1968 Mustang Bullitt Specsby Cynthia Clark
A number of cars have become legends with the help of Hollywood, including the 1968 Mustang fastback. The Bullitt was not a version of the Mustang, nor was it a sports option upgrade offered by Ford in 1968. Bullitt is sometimes a nickname used by cult enthusiasts for a fastback Mustang, because of the 390 GT that had been selected to appear with actor and race car champion Steve McQueen in the 1968 movie “Bullitt.”
Two identical 1968 Highland Green fastback Mustangs with a 390 cubic inch V-8 engine and GT equipment package had been acquired for filming according to author Brad Bowling. He further notes that one had been specially fitted for the abuse of the stunt driving scenes and was “trashed” during production. The second one, used for the speed scenes had been sold after filming.
A copy of a letter from Warner Brother's movie studio, dated April 16, 1970 confirms details regarding the iconic Mustang that had been sold. According to the letter signed by George Phillips, Warner Brothers Head of Transportation, the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) was 8RO2S12559. Deciphering the VIN reveals that it's a 1968 model manufactured at Ford's plant in San Jose, California. It's a two-door fastback body with an eight-cylinder, 390 cubic-inch engine.
The 390 engine option featured 325 horsepower and a four-barrel carburetor. Mustang Monthly adds that this particular car had a four-speed manual transmission. The details regarding the Bullit's specs are factory options with no evidence of aftermarket changes to upgrade the power. The car itself was just like any other fastback 390 GT off the factory line. It's only this vehicle's place in movie history that makes it stand out from the other 42,325 fastback Mustangs produced that same year.
The 1968 Mustang is a small bodied car with a 108-inch wheelbase and an overall length of 183.6 inches and 70.9 inches wide. The fastback shared these same chassis specs with its two-door hardtop and convertible top sisters. The GT package included sport trim and power front disc brakes. Technically the Mustang is considered a pony car because of its dimensional size. Addition of the 390 V-8 launched the Bullitt into the muscle car league, to better wrangle with "the bad guy's" 1968 Dodge Charger in the film.
Ford introduced the optional Bullitt edition for the 2001 GT package. This model had 4.6-liter, 281 cubic inch single overhead cam V-8, and chassis tweaks, for more power and sportier handling. The Bullitt option was introduced as a marketing scheme to recapture a thrilling segment of Mustang history in the muscle car era and American pop culture. In a conversation with Simba Julias of Varsity Ford in College Station, Texas, he confirmed that 2009 was the last year the Bulitt package was offered for the Mustang GT. Julias further discussed how the power of the 2010 models and future Mustang options packages continue to live up to the Bullitt's fast and tough image that played out on the big screen more than forty years ago.
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