps during the famous chase scene – was sent to a salvage yard. That jumper vehicle resurfaced in Baja, California, in early 2017, but the other was lost to history; until now.

Sean Kiernan, owner of the hero vehicle, inherited the car in 2014 from his late father, Robert, who had purchased the vehicle in 1974. To fulfill his family’s lifelong dream, Sean contacted Ford and the two parties worked together to reveal his movie star car alongside the all-new 2019 Mustang Bullitt at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

“You know, it was never our intention to keep this car a secret from everybody,” Sean said. “It just kind happened with life. I’m just completely buzzing to join with Ford and the new Bullitt and show this car to the world on one of the biggest stages there is.”

The famous Bullitt Mustang was photographed for the unveiling and Ford shared the following photo gallery, including original images and materials from the Kiernan family. Enjoy!

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