It was probably one of the worst kept secrets of the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, but Ford has now made it official. Say hello to the 2019 Mustang Bullitt, debuting 50 years after the iconic Steve McQueen flic for which its name is derived. Based on the 2018 Mustang GT, the new Bullitt wears the familiar shade of green with a lack of badging and exterior detail that was the hallmark of the original car back in 1968. That is, except for the crosshair Bullitt faux gas cap on the rear.
The new car was unveiled in Detroit by none other than Steve McQueen’s granddaughter Molly, who also appeared with the original 1968 car driven by McQueen himself. It of course shares the 5.0-liter V8 from the Mustang GT, but in the Bullitt it’s tuned to at least 475 horsepower. Upgrades include a new open-air induction system and 87mm throttle bodies, all working with the intake manifold from the Shelby GT350. There’s also a performance calibration to the PCM, but since Ford says the new Bullitt has “at least” 475 ponies, it seems there could be some more tuning in the works before it actually hits the street.
It also gets a standard-issue active exhaust upgrade with black exhaust tips to let the neighborhood – and especially baddies driving black Dodge Chargers – know when you’re in town. Subtle chrome accents around the grille and windows pay homage to the original 1968 GT 390 movie car, along with the 19-inch torque thrust aluminum wheels. Inside, the Bullitt is shifted manually with the classic Q-ball shift knob adorning the top of the lever.
Three factory installed interior options are available, including a Bullitt Electronics Package which adds navigation, memory seats, an upgraded sound system, and assorted driver assists. MagneRide semi-active suspension is offered, as well as Recaro black leather-trimmed seats with green stitching. A special steering wheel with the Bullitt logo also reminds you that you're not driving a normal Mustang.
As for exterior colors, aside from the classic Dark Highland Green the new Bullitt will also be offered in Shadow Black.
The rumors of a new Bullitt started flying some time ago, but kicked into high gear when a green Mustang with a crosshair emblem on the rear was spied in Chicago. The final nail in the coffin came with Barrett-Jackson announcing a “special” Mustang auction with the proceeds going to the Boys Republic, a school that McQueen attended.
Ford says the 2019 Mustang Bullitt will be available this summer.
Live Photos: Patrick M. Hoey / Motor1.com
Gallery: 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt
A STAR IS REBORN: 50TH ANNIVERSARY FORD MUSTANG BULLITT REVIVES SILVER SCREEN LEGEND WITH NEW LEVELS OF POWER
- New limited-edition Mustang Bullitt features retuned 5.0-liter V8 engine that packs at least 475 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque and tops out at 163 mph
- New version salutes 1968 movie car with effortlessly cool appearance, available classic Dark Highland Green exterior paint and subtle chrome accents; interior highlights include 12-inch all-digital LCD instrument cluster and available RECARO® black leather-trimmed seats with unique green accent stitching
- Original 1968 Mustang GT fastback that starred alongside Steve McQueen in award-winning movie “Bullitt” drives onto Ford stage at North American International Auto Show, ending 40-year mystery about the film car’s whereabouts
DETROIT, Jan. 14, 2018 – Celebrating the 50th anniversary of iconic movie “Bullitt” and its fan-favorite San Francisco car chase, Ford introduces the new cool and powerful 2019 Mustang Bullitt.
Third-generation member of the McQueen family, Molly, starred in a special movie of her own introducing the new third-generation Bullitt at the North American International Auto Show. In the film, Molly races a new Mustang Bullitt through a parking structure battling a Dodge Charger for the final free space.
Helping it win that particular spot was the Bullitt’s upgraded 5.0-liter V8 engine that will deliver at least 475 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque, pushing the new Bullitt to a top speed of 163 mph – an 8 mph increase versus the latest Mustang GT.
As a special-edition model due out this summer – the all-new Mustang Bullitt is equipped with a manual transmission, and the gear shifter features a white cue ball shift knob as a nod to the original. The vehicle packages all Mustang GT Premium and Performance Package content into a vehicle that maintains the original Bullitt’s understated persona.
An active valve performance exhaust system is standard with new Black NitroPlate™ exhaust tips, and retuned to give the car a signature burble, as well as new Open Air Induction System and Shelby GT350 intake manifold with 87mm throttle bodies and powertrain control module calibration for optimal performance.
Other standard equipment includes a heated leather steering wheel and a 12-inch all-digital LCD instrument cluster, identical in function to the cluster introduced on 2018 Mustang, but with a unique Bullitt welcome screen that starts in green with an image of the car rather than the pony.
“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™ brakes, and a unique black front grille. Inside and out, the vehicle uses minimal badging; only the circular faux gas cap Bullitt logo on the rear center is visible on the exterior.
The leather-trimmed interior features unique green accent stitching on the dashboard, door panels, center console and seats.
Aside from the two exterior paint choices, Mustang Bullitt buyers are limited to three factory-installed options:
- 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.
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 of 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.”