Original Bullitt shoots into Tacoma

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VANCOUVER — If not the most beloved movie car ever, the 1968 Mustang GT 390 Fastback is certainly on the podium, running wheel-to-wheel with a ’63 VW Bug and a plasma-powered DeLorean DMC-12. But as far as car chase scenes go, the pony car dubbed the ‘Bullitt’ is top dog, or stallion if you will.

And just two days ago one of the two cars driven by Steve McQueen in the 1969, Peter Yates-directed movie rolled into America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington, a two-and-a-half drive south of Vancouver. It will be on display through April 25, 2019.

The car’s owner wisely didn’t go about restoring it, so it still sports its original paint. Submitted

“It’s not every day that we get the chance to showcase a vehicle that has made such a lasting impact on the way cars are presented on film.” said ACM’s David Madeira. “It’s humbling to share the long and storied history of this Mustang with ACM guests.”

As noted, two Mustang GT 390s were modified for the making of Bullitt – which included a dark Highland Green paint scheme, no exterior badges, scoops or spoilers and adorned with a black-mesh grille absent of Ford’s iconic pony badging.

Of the two, this is the only surviving car, and for years was a daily driver for the Kiernan family before being stored in their garage in Tennessee for years. The son of the owner, Sean Kiernan, went about getting it back on the road. Wisely, he didn’t go about restoring it, so it still sports its original paint and is largely unmodified.

In 2018 it was showcased at Detroit auto show alongside a new tribute model, and following that appearance it became the 21st vehicle inducted into the Historic Vehicle Association’s (HVA) National Historic Vehicle Register. Its documentation, photographs and history will be archived in the U.S. Library of Congress.

ACM will be holding a screening of Bullitt and a Q&A with Sean Kiernan in late January. For details visit americascarmuseum.org

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