By on November 23, 2015

2001 Ford Mustang Bullitt

I’ve stumbled down a deep and dangerous rabbit hole, and it all started with a jerk nearly hitting me. The jerk in question was driving a tuned SN95 Mustang, swerving in and out of lanes on the interstate without signals, and timed his maneuver around my slow van poorly.

It was hard to stay angry, however, as he dropped a gear and the Modular V-8 snarled enticingly. I drove home and opened up some browser tabs. And more. And more still. As I write, I have twenty tabs open, filled with cars for sale, suspension setup tips, and performance parts catalog houses.

I need help. Or winning lottery numbers. That’d be just as good.

I’m rather ashamed, actually. I’ve never driven any sort of pony car. For years, I’ve read about the awful handling, horrendous interior materials, and terrifying winter performance, and never really gave them a serious look when car shopping in the past. That needs to change.

The car that caught my eye is a 2001 Ford Mustang Bullitt, here in an unusual deep blue, which is apparently the limitedest of the three limited colors offered in the movie-inspired special edition. The Bullitt got an uprated suspension over the standard GT, a bit extra power, and those gorgeous Torq-Thrust-inspired alloys.

I’m not sure if the upgrades — that I’m sure are available for a couple grand at the performance parts sites I have open in another tab — are worth the premium over the base GT, but it may pay off down the road for collectors.

Like I mentioned last week, it’s remarkable how the sound a car can affect buying decisions. In this case, the Mustang is great at making bad decisions seem reasonable.

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58 Comments on “Digestible Collectible: 2001 Ford Mustang Bullitt...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Personally I love the Bullitt. It is the only Mustang of that generation that I lust after, however I’d much rather have the Highland Green color, I don’t care how rare blue is.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    When I was looking at cars a few years ago, both SN95 and S197 Mustangs were on the shopping list. It was amazing the difference in feel between the two cars. I drove two otherwise identical similar mileage premium GTs, one an 04 and an 05, and it was night and day. The 04 truly was horribly built. The door panels felt like they were going to come off everytime I closed the door (something I have seen SN95 Mustangs do). The S197 felt more European – tighter, better screwed together, more planted, and everything. On the other hand, there was something incredibly visceral about that SN95. That V8 shook everything more. It was terrifying to drive in a we’ll have lots of inappropriate fun this weekend sort of terrifying. Daily driver? Get the S197, hands down. don’t look back. Weekend fun car? I could see a case to be made for a SN95, especially one of the more roarty ones like a Bullit or Mach 1.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      The SN95/New Edge cars suffered due to Ford’s short-sighted decision to try and make a FWD turd with a Mustang badge on it. There was very little money to develop a new car so what needed to be patched up for the new car was but alot of fox car DNA remained. The S-197 was practically a clean sheet design and is world’s apart ad you mention.

      The lack of refinement really is a feature on the old card making them more muscle car fun ad the list are lower and it makes driving them a bit more exciting closer to sane speeds.

      Unfortunately not a car you want to make mistakes in as they aren’t forgiving and when things go bad the cars 1979 roots can leave you on a stretcher or worse compared to the newer cars ( my mom’s 07 GT flipped in a ditch with minot injuries and a kid decided to hit me head on at 35-40 mph in my 15 GT in the older cars she would likely have died and I would be texting from a hospital ) .

  • avatar
    rcx141

    I’d go for it! Drive it for a couple of years and you will probably sell it for what you paid.

    Incidentally I have a 2015 GT. No fit and finish problems on that car at all, sounds great, and it drives fine in the snow as long as you engage the “snow mode”

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      Few modern mills sound sexier than a Flomastered Modular ‘Stang. I’d go for it too but I would upgrade to an 05-07 S197 for the reasons tjh mentions. Not much more $$$ for a good one and vastly superior car overall. The SN95 is basically just a slightly updated version of the c. 1978 Fox platform.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    It didn’t come with those tasteless lamps up front!
    The tires are about bald, looks like!
    In general, it’s horribly dated!
    The HVAC is the same as on an Explorer!
    Same steering wheel as 97 Crown Vic!
    The back bumper is all warped!

