By on March 12, 2008

08mustangbullitt_tease.jpgSpecial edition vehicles should be exactly that. They should offer something exceptional enough to tempt you to dig deeper in your pocket and drive away in a vehicle that's, well, special. “Investment” and historical issues aside, the Mustang Shelby GT didn’t provide a look and feel that justified the massive amount of extra coin demanded by dealers. By the same token, The Bullitt Mustang succeeds. It’s truly a unique set of wheels.

It’s easy to miss/dismiss the Bullitt Mustang as a Secretary’s Special. The Bullitt eschews all the fake hood scoop and plastic louver jewelry associated with modded ‘Stangs. The Ford style team stripped all chrome and badging from the GT’s exterior, deleted the spoiler. They added a satin aluminum grill surround (in honor of the ‘68’s chrome bumper), a Bullitt badge on the trunk lid and dark grey Bullitt “Torq Thrust” wheels. And called it good.

08mustangbullitt_30_hr.jpgIn either the standard Highland Green, or Satin Black, the Bullitt Mustang echoes the subdued style of the 1968 movie car as closely as the D2C platform and modern dynamics allow. The only aesthetic imperfection: the trunk doesn’t allow a true “fastback” rear end. In fact, it renders a slight “cat in heat” rear-in-the-air look.  (Thank God for the subdued paint.)

Taken as a whole, the Ford Mustang GT Bullitt oozes understated cool. Forsaking Roush-style flash prevalent in Ford’s other special edition Mustangs, the Bullitt Mustang channels the aura of Lieutenant Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen). In your mind’s eye, you can see the Bullitt Mustang laying in wait, ready to pounce on any black Charger that speeds by in the hills of San Francisco…

1_08mustangbullitt_06.jpgThe interior design team mistook understatement for underdevelopment. On the positive side, they nabbed the highly-bolstered and supremely comfortable seats from the GT500. On the negative side, everything else. To wit: the lame-looking plastic Bullitt badge on the steering wheel . The dash boasts aluminum trim from a Starbucks countertop. The dashboard itself feels as brittle and old as the stone steps of ancient Petra. Ford doesn’t give you the upgraded stitched leather top; it’s a major omission on a special edition.

The Bullitt’s Shaker 500 stereo pumps out Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian” with teeth-rattling base, but sounds slightly weak when screeching out Celine Dion’s latest (don’t ask me how I know that). Ford’s standard green-toothpick digital display dominates the center console. (Oh for the chrome-knobbed stereo of 1968!) The leather-covered seats are fashioned from a higher grade of cow than the abysmal standard interior, but you’re still left wondering if the material came from a bovine or an oil field.

08mustangbullitt_14_hr.jpgNever mind. The sound the Bullitt Mustang’s 315bhp (15bhp more than stock) 4.6-liter V8 makes rivals Alfa Romeo’s aural porn. The ‘Stang’s mill is soft and burbly at idle. Press the hammer down and the powerplant erupts into a tirade violent enough to make presidential candidates shut up and take notice (not to mention the Secret Service’s adrenalin rush). Ford says it spent $10m revising the Bullitt’s exhaust note to mimic Steve McQueen’s ’68 fastback. If Ford spent every $10m to such great effect, bankruptcy rumors would cease to exist.

And yes, it’s fast. Coupled with a GT500 3:73 shortened rear axle ratio, the Bullitt launches to 60mph with tire smoking squeal and axle tramp (just like the movie!) in five seconds flat.

08mustangbullitt_11_hr.jpgThe machined aluminum shifter knob connected to a close-ratio, short-shift Tremec five-speed adds to the excitement. Smooth, quick and assuring, the shifter puts Hurst’s Shelby GT stick-in-sand shifter to absolute shame. Ford also included machined aluminum pedals positioned to facilitate heel and toeing– providing you’re wearing large shoes.

Ford borrowed many of the Shelby GT’s suspension components to liven-up, I mean “improve,” the standard GT’s handling. Turn-in defies the muscle car mass, and progressive feedback provides driving thrills all the way up to about eight tenths. Then the Bullitt shows how heavy it really is, yells uncle and steps the rear end out in smokey, Hollywood tail-slide glory.

08mustangbullitt_27_hr.jpgThe Bullitt’s ride quality sacrifices those extra two-tenths of handling ability to offer some daily usability. The ride of the Mustang Bullitt mimics not the original 1968 movie car, but a 2003 BMW 5-series. The Bullitt bounces dramatically only over the worst patches of interstate. Ford also skimped on the brakes to keep the price down. They stop long and fade quickly compared to the Bullitt’s competitors.

