By on September 29, 2010

It’s not like I traveled to Paris to look for old American cars. Although there certainly aren’t exactly a lot of vintage French cars on the streets. But the French have always loved American culture, and one of the icons of that is the Mustang. Since they have excellent taste, which particular Mustang might one expect to encounter in traffic? The best one ever.

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47 Comments on “Curbside Classic Outtake: Parisian Bullitt...”

  • avatar

    Wonder what the provincials would think if a Superbird with a hemi burbled by?

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    This picture would have been so much cooler if you had been driving a black Charger:)

  • avatar

    They must really love this car because, like true Parisiens, it smokes prodigiously.
    But, sacre bleu, Paul, what on earth are you doing driving in Paris?!

  • avatar

    It’s not just the French, I saw a few very nice late 60s mustangs on the streets of Oslo this summer and every convenience store had collectors magazines full of american muscle cars for sale.  40 year old old peugeots in Paris, 40 yo Volvos in scandinavia, not so much, 40 yo Fords, they love em

  • avatar

    If you like, I can send pics taken in Zurich:
    – cherry ’69 GTO Judge ragtop in yellow crossing a bridge over the Limatquai,
    – F-series Lightening in black with NHRA labelling parket at the main train station.

    Nearer to home in East Switzerland there can be seen on nice days:
    – red ’69 GT500 ragtop
    – red ‘5? 4-dr version of Christine

    There is even a guy here that does “frame-off” restorations of Mustangs too…

    My buddy just finished a 2 year project to chop a Ford Model A and install a 350 small block, now is going to chop a ca. ’58 Coupe de Ville and turn it into a custom rod…  the original engine was shot, so he is thinking 455 SD drivetrain.

  • avatar

    I dislike the French just a little bit more today

  • avatar

    I was in Paris last summer with the same intention but found little of interest. The only truly old cars that I saw were Renaults from the ’50’s and early ’60’s and not many at that.

    That Mustang is going to need either seals or rings soon; good luck with that over there.

  • avatar

    I wouldn’t own (or at least, drive) a car like that in Paris, not with the way people drive in that city.
    Heck, after a few experiences, I wouldn’t drive there at all.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d take drivers in Europe over us Yankees any day. It may seem more chaotic but they lack our sense of entitlement thus making our morning commutes deadly.

    • 0 avatar

      they lack our sense of entitlement thus making our morning commutes deadly

      Paris is a world apart.  It’s literally the worst I’ve seen outside of Latin America: entitlement isn’t so much the issue as it is willful aggression and a total lack of lane and right-of-way discipline.  Hell, I’ve seen Parisian drivers shove other cars aside in attempts to park, and watched motorcycle drivers whip through traffic with a nearly-Latin-American lack of self-preservation.

      Spend a little time at the Arc de Triomphe and just watch the traffic flow.  Madness.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      I’m more with dswilly. It seems a bit chaotic, but it actually works very well, and drivers stay calm. None of the ridiculous and useless honking that goes on constantly in NYC.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s always cool to see old muscle cars in Europe, the contrast is stunning yet beautiful.
      Driving in Paris is fine so long as you straddle the line between assertiveness and aggressiveness.
      And driving a small car is essential.
      We had a Golf and it felt pretty big there, but this is the same city where a RAV4 size SUV is considered massive.
      The French don’t hold a candle to the German driver, but they wipe the floor with NA drivers IMHO.

    • 0 avatar

      i didn’t have any problems driving in Paris, and i thought the opposite while watching traffic from the top of the Arc de Triomphe.  I thought it was quite orderly on the circle.  In the US there would be brawling in the streets over a traffic circle like that

    • 0 avatar
      martin schwoerer

      Driving is remarkably easy in Paris. You just gotta know the rules.
      It’s similar to driving in Italy: you use your peripheral vision. You don’t indicate. It’s your own responsibility to make sure you don’t hit anybody in front of you. Don’t worry about anybody behind you.
      If you try to enter a junction and wait for everybody to let you in, you lose, and you then get the impression that everybody is rude. The opposite is the case.
      I’m not a very good driver and I say it’s not only easy, it’s fun to drive in Paris. Mike Solowiow is an excellent driver and he liked it in Paris just as much as I do. Take it from us!

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    If you want to see tons of gorgeous classic American iron in pristine condition, visit Stockholm on a sunny day in summer.

  • avatar

    Nice.. is this driver signalling or a victim of failed tail lights? Looks smoky too, or is that the windshield glare?

  • avatar

    Judging by the silver on black license plate, that Bullitt has lived in France since it was new, or nearly so. The 92 department code on the plate is from Hauts-de-Seine (Nanterre), which isn’t far from Paris.

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    I hereby DEMAND a CC of a Cirtroen C2V or anything from the WW2 era like you see in the movies! I’m sure a Sherman tank, plus many allied and axis vehicles would be welcome, too.

  • avatar

    He’s a brave man if he ever drives it around the Arc de Triumphe roundabout. 1 accident every 11 minutes apparently, and the only place in France where insurance companies immediately consider liability to be 50/50.

  • avatar

    The most famous Mustang maybe but not the best.  The Mustang 390 was a slug.  During the shooting of Bullitt they had to put skinnier tires in an attempt to let the Mustang catch up.

    • 0 avatar

      The concept of a 390 in a 1st gen mustang always fascinated me.  Take a car that was badly front-heavy even with a 289 then drop that massively heavy FE block engine over the front axle.  I always suspected that a guy might be able to lift the rear tires off the ground by hand.  The 390 was a great engine for torquing on down to the grocery store in your Dad’s Country Squire, but in a Mustang, not so much.