    LAWL, $12k.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Sound is important… Personally, I ONLY want to be able to hear it from up front when I stand on it. Droning exhaust on the highway sucks.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Look at you mister practical! Don’t like 900’s, don’t like engine rawr. Just get a Prius* already!

      *With Blizzaks.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        I like engine rawr, just not for 14 hours straight. If I can hear it at crusing speed with the windows closed, its too loud. Exhaust tuning and volume is an art, I would say.

        Stock nice tunes, such as the VQ or the Audi 3.2, as examples, are fine. Also, my brother got the GM performance dual exhaust for his Sierra, I think its just a muffler and tips, and you can hear it when he outside the truck, or from inside when he really stands on it, but it doesn’t stick out while driving.

        The Verano, I can only hear with the windows down. And thats just fine.

        Now, on a toy car, its a different story. But, with as much driving as I do, I don’t want to be beat up by my DD.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I’m all about quiet, so I understand! Don’t need any drone in the average driving conditions. VQ is a bit droney in 3.5 guise, for my tastes. The 3.0 sounded much nicer when you pressed it.

          Bball will be round shortly to complain about VQ nails in blender.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Ball bearings in the hardware store paint shaker thing.

            I don’t hate the VQ. It’s fine in Infinitis because they throw some NVH money at it. I didn’t like the noise the 370Z made when I had one as a rental. Actually, I didn’t like much about the 370Z period. I was o excited to get it instead of “Hyundai Sonata or similar.” However, It’s seats and ride hurt me while the VQ made terrible noises.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I think with the 7-speed auto in newer Infiniti models the 3.5 and 3.7 quiet down better. But my 3.5 with 5-auto is too droney, or needs much more sound insulation. But given it weighs about 4300 pounds already, I think they should have engineered in better noise and smoothness.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            But, I am happy about anything that has a V6 these days. So, VQ everything!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            DATS RITE

            NA V6 as standard! Hard to find these days.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            My dad put a dual outlet OEM 4th Gen F-Body muffler on his LSS. It rumbles along at idle, but almost completely disappeared when revved. I quite like it.

            I’m a fan of the VQ, I think its at its best in a G37 or EX37.

            V6 all the things! Its such a shame, V6’s are at their peak, yet slowly fading away.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Corey, I can’t believe you have given up on me and relegated me to Prius driver! I thought we were internet friends!?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            You can redeem yourself with Sierra when you get rid of your awful-as-you-please Verano! :)

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I wish I had a truck with winter tires around here over the weekend. I could have pulled a number of people out of ditches. My parents got 15 inches of snow. Luckily, I put the winter tires and wheels on the MkT on Saturday morning. I had to drive in that garbage on Saturday night.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Yuck! They got 3-4″ as far east and south as Indianapolis, but it only was drizzly and nasty here in Cincinnati.

            I was in a good mood anyway, because I was eating a Chipotle burrito.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I was passing everyone on the freeway because MkT Ecoboost + 17″ wheels and winter rubber = snow monster.

            I actually like the black wheel look on the MkT as well.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Yup, a truck with winters and the auto 4×4 mode and locking rear diff is about as good as it gets.

            It will likely be a Sierra in 2.5 years (or even a Canyon, if they fix all its flaws) because the JGC doesnt seem to be doing well in terms of initial quality and dealer visits.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Or yeah, a good CUV with proper tires is also pretty great..

            But even my FWD with tier 1 winters does the trick, up to anything that threatens high centering.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Even my C-Max would have been fine since it has winter tires. It’s ground clearance is it’s biggest downside though.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I don’t like the current JGC because of it’s rather ruined front end styling (read: needs LEDs now, we have little money!), high initial buy-in costs, limited interior room vs. exterior size, and the reliability issues you’ve mentioned.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Yeah, the JGC definitely also fails from a space efficiency point of view. We’re pretty much on to the Sierra.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            My RWD Mercedes wagon with Nokians was also excellent. I was amazed at how stable the thing was. I had absolutely no need for AWD. I was actually able to drive up my parents steep driveway with all the snow on it on Saturday night before clearing it. Proper winter tires seams to defy physics.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            @MBella,

            I am absolutely confident a Marauder on Hakkapellittas would be all I need for winter.