While not quite perfect, the Mustang GT Bullitt edition comes as close as the current body style allows. The Mustang Bullitt does more than the Shelby GT, with more style and some $6K less wedge. It echoes the original character of not only the movie car but the King of Cool himself. Aside from the tatty interior, the Ford Mustang GT Bullitt is what all Mustangs should be. 

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68 Comments on “2008 Ford Mustang GT Bullitt Review...”


  • avatar
    frontline

    Thanks for the test Mike, I really like that car

    I hope, for our economy that I am in the minority, but I would not buy anything right now with that kind of gas mileage.

  • avatar
    lprocter1982

    It’s too bad that the only good cars Ford builds are ‘special’ ones sold in limited numbers. And people wonder why Ford is broke.

  • avatar
    Buick61

    Of all of the special editions of the Mustang, this is the only one done completely right. Finally.  

  • avatar
    FromBrazil

    Too bad about the interior and the lousy economy (as another poster said), but I’d love a car like this. This Mustang does look right. So much so that even though I’m no fan of green cars, this one looks cool in green.

    With the new Charger and Camaro coming out I sure hope that for the sake of Ford’s future, they don’t botch the redesign.

    On a side note, could this car manage a four-pot and still have day-to-day drivability (a smidgeon of performance)? Or is it just too heavy?

  • avatar
    AKM

    That’s a really good-looking mustang right there. Would be even hotter as a fastback.

    And yes, it’s likely to be a disappearing breed -again- when gas hits $4 a gallon.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I thought the Mustang would be toast when the Camaro and Challenger came out because of the Mustangs cheapo interior, but now that we’ve seen the parts bin interior of the Challenger and the spy photos of the oh so ugle Camaro interior, the Mustang should be all right.

    PS: If you hate the turned aluminum on the dash, you should see what the dash looks like plain!

  • avatar
    GS650G

    luv the crossbrace in the engine compartment, memories of old mustangs there.

    The real buyers of this car will be the 50 somethings looking for a toy, and there is nothing wrong with that,

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Hey!!! What else can you ask for a factory installed short ram intake, strutt bars etc etc.

    what do you expect on a gas mileage on this kind of a car of course it’s like drinking softdrink but still it’s a Mustang.

  • avatar
    geoff03

    Does it still have a live rear axle or did they throw in independent rear suspension?

    I never understood the live rear axle thing in a rear wheel drive car, seems a bit, umm, unsafe.

  • avatar
    alpha94

    I still don’t think it’s worth the extra $$$ for this “special” version.

  • avatar
    Matthew Danda

    I think America is ready now for the Probe, the Mustang replacement. Lighter, better gas mileage, etc. Too bad it was introduced 15 years too early.

  • avatar
    Matthew Danda

    geoff03:

    I never understood the live rear axle thing in a rear wheel drive car, seems a bit, umm, unsafe.

    It is my understanding that there are three reasons:

    1. Cost
    2. The tuner crowd likes to fiddle with it
    3. Cost

  • avatar
    Johnson Schwanz

    Regardless of what anyone can say, this is automotive excellence. No frills, just good looks, great sounds, and decent total performance, all at a relatively low price.

    Me likes.

  • avatar

    Live axles are cheap to make and are damn near impossible to break in the Mustang’s natural habitat: the drag strip. It isn’t a bad idea when you ask import racers how much they love replacing snapped axle shafts on their drag stars.

    Nice review, Captain! But aluminum trim from a Starbucks? We need to show some love for the same engine-turned (effect) trim used by Smokey and the Bandit Trans Ams back in the 1970s!

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Not wanting to sneak a QOTD in from the side, but: What Car Would Frank Bullitt Drive (…if he were around here today)?

    A natty, irreverent detective in SF who listens to jazz music with his English girlfriend: I don’t think Bullitt would have a Bullitt. More likely, a Subaru or a 1-series or a GTI?

    Excellent review, Capt Mike. But I think nostalgia isn’t reason enough to drive a nostalgic car.

  • avatar
    Qusus

    Sweet review, sweet car… that Shaker 500 is terrible though (despite the gaudy numbers on paper). Lots of muddy bass, terrible highs…

    Question: if the car didn’t look so cool, is it still worth the price premium over the standard GT? Are the handling benefits substantial enough?

    Also, when is TTAC gonna review the regular Mustang GT, I thought Sajeev did one awhile ago but I can’t find it in the archives so maybe I imagined it.

