The Ford Mustang Bullitt used for arguably the greatest car chase scene in cinematic history will be sold to the highest bidder at an US auction next year.

The car, from cult classic Bullitt, was famously driven by Steve McQueen in the action thriller and is consistently named as one of the most iconic vehicles to ever feature on the big screen.

Having been concealed from the limelight for 40 years by the family that owned it – including turning down an offer from the car from the King of Cool himself – the Mustang will be sold at an auction in Kissimmee, Florida, in January 2020.

Bullitt: Owner Sean Kiernan (pictured driving) has confirmed that he is selling the original 1968 Ford Mustang GT Fastback that featured in the Steve McQueen film Bullitt after the car had been kept in his family for 40 years

Bullitt: Owner Sean Kiernan (pictured driving) has confirmed that he is selling the original 1968 Ford Mustang GT Fastback that featured in the Steve McQueen film Bullitt after the car had been kept in his family for 40 years

For years, enthusiasts and historians widely believed that the film car, which is one of just two, had been destroyed.

The ‘hero’ model – which means it was used for all the close-up scenes in the movie – came out of hiding in January last year when it featured at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

It was part of Ford’s display to announce the special-edition ‘Bullitt’ version of the latest Mustang, launched to celebrate the flick’s 50th anniversary.

Just two years later that very same car will cross the Mecum auction block and could potentially set a new record price paid for a Ford Mustang.

‘Known simply as ‘Bullitt’ after its namesake motion picture, the original Highland Green 1968 Mustang GT was driven by the King of Cool Steve McQueen at dangerously high speeds through the busy streets of San Francisco as the hero car in one of his most memorable motion pictures.

‘It is now on the fast-track to joining the ranks of the most valuable American-made collector cars ever sold at auction,’ Mecum said.

The Highland Green 1968 Mustang GT was driven by the King of Cool Steve McQueen at dangerously high speeds through the busy streets of San Francisco

The Highland Green 1968 Mustang GT was driven by the King of Cool Steve McQueen at dangerously high speeds through the busy streets of San Francisco

Steve McQueen - the King of Cool - starred as Detective Frank Bullitt in the 1968 film Bullitt

Steve McQueen – the King of Cool – starred as Detective Frank Bullitt in the 1968 film Bullitt

It was driven by McQueen in countless scenes throughout the movie, including in the infinitely famous footage that has become one of the most influential car chases in all of film history. 

It remains in original condition and still has many distinguishable and unique elements from the movie. 

After filming, the hero car was sold to a private buyer and was thought lost to history until its reemergence in Detroit last year. 

The whereabouts of the motor had been a mystery for 40 years.

The 'hero' model - which means it was used for all the close-up scenes in the movie - came out of hiding in January last year when it featured at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit

The ‘hero’ model – which means it was used for all the close-up scenes in the movie – came out of hiding in January last year when it featured at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit

The original Mustang Bullitt was believed to have been destroyed. Little did enthusiasts know that it had been kept by the same family for years

The original Mustang Bullitt was believed to have been destroyed. Little did enthusiasts know that it had been kept by the same family for years

The original car (left) was part of Ford's display to announce the special-edition 'Bullitt' version of the latest Mustang (right), launched to celebrate the flick's 50th anniversary

The original car (left) was part of Ford’s display to announce the special-edition ‘Bullitt’ version of the latest Mustang (right), launched to celebrate the flick’s 50th anniversary

It came to fruition last year that it had been purchased by Warner Brothers employee Robert Ross shortly after filming for the movie ended.

Ross sold it to a New Jersey police detective called Frank Marranca for just $6,000 (£4,900) soon after, who retained it for four years before selling it to a collector called Robert Kiernan for exactly the same price. 

Sean Kiernan, who inherited the Mustang GT Fastback from his father, confirmed the sale in a statement.

