The 1968 Ford Mustang GT used in the filming of the 1968 motion picture “Bullitt,” long thought to be missing until it resurfaced just a couple years ago, is headed to auction early next year, giving both auto enthusiasts and film buffs the opportunity to own a special piece of movie history.
Th Highland Green GT is one of two cars that were used to film the Steve McQueen classic. The other, which was outfitted with a roll cage and used for the film’s gnarlier stunts, was consigned to the crusher after filming concluded.
The Mustang appeared along with the 2018 Mustang Bullitt at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show after it hadn’t been shown in public for decades. At the time, Hagerty speculated the car was worth about $4 million.
1968 Ford Mustang from Bullitt and 2018 Ford Mustang Bullitt
That’s when we learned more about the car’s history. In 1974, the Mustang was purchased by Robert Kiernan, Jr., who saw it advertised in Road & Track as the car from “Bullett” [sic]. He paid $6,000 for it. He was, as it turned out, the third person to purchase the car after its starring role.
Three years later, Kiernan was contacted by McQueen, who was interested in buying it as it sat. Kiernan turned him down. Kiernan never got around to restoring the car, and it sat for decades.
The car passed to Kiernan’s son, James, when Robert died in 2014. It was the younger Kiernan who made arrangements with Ford to show the car in public last year in Detroit. The appearance coincided with the 50th anniversary of the film.
At the time, James had no plans to get rid of the Highland Green GT. He instead wanted to build replica cars for his own film project, then auction them off to support the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in honor of his father, who suffered from the disease.
The younger Kiernan’s plans have obviously changed, and he could be in for a big payday. The “Bullitt” star will cross the block at the Mecum Kissimmee 2020 auction to be held Jan. 2-12 in Florida.