  • avatar

    I think America is ready now for the Probe, the Mustang replacement. Lighter, better gas mileage, etc. Too bad it was introduced 15 years too early.

    I’ve always liked Ford Mustangs, and a fuel-efficient version would be great. The only thing is, the Probe wasn’t that pretty, and the FWD is an issue. Same issue with the Mustang II. I think they should make a Fox II chassis, with reduced NVH and a more powerful base four-cylinder engine. Make it look like the ’94-04 models, and I think you’d have a good Mustang. Hope they make something nice soon, this bodystyle is old and dated with today’s fuel economy.

  • avatar
    autoacct628

    $10 million for the friggin' exhaust note? Fiscal sanity has left the building. IF 15k sales, that is $667 per vehicle which could have been used to improve the interior. I doubt if ONE extra sale will occur due to the exhaust note…most buyers will have already made up their minds by looking at it. Can't imagine even one dude blowing off a salesman by saying.."Nope…I WAS gonna buy it, but the exhaust note is just sucky." That $10 million is why Ford and the rest of the D2.8 will be bankrupt or bought out by 2015….as a beancounter myself, I know what happens when vehicle design has too much emphasis on financial constraints….great vehicles do not result. However, when some fiscal discipline is not involved, the same thing happens, AND companies do not survive. If the $10 mill had been prudently invested in a tangible, measurable improvement in drivability or performance or comfort or safety, as a finance and business professional, I would be applauding Ford and rooting for this vehicle. Because the cheddar was wasted on something so lamely subjective and non-value added, I find the car, good as it may be, somewhat lessened. As a former shareholder of Ford, I am appalled at the fiscal irresponsibility.

  • avatar

    Sajeev,

    My neighbor has the Bandit Trans-Am. God what a absolutely horrible/incredibly awesome car. I forgot about the dash until you reminded me. But when I was writing the review… at Starbucks… I ordered a Triple Grande, Skinny, Light Caramel Machiato (with no whip), looked down, and saw the Mustang Dashboard underneath my cup. I had to include it!

    P.S. Steve McQueen laughs at your LeMons Lincoln! My Audi Quattro will eat it alive! (and some differentials as we found out…..)

    Martin,

    I agree that nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake doesn’t make for a good car. But if you take away any association with the movie “Bullitt”, this modded ‘Stang still comes off as just a plain, good Mustang. Its what the GT should have been from the start.

    P.S. If Steve McQueen were alive today, I see him in a Ford F-150 FX4. Might not handle like the ‘Stang, but still has the same character….

  • avatar

    Great review – it makes me wonder if parts will be available to perform the conversion on a regular GT.

  • avatar

    I doubt $10m was truly invested in the exhaust note, because as autoacct points out that just doesn’t make sense.

    I can report that, on the reliability front, the current generation Mustang seems to be about bulletproof (no pun intended). Owners are reporting very few repairs on the 2006 and 2007.

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    autoacct628 : I doubt many potential buyers would be turned off if the exhaust note wasn’t amazing, but I think you’re looking at it wrong. Think about how many people that were on the fence might be turned ON by the exhaust note, making it the factor that tips the scales towards buying a Mustang over a Camaro or Challenger. I’m a Chevy driver myself, but I can’t deny that my 6.0L LS2 has nothing sound-wise on a Stang V8. If this sells for $35k per car, they only need to sell 286 of them to make back that $10 mil in revenue (I’m aware that $10mil in revenue is nowhere close to $10mil in profit, but you get the point)

  • avatar
    gakoenig

    There is nothing about this vehicle, in comparison to a bone stock Mustang, that is worth $10M in R&D. Nothing.

    Entire tuning companies don’t spend 1/100th of that cooking up custom cars for customers where the modified part count far far exceeds what the Bullet blings up.

    Even in the most Byzantine bureaucracy, this project shouldn’t take 2-3 engineers and as many supply chain boffins 2-3 months to “develop” (read, change the finish spec and source some aftermarket bits).

    Of course, it is Ford, so anything is possible. That they would brag about spending $10M on tuning an exhaust should be a wake-up call to any of the company’s shareholders.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    “I never understood the live rear axle thing in a rear wheel drive car, seems a bit, umm, unsafe.”

    “Live axles are cheap to make and are damn near impossible to break in the Mustang’s natural habitat: the drag strip.”

    And the biggest reason for live rear axles is that they largely eliminate the unsolvable problem in IRS cars: Axle hop. Axle hop elimination is the easiest and cheapest way of improving ET’s.

    I sincerely hope the CHallengers and Camaros can succeed in this market, given the insurmountable disadvantages of their IRS.