            A coworker has a Ram R/T regular cab short box 2WD with posi rear end, and winter tires. The thing is a beast, with a few hundred lbs in the back. Cars have better weight distribution I believe.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            When a V6 can sound like Alfa Romeo’s, there is no excuse for the VQ sounding like it does. Wretched.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            MBella-

            I went out to my parents house in Brighton on Saturday night to dig them out. In my little C-Max, I passed all sorts of RWD and AWD things that were in ditches between the Royal Oak area and Brighton. Winter tires make a huge difference.

  • avatar
    pbr

    My $0.02 is that any V-8 Fox/SN95 would be fun to blast around in and/or tweak to taste. (Remember JB’s 0th-place SN95 piece?) They’re fun at the track, too, but brakes need help in almost all cases. My poison are the “Terminator” Cobras. Finding unmolested examples is a challenge, you’d have to think mods would kill whatever collectibility they have.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnAZ

      I couldn’t agree with you more. I have had my 86 Fox convertible for 23 years and still enjoy it every time I go for a ride. Terminator disk brakes, DECH suspension, upgrades to 300 HP. So light. So strong. Kind of scary at times, but sooo much fun.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I believe the Bullitt had a tuned exhaust on it that made the 4.6 sound even better. Wouldn’t mind one in convertible form for fun.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    There’s something about those 5.4L Mod motors that make them sound a lot better than a small block (ls1, etc) chevy.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    There’s one good thing about an SN95, and that’s the sound of the 4.6. And that’s a very good thing. But it’s available cheaply in the S197 too.

    They have no other redeeming qualities in my opinion. Build quality is about the same as the original Malaise-era Fox bodies, the proportions say “shortened sedan” rather than “sporty car,” the styling aged remarkably poorly (and Torq-Thrusts don’t change that), the interior looks appropriate for a Mitsubishi Mirage, and you’re lucky if you can discern anything like “handling,” rather than compensatory suspension stiffness, through the chassis flex and live-axle motion. Efforts at enthusiastic driving are as likely to be met by swapping ends as by getting anywhere quickly.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Half-assed attempt to dress up the engine bay and after the loving cleaning from the make ready department it still looks like ass – that says, “danger Will Robinson” to me.

    Run hard, hang up wet to dry.

  • avatar
    RogerB34

    Several years ago considered a 2002 Bullitt for purchase.
    Issue is the engine doesn’t have knock sensors and it knocks on regular gas. Ford did have a ECM software fix that fixed the issue for some and not for others. The general solution was premium gasoline.

  • avatar
    SomeGuy

    You have to raise your standards man. The New Edge Mustangs with the exceptions of the 4V motors are terrible cars. All of them have bad interiors, so I’m just speaking to the drivetrain, which the gearbox isn’t even that good. Especially on the 2V cars. I believe it was a T-45 or something, but they have cable clutches so if you are in traffic you will be building up some calves. Not a bad idea if you have a container of beefcake in the passenger seat. As for the automatic… Just don’t.

    I’ve driven both 2V & 4V motors. Here are the only New Edge cars you should EVER consider:

    Mach 1
    99-01 Cobra if the deal is right
    03-04 Cobra

    That is it. Otherwise save your money for a 2011+ 5.0L.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I could turn my Thunderbird into a monster that would kick a Bullit’s ass for $12k…

    Especially if I ripped out the 4.6 and went Windsor instead. Hi-po Windsors are just…easier.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      If that’s going to be a thing, it needs to be done to a Mark VIII for reasons of style and class.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Mark VIII would be easier because 32V mod motor!

        Not that hard to make a 400+ horsepower supercharged Mark VIII, but the old lo-po 16V 4.6 requires a lot more work to approach those numbers…

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Let’s not just rip mod motors out of Thunderbirds now. There are plenty of ways to get power from a 4.6L without having to get all swappy.

      http://www.hotrod.com/how-to/engine/ccrp-1004-budget-mod-motor-build/


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