Robert Kiernan piad exactly the same price for the car soon after, and retained it for years before it was inherited by his son, Sean

Robert Kiernan piad exactly the same price for the car soon after, and retained it for years before it was inherited by his son, Sean

Steve McQueen seen here at the wheel of the Mustang during filming for the action thriller

Steve McQueen seen here at the wheel of the Mustang during filming for the action thriller

He said: ‘Through a lot of conversation and prayer my family and I have decided to sell our car, the 1968 Mustang GT fastback known as Bullitt.

‘I can promise that we have thought this through together and decided that this is the best decision for the family.

‘Bullitt has been part of my family for 45 years and we have celebrated her in the grandest way possible, and now it will have a new role and new meaning to the future owner.

‘I have accomplished what I set out to do with the car; Tell my dad’s story in the best way possible and share the car with the world.

‘I had no idea what to expect when we unveiled the car in January 2018 in Detroit, but since then everyone has been absolutely excited and respectful to see the car and hear the story.’

It has since emerged that Steve McQueen wrote to Robert Kiernan in 1977 in a bid to buy the car off him, but was refused by the then owner

It has since emerged that Steve McQueen wrote to Robert Kiernan in 1977 in a bid to buy the car off him, but was refused by the then owner

Last January, experts predicted it to be worth around $4.25 million (£3.5 million) if it were to be sold at auction - a fee that would obliterate the standing model record

Last January, experts predicted it to be worth around $4.25 million (£3.5 million) if it were to be sold at auction – a fee that would obliterate the standing model record

It has since emerged that Steve McQueen wrote to Robert Kiernan in 1977 in a bid to buy the car off him, but was refused by the then owner. 

His son, Sean, said previously said it had ‘never been our intention to keep this car a secret from everybody’ over the 40-year period it was lost without trace.

Last January, experts predicted it to be worth around $4.25million (£3.5million) if it were to be sold at auction – a fee that would obliterate the standing model record. 

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The existing record fee paid for a Mustang is $2.2million (£1.8million), which was the figure paid for a 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake at Mecum Kissimmee earlier this year. 

The Bullitt Mustang will be exhibited at various automotive events around the country leading up to the Mecum Kissimmee 2020 auction in from 2 January 2020.

The existing record fee paid for a Mustang is $2.2 million (£1.8 million). This was the sum paid by a collector who bought a 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake at Mecum Kissimmee earlier this year

The existing record fee paid for a Mustang is $2.2 million (£1.8 million). This was the sum paid by a collector who bought a 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake at Mecum Kissimmee earlier this year

The Bullitt Mustang will be exhibited at various automotive events around the country leading up to the Mecum Kissimmee 2020 auction in from January 2 2020. It was driven at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2018

The Bullitt Mustang will be exhibited at various automotive events around the country leading up to the Mecum Kissimmee 2020 auction in from January 2 2020. It was driven at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2018

The car being sold was driven by McQueen in countless scenes throughout the movie, including in the infinitely famous footage that has become one of the most influential car chases in all of film history

The car being sold was driven by McQueen in countless scenes throughout the movie, including in the infinitely famous footage that has become one of the most influential car chases in all of film history

It remains in original condition and still has many distinguishable and unique elements from the movie., says the auction house

It remains in original condition and still has many distinguishable and unique elements from the movie., says the auction house

Earlier this week, Bonhams confirmed it will offer another iconic Steve McQueen cinema car in 2020.

The dune buggy that featured in 1968 classic The Thomas Crown Affair – the very car in which the King of Cool took Faye Dunaway on an exhilarating, white-knuckled ride – will be sold at auction on 5 March 2020.

The vehicle’s iconic driving scenes on the beach of Massachusetts have become stuff of Hollywood legend – and collectors will have the chance to own it… if they can afford the ‘extraordinary sum’ it’s expected to fetch.

Just yesterday an Aston Martin D5 used to promote James Bond films Goldfinger and Thunderball sold at an RM Sotheby’s auction for a record £6.4million

 

 



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