  • avatar

    I’d buy the car just for the exhaust note. But then, that’s me.

  • avatar
    shrique

    Just a question. I’m not familiar with live axle setups, is it always the case that a live axle will snap the rear end up like crazy when braking?

    I watched a show that had video of this and the GT500 and it always seemed like the side to side roll was under control but as soon as you brake it dives like crazy.

  • avatar
    Turbo G

    The exhaust note may actually be the best thing about the Mustang. It has always been a strong point regardless of how we might feel about the rest of the car.

  • avatar

    Qusus: Here is the review, keep in mind I have one in the Mehta’s Mustang corral and I call it the Yacht model.

    Other things:

    1. Betcha that Bullitt exhaust note is straight from the FRPP catalog. If the guys at Ford Racing spent $10m on that catback exhaust, they dined on caviar and Dom Perignon during the course of that project.

    2. Mercury needs the modern-day Probe to go with their more feminine persona. Remember which demographic really scooped up those rides back in the 1990s…

    3. If all GTO’s axle hop like the one I tested, the Mustangs live axle is just fine by me.

    4. That engine turned aluminum trim wasn’t part of the original Mustang, nor the Bullitt. This is a pure Pontiac throwback, but it works in this application. Heaven forbid the G8 uses that stuff when it arrives.

    5. The automotive aftermarket will have all these Bullitt goodies for any 2005+ Mustang. Badges, exhaust, trim, etc. I’d get a regular GT and grab a Mustang enthusiast magazine.

  • avatar

    shrique: uneven pavement while cornering/braking sends live axles shaking. OEMs rarely do it right: after market panhard bars, watts-link, etc upgrades keep a live axle planted quite well. Its still not as smooth as IRS, but go for a spin in a Griggs-tuned Mustang and you will see the light.

  • avatar
    Strippo

    The Bullitt’s Shaker 500 stereo pumps out Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian” with teeth-rattling base, but sounds slightly weak when screeching out Celine Dion’s latest (don’t ask me how I know that).

    Dude.

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    I suggest $10 million be spent on putting the drive train and chassis setup of a Sierra Cosworth RS500 in the Mustang body.

    anyone can just plant their foot on the throttle over a quarter mile, bends are much more fun.

    At least fix the brakes.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    I wonder why in the movie Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift they used an old Mustang to drift against a Nissan Fairlady.

    Actually a lot of American Drifters used mustangs to drift in D1 competition.

    Axel problem on a Mustang just don’t add up.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=MUSTANG+DRIFTING&search_type=

    Just check this out

  • avatar
    Orian

    I love the exterior of this car…hate the interior.

    As for the exhaust, if it is bought by a Mustang enthusiast you can just about gaurantee they are going to swap it out for something else.

    It would be nice to see a crop of smaller RWD 4cyl. coupes crop up…Hyundai looks like they will be the first with one which is a surprise.

  • avatar
    Mud

    I can’t believe that you mentioned both this car and Celine Dion in the same review.

  • avatar

    Strippo and Mud,

    It was on the radio when I got in… I swear!

    I listen to Jimi Hendrix “The Experience” in my Audi Quattro…. permanently…. because it won’t eject the disk…..

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    It’s a pity this car isn’t just the regular Mustang GT.

    Companies should put their best effort forward as the mainstream car, not make use pay for it as a more expensive special edition – particularly when we’re not talking about the difference between a 328i and M3 here.

    Anyone remember the MkIV GTI? It was not a good car…If you ponied up for the MkIV R32 or the special edition 337 model, then it was truly enjoyable. VW did it right with the MkV GTI by making the mainstream version their best effort (better than the R32 in this case).

    It’s one thing to want to keep the base price down, but it’s wholly another to just deprive people of a superior product.

  • avatar

    Justin,

    The Ferrari F430 Scuderia is another example, and the Aston Martin DBS vs. DB9, the Porsche GT3 RS vs the GT3… it goes on and on!

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @Martin
    “Not wanting to sneak a QOTD in from the side, but: What Car Would Frank Bullitt Drive (…if he were around here today)?”

    Anybody remebering the Ford Puma? It was a Fiesta-based coupe Ford had in Europe in the late 90s. The TV ads for it featured a digitally resurrected McQueen.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    1968 Ford Mustang Bullitt GT390 and its latest The Bullitt Mustang is an icon in the world of classic american cars.

