Ford Mustang Bullitt GT Coupe honors film’s 50th anniversary

James Raia

The Bullitt Mustag GT Coupe honors iconic car, movie

Celebrating anniversaries is a thing in the automotive world. Ford and Chevrolet are particularly active in marketing the milestones of their cars and trucks, the F-150 pick-up to the Corvette.

Ford has celebrated its Mustang several times, and it’s doing so again with its 2019 Mustang Bullitt GT Coupe. The accolades are based on a 10-minute movie clip in 1968 often cited as the best car chase scene in cinema history.

The Bullitt Mustag GT Coupe honors iconic car, movie
The Mustang Bullitt GT Coupe honors the iconic car and movie of the same name. Image © James Raia

The film stars Steve McQueen as Lt. Frank Bullitt, thus the name of the movie. He chases bad guys, including the famous sequence on the hilly streets of San Francisco when he’s driving 1968 Ford Mustang 390 GT 2+2 Fastback. McQueen did most of his stunts, further building the film’s legacy.

For muscle and performance car enthusiasts, the scene is riveting. General movie viewers just appreciate fine movie making.

Driving the commemorative Mustang affords a fantasy, a chance to channel McQueen, minus bad guys, daredevil driving and any sense of the coolness of the now-deceased movie star in his turtleneck and aversion to his boss’ rules.

But it’s all for fun, and that’s what best about driving the commemorative Mustang. The 5.0 liter V8 has 480 horsepower and uses the intake manifold and throttle bodies from the Shelby GT350.

While Ford doesn’t list the Bullitt’s time advancing from 0-60 miles per hours, national reviewers have achieved the standard acceleration test in less than four seconds. Ford claims the Mustang’s top speed is 163 miles per hour.

Performance is an overrated requisite for buying or not buying a vehicle. Most new vehicles have adequate acceleration, handling and braking. But the Bullitt Mustang thrives on its impressive specs.

Advancing through smooth six-speed manual transmission while using the white cue ball shift knob is another homage to the original machine. The vintage approach may be a small touch, but it carries vast importance to the car’s history.

Use the shifter, experience acceleration purity and enjoy the ride. Move into highway speeds and accelerate again. The Bullitt Mustang is at its best, blasting into a new speed range. On several occasions, the speedometer read 85-plus miles per hour with little effort.

The Bullitt Mustang is available in two exterior colors, Dark Highland Green and Shadow Black. Why bother with anything else? The simple color patterns ideally complement other top-notch stuff: 19-inch, five-spoke black wheels, red brake calipers and the Bullitt-exclusive black grille.

The interior features seating for four with leather appointments and adequate legroom and headroom. A Bullitt logo replaces the standard signature pony emblem on the center of the steering wheel. The crosshair Bullitt logo is also used as a faux gas cap in the middle of the trunk.

While coolness reigns with the special Mustang, it’s doubtful McQueen would approve of some of its technological advancements. Sixteen switches surround the Bullitt logo on the steering wheel. How many could possibly be needed? Toggle switches are positioned low on the dash and hard to reach, although maybe not for McQueen.

The special Mustang isn’t for the economically minded. Gas mileage averages are 15 miles per gallon in city driving and 25 miles per gallon in highway conditions. The 18 miles per gallon median translates to frequent refills.

With option packages included, the Bullitt Mustang is priced at $52,290, a substantial commitment. But if you’re considering treating yourself, there’s little hurry. Ford reports it will offer the celebratory Mustang for two years.

And if a reminder of the commanding presence the Mustang is needed, the movie has been re-released nationwide to acknowledge its 50th birthday as well as the car, actor and driver responsible for its legend.

Article Last Updated: October 14, 2018.

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