In 1968, filming wrapped on the Steve McQueen crime thriller, Bullitt. That spring, Director Peter Yates and actor Steve McQueen, working with actor/stunt drivers Bill Hickman, Bud Ekins, Loren James, and Carey Loftkin, filmed the stunts for what would become a nearly 11 minute chase scene which would set the standard by which every action film chase scene would be thereafter be measured.
Two 390 GT Ford Mustangs, each painted an unmistakable Highland Green color and carefully prepared by Hollywood car craftman Max Balchowsky, were used in the filming. Upon the film’s release, one of the cars was sold to a Warner Bros’ employee, and the other heavily damaged car was ordered scrapped.
In the ensuing years, urban myths has sprung up around the two Bullitt Mustangs, and stories have surfaced regularly about the purported whereabouts of the famous Bullitt car. The surviving car, after being resold at least once, is rumored to be squirreled away in a Midwest barn. In early March of this year, claims were made that the other missing Bullitt, the car ordered to be scrapped, was found in Mexico.
In every instance of a purported find, the evidence for these claims remains as elusive as the cars. Chad McQueen, Steve’s son and the co-founder of McQueen Racing, decided the time had come for a definitive investigation, one that would require real investigative journalism, as well as access to records and information that would lay bare the facts around these cars, and he knew just who to call.
As the former editor of Motor Trend and Motor Trend Classic and the voice behind the details of classic cars on the wildly successful televised, Barrett Jackson auctions, Matt Stone knows his Mustangs. And as the author of the definitive book documenting Steve McQueen’s cars and motorcycles, McQueen’s Machines, Stone was the perfect journalist to initiate a search into the myths of the missing Bullitts.
McQueen Racing and Stone secured the cooperation of the Ford Motor Company and Warner Bros., whose archives could be key to documenting information about the cars. McQueen has also granted Stone access to the Solar Productions archives (Steve’s film company, which produced Bullitt), and will be working with countless others involved in Bullitt to help Stone establish and document details on these cars necessary to prove any claims that they’ve been uncovered.
Stone’s investigation will be the first serious effort to separate the facts from the myths, and hopefully establish once and for all the fate and whereabouts of the two most famous movie cars of all time.
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