    This car is just another version of the GT390 an American Icon. compared to Mazda Protege now called Mazda 3 and 6

  • avatar
    Sanman111

    If I had to step up from a base v-6 ‘stang, this is the only one I would consider. I dislike all the other ‘special’ mustangs or the regular GT.

  • avatar
    TriShield

    I have an LS2 GTO that averages 17-19mpg in city traffic on my daily commute. My friends with current Mustang GTs also average about the same per tank.

    If you do the math you really aren’t saving a whole lot of money (unless you drive really really far) passing on a muscle car like this for a car that average 23mpg in city traffic like most FWD appliance sedans on our roads today.

    I think the satifaction of owning a car like this (Smiles Per Gallon) is also worth it’s weight in gold (and greenbacks).

  • avatar
    rudiger

    As per the exhaust, on the ‘International Mustang Bullitt Owners Club’ (www.imboc.com), someone posted that they took apart their exhaust and found that the $10m modification is nothing more than a baffle with a small hole installed in the crossover pipe. It probably has the louder mufflers from the GT350, too, though.

    As per the price for the Bullitt package, it’s actually quite a good deal. A GT Premium Mustang with the GT trim items that are included with the Bullitt package takes it to within something like $1500 of the price of a Bullitt.

    The Bullitt Mustang is easily worth an additional $1500 over the price of an equivalently priced GT Premium Mustang.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    Re: expensive exhaust noises

    Reportedly when the Mazda Miata was originally designed, an immense number of exhausts were tried and rejected until Miata engineers achieved just the perfect exhaust note. I wonder what this cost in today’s dollars.

    I have looked under the hood on numerous BMW M-3s and M5′s and admired the nice work on the subwoofers (subwoofers!) that are engineered to enhance the exhaust sounds.

    So it doesn’t strike me as particularly noteworthy that Ford spent a hunk on the Bullit’s exhaust sound

  • avatar
    umterp85

    I have always been smitten with the Bullitt Mustang concept for its stealthness.

    In fact when the new Mustang came out in 2005 I purchased the closest thing I could get to it in look and color—Mineral Grey (greenish grey), no sopiler, no boy racer add-ons—as stealth as I could get it.. Now that the “real” Bullitt is out—-it is really making me think I have some news to break to the wife.

  • avatar
    hugh sutherland

    I do have to laugh when writers go on about gas consumption and efficient little motors. It’s like saying Dolly Parton would be more efficient if she were a 34b cup.She’d be an old Keira Knightley .Cars like this you buy for the V8 rumble and the style. This car is the anti-Corolla and at a good price, too.
    Party on, Bullitt!

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    I remember seeing that Puma ad when I was in Europe, circa 2000. I remember thinking “Bullitt in what amounts to a Ford Ka? Really? But this review (and comments) really show how far we’ve come from our stereotype-laden past. If ‘Stang loving, red blooded military types like our Captain Solo listen to Celine Dion and order Starbucks drinks requiring more than three adjectives, then why not put Bullitt in a Puma!

    I kid of course. The Bullitt is the only latter-day Mustang that’s ever really appealed to me. It’s great to hear that it drives as well as it looks driving by.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    On the exhaust note, uh note. While nobody is going to say “I was going to buy it but that exhaust note is horrible”, they might say something like, “Whoahohohoho!” when the car is started up, if it has a good exhaust note. I remember the first time I heard the sound of the “New” Mustang GT in a parking lot. The sound when that car started up brought a smile to my face and lust to my heart. If they really did nail the sound of a ’68 Mustang with the new Bullitt edition Mustang, I’m sure it sounds even better (I own a ’68 Mustang, and they do sound nice, IMO).

    On the other hand, count me in the WTF camp regarding the metallic dash. I like fiddling with older cars and I’m pretty sure that any suspension mods that they made wouldn’t be too difficult or expensive to do myself. I’d look into after market parts to see just how much it would cost me to start with a Mustang GT and make a Bullitt Mustang sans the truck bumper dash rather than buy an “actual” Bullitt Mustang.

  • avatar

    From a rear suspension geometry standpoint, a live axle CAN (not necessarily IS, but can) be designed with greater anti-squat and less axle tramp than an IRS. It depends in part on how the rear end is sprung and how well it’s located. A lot of vintage muscle cars had serious problems with axle tramp unless you resorted to adding traction bars or other tricks. (Older Mopars, for instance, had Hotchkiss drive with the axle mounted closer to the leading edge of the leaf springs. On hard acceleration the front side of the spring, being shorter, was effectively stiffer than the rear, acting kind of like a poor man’s traction bar; the consequence, however, was that in braking the rear end would hop around like mad.)

