‘It’s not the first time one of these old movie cars showed up in a junk yard, but it’s rare,’ says Ford expert Kevin Marti
A 1968 Ford Mustang is shown in this scene from cop thriller “Bullitt,” set and shot in San Francisco. A 1968 Mustang found in a Mexico junk yard has reportedly been confirmed by a classic Ford expert to be one of two cars used in Steve McQueen’s San Francisco cop classic “Bullitt.”
“I’m 100% sure it’s authentic,” Kevin Marti, of the Marti Report, told Fox News after travelling to Mexicali to inspect the car last week. This Mustang, used primarily for the film’s stunt scenes, reportedly had not been seen in nearly 50 years, while the other ‘68 Mustang from the film is in a private car collection after going through a few owners, including a failed attempt by McQueen to buy it shortly before he died in 1980.
The film features arguably the best-ever car chase, with McQueen’s Detective Frank Bullitt behind the wheel, speeding up and down San Francisco’s famed hilly terrain, through traffic. Car lovers love to pick the scene apart, from questioning the number of hub caps a vehicle can lose in a movie (more than four) to noting the different versions used for the 1968 Dodge Charger—the car that Bullitt’s Mustang was chasing—and infighting over whether this Mustang could have outpowered the Charger in the first place.
The beat-up Mustang took its trip to the junk yard alongside both Chargers used in the scene, according to the IMDb records. But from there, its trail was lost.
The new-found treasure, disguised under white body paint and not the Highland Green that “Bullitt” fans will recognize, was first uncovered last year in Baja California Sur by a novice collector named Hugo Sanchez. He reportedly wanted a rough Mustang to rework into an “Eleanor” Shelby GT500 from a much-later movie, 2000’s “Gone in 60 Seconds.” Paint removal eventually revealed the green and inspired a closer check of the car’s provenance.
“It’s not the first time one of these old movie cars showed up in a junk yard, but it’s rare,” Marti told Fox News. Because of his classic-car company, Marti was familiar with the vehicle identification numbers (VINs) for the two Mustangs ordered by Warner Bros for the film.
Car sites were hesitant to guess at the Mustang’s potential value given the movie affiliation and because it had been missing for so long. An original Charger from the scene went on sale in 2013, restored, with a price tag of $1 million.
Fox reported that the owner is now taking his Mustang to California for restoration ahead of the film’s 50th anniversary.