The 1968 “Bullitt” Mustang will be sold by Mecum Auctions this Friday!

Richard’s Car Blog is expanding! Starting with this week’s post about the Bullitt Mustang, we will semi-regularly feature a midweek story related to an automotive current event. Let me know what you think!

 

Lots of movies feature chase scenes: The French Connection, The Blues Brothers, Ronin, and The Italian Job, not to mention the entire Fast & Furious franchise. Ask people of a certain age, though, to name their favorite celluloid car chase, and one movie consistently comes to the top of the list: Bullitt, starring Steve McQueen, released in 1968.

The car-crazed kid I was, I asked my dad to take me to see it, and what an impression it made. At 14, I was still 3 years away from possessing a driver’s license, and I left that theater wanting a Mustang fastback just like the one Lieutenant Frank Bullitt drove (and I’ll admit that the black Charger wasn’t an unworthy lust object either).

McQueen, the King of Cool, did some (but not all) of his own stunt driving in the movie. Since his passing in 1980, any object with his name attached to it has garnered collector interest. Of course, the Bullitt Mustang would rise to the top of that desirability list, except, for decades, no one seemed to know where it was.

The details are available all over the internet: the so-called hero car (there was a 2nd, and some even say a 3rd, Mustang used for shooting) which is in all the exterior chase shots has been located. The car has been owned by the same family since 1974, and that family has decided to sell it, choosing Mecum Auctions as its selling venue. It will cross the block at Mecum’s Kissimmee auction this Friday, January 10th, sometime midday, and it’s being sold at no reserve. Highest bidder gets it, no matter.

Here’s the question: what will the car sell for? According to an article in the New York Times, Dana Mecum, founder of his namesake business, is estimating “at least $3 million”. McKeel Hagerty, head of his insurance company which also tracks classic car values, is predicting “closer to $4 million”.

What’s your guess? Before I provide mine, it may be worth noting that Mr. McQueen has been gone for 40 years. I earlier said that it’s “people of a certain age” who will remember the movie, and some of that generation have passed on also. I recently spoke with a reporter about the collector car auction scene, and he, an admitted Millennial, said to me “I really don’t know who Steve McQueen was”. On the other hand, unlike a car with simple celebrity ownership, this hero Mustang is immortalized in film which can be rented, streamed, purchased, or just watched on YouTube.

My guess? I do believe the car will break into the 7-figure range, but will not reach as high as Dana is predicting. A Baby Boomer with deep pockets will step up and pay $2.5 million for it. By Friday afternoon, we’ll all know.

Let’s have some fun with this: take the poll and vote for the choice you think will come closest.

 

8 thoughts on “The 1968 “Bullitt” Mustang will be sold by Mecum Auctions this Friday!

  1. Hi Rich and Happy New Year. FYI, Paul Newman died in 2008, not 1980. Love ur blogs.
    Rob

    Sent from my iPhone

    Like

    • Hi Rob, nice to hear from you! Thanks for the comment! I may have created some confusion with my “King of Cool” reference, as that could refer to either Steve McQueen OR Paul Newman, both “cooler than cool” actors who could also drive! I intended for the reference to be to Mr. McQueen, who did pass in 1980, and you are indeed correct about the year of Mr Newman’s passing.

      We hope to see you at a drive event this year! Best, Richard

      Like

  2. And here I was all these years thinking that Miles Davis was the “King of Cool”! I agree with you on the price. One would have to be the ultimate extremely wealthy McQueen fan boy to pony up (pun intended) $3 million for a dilapidated ‘Stang. It would be a different story if it were the GT40 from “LeMans”!

    Like

    • Hi Bob, Miles recorded “Birth of the Cool”, which I believe was playing on the Mustang’s radio during the chase scene. The car sells tomorrow (Friday) so I’m anxious to see where the price lands.
      Best, Richard

      Like

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