The 1968 Ford Mustang GT driven by Steve McQueen in the legendary chase scene in the movie “Bullitt” has been sold for $3.74 million, including fees and commissions.
“It is the Mona Lisa of Mustangs,” said Dana Mecum of Florida-based Mecum Auctions, which sold the car. The price was about 25% higher than his presale estimate, which he had considered somewhat optimistic. “It’s a record auction price for any Mustang ever sold,” he said.
The reaction from the seller, Sean Kiernan, a Kentucky horse farmer, was even more succinct: “Holy smokes!”
His father bought the car in 1974 for $3,500 after seeing a classified ad in Road & Track magazine. The Highland Green fastback, rusty and banged-up from use, was driven as Robert Kiernan’s everyday car— he didn’t care that it was from a movie. “He just wanted a ’68 fastback,” said his son. Robert Kiernan died in 2014.
The Mustang does have nearly all of its original parts, something that is important to collectors, including a spate of performance modifications that were made to increase the power of its 390-cubic-inch V8 for the chase scene.
The winning bid was made by a telephone bidder whose identity was not disclosed — typical of such auctions. Mecum said he had no idea what the new owner intends to do with the car.
Kiernan said he was unconcerned with what happens to it next.
“I feel really good,” he added. “It topped every expectation I had for it.”
McQueen himself, along with three professional stuntmen, had piloted the car in the 10-minute chase sequence through the hilly streets of San Francisco. McQueen crunched the left front fender when he plowed, unscripted, into a parked car during filming. The fender still bears the scars.
McQueen, who died in 1980, tried to buy back the car in 1977 when he tracked down Kiernan’s father. The family retained it and used it as an around-town errand-runner until its clutch gave out a few years later. It had been in storage since then.