It’s been almost exactly 50 years since Steve McQueen manhandled a Ford Mustang into the history books in the tough-guy cop movie Bullitt.
The car chase in Bullitt has become iconic and even inspired 21st century drift ace, Ken Block, to re-enact much of the action in a high-powered, four-wheel wheel Ford Focus for one of his series of Gymkhana online films.
Proving that the anniversary on October 17 has not been forgotten, and the Mustang has just as much impact in 2018 as it had in 1968, Ford Australia is close to a sell-out with its Mustang Bullitt.
The two-door coupe mirrors the colour and style of McQueen’s original, adding go-faster gear that makes it the most potent factory Mustang yet sold in Australia.
“We ordered 700 cars, which was as many as we could get, and all but 68 of them are already sold,” Ford Australia spokesman Martin Gunsberg tells Australian Business Traveller.
“The first arrivals have just begun. It’s perfect timing, too, with the anniversary. That’s why it was so important to get it.”
McQueen starred as Lieutenant Frank Bullitt in the movie and did some of the driving as well, although the big stunts were handled by Bud Ekins (who also made the famous motorcycle jump for McQueen’s character in The Great Escape).
The two original sixties Mustangs from the movie were lost after filming, although both have recently resurfaced - one in Mexico, the other in storage in New York - but that did not stop Ford from hitting the rewind button with a 2018 homage.
The Bullitt Mustangs are all painted Highland Green, have Torq Thrust alloys and a special fuel filler cap, with a numbered plaque on the green-coloured dashboard.
Recaro seats are also available and there are extra Bullitt references including the cueball-style white shift knob.
Based on the latest Mustang GT, which comes with more power and a louder exhaust, the Bullitt’s for Australia are fired up with auto safety braking, lane-keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control, as well as MagneRide adjustable suspension.
The V8 engine is tuned up to 345 kiloWatts and all 700 are fitted with six-speed manual gearboxes. Priced from $73,688, Ford believes the Mustang Bullitt has hit the target in Australia.
“Aussies love the Mustang. And this is not just any Mustang,” says Gunsberg. “The first boatload has just arrived for the anniversary and we’re expecting the final cars will go quickly.”