    A live axle is not a liability on the drag strip or even on a smooth race track. Where it sucks is in the real world on uneven pavement, where the lack of independent wheel motion and the high unsprung weight become problems.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    I don’t know what Frank Bullitt would drive today, but Steve McQueen would probably have a stable of cars, trucks, and bikes. A look through Jay Leno’s garage could probably tell you what Steve McQueen would drive. I’m sure he would have a Porsche 911 of some type, a Ford GT for sure, and, I’m pretty sure he would have a Chevy truck, afterall, he did have a ’58 Chevy Fleetside in his collection that was sold last year, I believe. Other than that, he would probably have a number of other performance cars and at least a handful of bikes from various generations.

  • avatar
    rtz

    I saw this car and the Shelby in person last weekend and they both looked really good. Price, performance, weight; I’ll pass.

    The V6 model in comparison looks terrible.

    The pictures make it look like just another Mustang. Standing there by it, it seems really small all things considered. Might be a trick of light from the color.

    One of those “yeah it looks nice, but I’d never buy one type cars”.

  • avatar
    Strippo

    P.S. If Steve McQueen were alive today, I see him in a Ford F-150 FX4. Might not handle like the ‘Stang, but still has the same character….

    You are wrong, of course. Not because it’s a bad guess, but because you’re not Steve McQueen. If he were alive today Steve McQueen would be driving something that never occurred to you or me. And it would be perfect. It would be perfect because he’s Steve, and we’re not.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    Glad someone at Ford who likes cars got the nod. I know there are good people working at ford in design and product development and engineering. Looks like a fun project.

    Lose the stereo. Forbid TV screen on dash.

    Exhaust sound, OK. Intake snarl, OK.

    Get it to 25 mpg real world or I would only drive it for one day as a loaner from my 70 year old mother in law who might buy one. She has blond hair and my dad’s money. I am OK with that.

    (I don’t have anybody nearby that goes to track.)

    I am a green, euro-faggot-wanna-be with the money Ford wants but just not their target audience.

    So, it competes with another bicycle or kayak or a 08 ninja for spare time fun. I would buy a brazilian repro porsche 550 or 356 over this as weekend toy for mid 20s. Not a new Miata which has no less than 4 cupholders for 2 occupants one of which digs into my left leg…

  • avatar
    rudiger

    “I don’t know what Frank Bullitt would drive today, but Steve McQueen would probably have a stable of cars, trucks, and bikes.“Steve McQueen did have a stable of cars, trucks, and bikes.

    As to what Frank Bullitt would drive today, one should remember that back in 1968, musclecars were the norm. A 390GT fastback Mustang just wasn’t that big of a deal back then. Additionally, it’s worth noting that 390 Fords were among the slowest of the era’s musclecars, too. In any event, the car was chosen specifically as something believable that a San Francisco police detective would have as his personal transportation.

    As to what a San Francisco police detective would normally be driving today as his own car, Prius anyone?

    Nonetheless, as ‘special edition’ Mustangs go, the Bullitt is pretty darn nice. It would have been even nicer if, as stated in the review, Ford would have popped for the stitched dash that’s available on other new Mustangs. It would have brought the Bullitt even closer to the original (all of the sixties’ Mustangs had a stitched dash), as well as coughing up the extra cash for a proper vented hood that mimics the ’68 car’s.

  • avatar
    V6

    If they really spent 10m on the exhaust note, no wonder Ford is in so much debt.

    that is completely ridiculous

  • avatar

    Car and Driver rated the most five most famous movie/TV cars

    #1 The Batmobile – a 1979 Lincoln Continental (would you ever guess this?) 159hp, 14 sec 0-60, 19sec 1/4mile @ 70mph, three on the tree. $120k Closest car that Lincoln has today is the MKZ

    #2 The General Lee 69 Charger 383 (although over 90% used in the series were 318′s), 320 cars were used in the series, the first car featured (GL #1) was used in every episode being in the opening credits. Its figures are 4bbl 335hp, 5 sec 0-60, 1/4 mile 16 sec 85mph, 3 speed A-727 torque flight. $3,600. Way slower than the 440, R/T, Daytona or Hemi 69 Chargers. Dodge now has a new Charger.