    • 0 avatar

      From what I’ve read, the 2 Bullitt movie Mustangs (one an actual Shelby GT390 and the other a mustang w/390 built to look identical – the chrome exhaust cutouts in some of the “slow” scenes were the of the actual GT390 and the “fast” scenes were mostly the other Mustang) were modified (engines and suspension) whereas the 2 Chargers were pretty much stock.  And even so, the Chargers were still faster, flying hubcaps and all.  I have an old VHS copy of Bullitt from the late 80s but never bought a DVD with the extra behind the scenes info – yet.

    • 0 avatar

      Ya gotta give the 390 a break. The Dodge was a 440 Wedge. It was waaay faster on the straights than the ‘stang ever could be. Notice when they’re jumping the hills though just how front heavy the Dodge was. The ‘stang was a much better balanced car and was a much better drive for the time.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    When I was in New Zealand, I briefly escaped from the family to a “licensed facility” owned by the local coal miner’s union. Upon finding out I was an American Attorney, they immediately besieged me with a torrent of questions about legendary and openly lusted after Mustangs and Corvettes et al. It completely refuted one of the standing premises of this web site: i.e., the innate superiority of things European. In NZ, you can buy  Alfas, Citroens, Renaults, Lancias or any other shoddy European garbage to your heart’s content. The cars the average contributor proclaims their professed undying fealty and lust for.
    But where you can buy that European junk that is only vaporware in the new world, it is only American muscle that rules the imagination of the locals.

  • avatar

    Look, it’s a Lancia.

  • avatar

    I bicycled in Paris in 1989, and I didn’t find it scary at all. On the other hand, I did get gridlocked on Rue de Rivoli, because the cars were so close together that I could not squeeze through them. Very nice to see photos of Paris. More, please!

  • avatar

    It’s not a ’75’ plate though so if I’m not mistaken this car resides outside Paris.

  • avatar

    Definitely done up to resemble the Bullitt car, but no way of knowing it’s packing a 390.

    It’s true, though, that the big-block cars aren’t always the most desirable. Were 427 Corvettes faster outright than even fuelie small-blocks? Probably, but you sacrificed a lot in weight and handling balance. Same for Mustangs, Camaros and even 289 Cobras. And Mopar fans knew the 340 was often the best choice for Challengers and Barracudas.

    Pontiac really had various displacements of the same engine, save for the large-journal 421, 428 and 455. Again, though, the hottest Firebirds and GTO’s came with 400’s.

    Give me a 351 Cleveland over a 390 any day.

    • 0 avatar

      The ‘chase scene’ in that movie has been run so many times…….

      I drove a ’65 with a 289 and it was really a nice car to drive. It was new, and I was only 15 at the time, so I might have said the same thing about a ’52 Plymouth.

      I’ve owned two Fords in my time; a ’62 Falcon and a ’65 Econoline. They had 6’s in them so they only count as basic transportation. But, the nicest Mustang (OK, the only other one) I drove was my buddy’s ’69 Mach 1, in the summer of ’69.. It would cruise nicely @ 110mph and still have room for more. I loved the sound of that engine! And this from a diehard GM lover.

  • avatar

    JJ is correct. Cars that live in Paris have license plates ending in 75.

  • avatar

    here’s my review of a Citroen 2cv

  • avatar

    92, however, is Hauts-de-Seine, which makes up the western suburbs of Paris, including a lot of the larger corporate headquarters and the La Defense business district. So the car is registered in one of the wealthier suburbs just outside the city proper.

    I once had a rental car with 92 plates, and was asked by people if I was from the area.

    The last two digits of a French plate indicate the department (about equal to a county in size and stature) in which it’s registered.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    D*mn, we actually had good looking cars back then.  The new ‘stang is a better machine, but that ’67 is da bomb!

  • avatar

    I was in Stockholm for a few days several summers ago, and caught a glance of an old muscle car. GTO or 442 I think, I didn’t get a good look at it. The rest of the city was like that ending scene from Top Gear with the Fiat 500s – Volvo V70…Volvo V70…Volvo V70…Volvo V70…Volvo V70…Volvo V70…Volvo V70…Volvo V70…Volvo V70…Volvo V70…Volvo V70…Volvo V70… and a Saab. One Saab.

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    I didn’t know they sold Lancias in France.

  • avatar

    If you’ve ever seen the French registration laws, you’d know he is paying a small fortune to put that license plate on.  A 5.0 liter engine is very expensive in France, where they tax by displacement and transmission.  Hopefully it’s a manual…..

  • avatar

    You say the French have always loved American culture? I thought the only things about America they like are Marlboro cigarettes and Jerry Lewis.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    It’s a different plate number, and the gas cap is blacked-out (correct to movie), but here’s another ’68 Bullit Mustang roaming the streets of Paris. 

  • avatar

    Nice. I saw a Buick Grand National parked in Venice. It was some sort of cultural show (we didn’t find out). I even shot a picture.

  • avatar
    Wild Billy

    I know it’s been two years, but if someone is interested…
    I saw this Mustang a few years ago, and from what I heard from it, it sounded more like a 289 than anything else.
    92 is the code for Haut de Seine which is one of the département next to Paris, so very very close. By the way, by 2012 onwards motorised vehicules are gonna use a new system which is more like AB 123 CD and the département code will be written in a small blue rectangle on the right. I have a Mustang here in Puerto Rico, where I live (95 GTS), and as it was said before, having a street legal Mustang in France is freakin’ expensive and I’ll never consider importing one in France. For example, if you can afford a brand new 5.0 Mustang in the US, you’d better stick to a SN95 V6 in France if you consider the maintenance and the gas costs.
    PS: We love American cars, we don’t want them to be Ford Fusion like, we want rumbling V8.

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