    #3 The Ford Falcon Interceptor from Mad Max, a 73 “XB” Falcon Coupe from Australia. A hard car to find nowadays. 300-hp, 0-60 in 8.2 secs, 1/4 mile in 16 secs @ 85mph, 4 speed manual, price unknown. Probably the closest car to this would be the Ford Focus SES

    #4 The Delorean DMC12 from Back to the Future. 130hp, 0-60 14.1 secs, 1/4 mile 19 1/2 secs @70mph, 3 speed auto, sells for $57,500 today

    #5 The 74 Ford Gran Torino from Starsky and Hutch, I cannot find out much about this car, perhaps someone else knows the stats

    What would your top five be? Suggestions are the above plus;

    Bullitt (390 GT Mustang)
    KITT from Knightrider (82 Pontiac Trans Am)
    The A-Team Van (83 GMC G-series)
    The ‘Saint’s’ car (Volvo P1800)
    Magnum PI’s car (Ferrari 308 GTS)
    Herbie from The Love Bug (69 VW Beetle)
    The Flintmobile
    Inspector Morse’s Car (Jaguar MK VII)
    Mr Bean (old Mini)
    The Italian Job (new Mini Cooper S)
    Gone in Sixty Seconds (67 Shelby GT)
    The Shag-fantastic Goldmember car (Jag XK8 E type)
    James Bond Car (Aston Martin DB5 is my choice)
    Blues Brothers Car (1974 Dodge Monaco)
    Christine (58 Plymouth Fury)
    Grease (48 Ford)
    Ghostbusters (59 Cadillac Ambulance)
    Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (61 Ferrari 250 GT)
    Smokey and the Bandit (77 Pontiac Trans Am)
    Waynes World (AMC Pacer)
    Vanishing Point (1970 Challenger R/T 400)
    Rebel without a Cause (1949 Mercury Series 9CM Coupe)

    So again, which five would you pick as the top five movie/TV cars of all time, and would Bullitt be in the top five? Is Ford onto a good thing? And lastly, when will Chrysler build the Flintmobile replica, or has it already?

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Steve McQueen did have a stable of cars, trucks, and bikes.

    And, that’s the reason for my answer.

    So again, which five would you pick as the top five movie/TV cars of all time, and would Bullitt be in the top five?

    Top five recognizable movie/TV cars or type five that I would like to own?

    Top 5 that I would love to own (in no particular order:
    1) 1970 Challenger R/T
    2) Ford Falcon Interceptor
    3) Ferrari 308 GTS
    4) 400Bullitt Mustang
    5) 48 Ford hotrod

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    Call me crazy, but i could see Bullitt rocking the 200hp De-Hybridized Insight we featured yesterday. That thing would fly over those ‘Frisco hills…

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Closing arguement

    We all know that the Mustang is an American Icon just like the Corvette or the Cadillac. This car is what America is all about big, fast and tough.

    But We tend to lean on the Japanese and Europeans cars because the way they built their cars.

    The Ford Mustang is not all about that it is an American Brand that we can brag about with the rest of the world and We will continue building this extraordinary car that Americans Love and Hate.

  • avatar
    skor

    What would Steve McQueen be driving today? Probably the original surviving ’68 fastback, if he could get the current owner to sell.

    There were two identical Mustangs used in the movie, one for the chase scene, and another for everything else. The chase car was trashed after filming was over, so it was sent to the crusher. The second car was sold to a studio employee. From there it ended up with a real cop in New Jersey. At one point, in the late 70′s, McQueen attempted to purchase the car. The owner at the time refused to sell at any price.

    The current owner has the car stored in a barn in Ohio, still wearing its New Jersey plates. Accoding to people who have seen it, the car is in very bad need of a professional restoration. The present owner refuses to sell, but either lacks the cash or motivation to have it restored. A few more years of rotting in humid Ohio summers, and it’ll be too late.

    Here’s a web site dedicated to rotting American muscle. It’s a lot like what happened to the American dream. http://www.carsinbarns.com/

  • avatar
    casper00

    Power should have been bump up to 350-400hp, if Ford is trying to compete with the like of the vette or other v8 in it’s class so stand a chance.

  • avatar
    law stud

    Holly Molly,

    Will Ford ever stop the themed Mustangs to fend off Chapter 11?

    Freaking waste of effort: Ford’s broke, can’t redesign for a couple more years and sales are going downhill because of the aging design. Brilliant idea, sell, um “more” Mustangs by creating themed mustangs, surely they aren’t cannibalizing Mustang sales to begin with, so they are not pointless right? Or rather just a marketing gimmick to get people to pay more.

    I guess idiots think the “premium” car themed Mustang is worth the premium price bump.

  • avatar

    Steve would drive a 335i (with tasteful custom hood vents and M3 side vents to take care of cooling cyls. 5&6) as his daily, a V8 Vantage as his weekend car and an Exige S240 as his summer/track car (~sim. to this with a cooler interior: http://www.lotusofgreenwich.com/soldcars.php?cat=lotus&carid=1586 ); -all in flat black or metallic pavement grey, and XXL flat black truck nuts out back.

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    This is a fair review. The interior is better than described and in keeping with the utilitarian nature of ’60s muscle-car interiors given that modern standards have eliminated many of the ubiquitous shiny metal bits strewn around the dashboards of cars from the movie’s era. I agree the brakes should have been upgraded further and the stitched dashtop would have been a proper gesture from Ford to buyers.

    As Trant Jarman once wrote, “There’s nothing wrong with a solid axle. It keeps the tires perpendicular to the road.” Yeah, you sacrifice a little ride quality on broken pavement, and a slight lateral slip catches you by surprise now and then. If you don’t get the tires right, maybe a little more than “slight.” People are so forgiving of Porsches, why not this? On the other hand, you get a rear end that’s tough as an anvil and almost as simple to to fix if the pumpkin grenades.

    A problem with Mustangs, mitigated in this version, has been conflicting roll centers between the front and the tail of the car, aggravating brake dive. Also, Ford has traditionally located the rear axle with sheet metal control arms using soft bushings, for lower NVH and better ride quality. Unfortunately, in hard turns that results in some lateral deflection of the axle, moving it a little out of line with the front track. In the current Mustang, Ford mitigated this problem with a panhard rod and a 3 link suspension. However, the factory panhard rod now also has relatively soft bushings in the interests of NVH, so it’s not as effective at precision location of the axle as it could be.

    Drivers among this crowd will want to tighten up their Bullitt. The bits to do it are cheap and stealthy. Mustang ride quality is largely determined by the rear suspension and that live axle’s dynamic behavior. So you can run pretty stiff springs up front to quell the brake dive, and still have a comfortable ride. Conversely, relatively soft springs combined with replacement control arms and panhard rod that use bearings instead of bushings, will free up the rotational ease of the live axle — making it maintain traction more like an IRS (no, I didn’t say “exactly like”) — while eliminating lateral flex that puts the rear axle of older stock Mustangs slightly out of track on hard turns.

    Having built a couple of prior-gen SVT Cobras to overcome these problems, I can attest to how dramatically even the prior platform can be improved to challenge a Porsche in a tight canyon road. The new car’s longer wheelbase and added mass take their toll, but give back in the form of more structural rigidity, better front and rear suspension geometry, and finer steering.

    This Bullitt is nifty as-is, and drives lighter/smaller than it actually is. A few hundred dollars in suspension tweaks and stepping up the shoes would dial it in just right. All of this can be done from the FRPP catalog, but there are scads of independent vendors too. Braking upgrades would be my first stop. Leave the engine alone until the set-up is tweaked, then start finding another 30 naturally-aspirated hp out of that 3 valve mill. A supercharger would be too easy and would undermine the character and balance of this car. Leave that to the Shelby and those cloning it.

    $10mm cloning the ’68 exhaust note….only a huge organization would need that much coin to nail it, but nail it they did.

    Phil

  • avatar
    kjc117

    I don’t understand how this gets 4 stars for a sports car with live rear axle and subpar brakes?

    If this was not a Bullitt Mustang and another sports car with big V-8, cheap interior, live rear axle, and sub par brakes does it get 4 stars?

    I don’t think so.

  • avatar
    arcdiesel

    I have been researching this car a lot recently and I am surprised but it is really getting under my skin and inching towards to the top of my list. Having not seen the movie, I rented it last night, and I have to admit, it was very underwhelming. But that is probably because, like all classics, it was the first to start a trend that we are all very familiar with. I will say, it was surprising how little music was used in the movie. At any rate, this is not a movie review, I just wanted to say that as a younger driver (29), this car is surprisingly appealing. I love the idea of a simplified Mustang.

  • avatar
    darcyb62

    I traded in my 2005 Mustang GT for this car. I loved the GT but this is a much better car. Everything about it is better from acceleration, handling, sound, comfort, looks. While others might argue otherwise the price differential was well worth it. Until you’ve driven both you can’t really judge. For me the price differential was much more than 4000 as I was quite happy with my GT and wouldn’t have traded for anything else.

  • avatar
    bullitt

    I just recently purchased the 2009 Bullitt. I am thoroughly impressed with the car. The power and handling are impressive. My wife and I just took the car on a trip to the Smokies. My biggest problem was that there were too many sightseers in front of me on those hairpin turned roads (grin).


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