By on January 15, 2018

The first Bullitt go-round was a 2001 attempt to upgrade the Mustang GT with a modicum of extra power and a styling nod to an old movie that couldn’t be more forgettable, were it not for a stellar chase sequence. The 2001-2002 Mustang Bullitt, however, couldn’t do anything about its facelifted 1990s sheetmetal, which hardly asks, “Are you going to San Francisco?”

It was the fifth-generation Mustang’s retro design that proved a far more suitable canvas for Ford’s performance brush. Endowed with a more generous helping of brawn, the 2008-2009 Bullitt was a fitting homage to a certain Dark Highland Green ’68 Mustang 390. Still, all good things must come to an end. Or do they?

If you’ve heard rumors recently, consider this a confirmation. The Bullitt is back, just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Steve McQueen flick that made chassis-bending jumps popular a decade before the Duke boys. Driven onto the Cobo Center stage in Detroit by McQueen’s granddaughter, Molly McQueen, the Sunday night reveal of Ford’s turtleneck-and-sport-coat ‘Stang was a pleasant distraction from the automaker’s incessant future-speak.

For the 2019 Bullitt, due out this summer, the model’s signature blacked-out five-spokes (with chrome rim) expand to 19 inches. Body color remains the same, though Shadow Black is an option for those who can’t stomach paint perfection. A chrome faux gas cap harkens back to the days of pennies-a-gallon gas and Flower Power, and the chrome-ringed grille is tailor-made for putting black Charger owners on notice.

Inside, you’ll find available Recaro sport seats adorned with green stitching, but it’s more likely you’ll notice the cue-ball shifter on this Mustang’s six-speed stick first. That’s the only transmission choice here, as Ford’s keeping things as traditional as possible. Well, sort of, as Lt. Frank Bullitt didn’t have optional MagneRide semi-active suspension to sort out the landings on those San Francisco hills. Nor was there an available electronics package boasting navigation and blind spot monitoring with a cross-traffic alert feature in Frank’s day.

Nice touches, but what about power? The new Bullitt, thankfully, isn’t allergic to the gym.

Like the GT upon which it’s based, the Bullitt’s hood hides a 5.0-liter V8, only this one’s hit the weights. Borrowing the GT350’s intake manifold, 87 mm throttle bodies, and powertrain control module calibration, as well as an open air induction system, the mill is good for “at least” 475 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque, Ford claims. This means the Bullitt’s good for 163 miles per hour, flat out.

Out back, Black NitroPlate exhaust tips top off an active valve performance exhaust system. You’ll know of its presence by a “signature burble” — one designed to strike fear into the hearts of conservatively dressed hitmen everywhere.

What can a buyer expect to pay for the third-generation Bullitt Mustang? Ford’s keeping it a secret until closer to the release date, but anticipate a significant premium over a GT.

Not one to skimp on nostalgia, Ford managed to source one of the two original 1968 Mustangs used in the film in order to place it alongside the 2019 model. As this particular vehicle wasn’t used for low-altitude flights over San Fran’s voluptuous topography, the unmolested Stang found a private buyer after fulfilling its contract with the movie studio. Sean Kiernan, son of the car’s presumed second owner, recently contacted Ford with his find.

After all of Ford’s unsettling “city of tomorrow” talk, it was nice, though not completely reassuring, to see history come together in this way. Let’s hope this raw, individualistic heritage isn’t forgotten in the headlong race for “disruptive” self-driving vehicles and other utopian “mobility solutions.”

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

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25 Comments on “Ford Resurrects the Mustang Bullitt as Film’s 50th Anniversary Nears...”


  • avatar
    notapreppie

    Not bad… You know, except for the 19″ wheels.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    “…one designed to strike fear into the hearts of conservatively dressed hitmen everywhere.” Unless, of course, said hitmen are driving a black Charger SRT.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    That’s a nice green Miata.

    It’s nice to see the Bullet name continue with the Mustang though. Meanwhile Ford slapped “Mack 1” on a battery powered SUV.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I even have love for the 2001-2002 model, so there!

    I thought maybe Ford would have the 10 speed auto as an option so you can approximate the number of shifts you hear in those driving scenes. ;-)

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    The only problem is that the chrome surrounds exaggerate how narrow the windows really are.

  • avatar
    sgtjmack

    I ‘ll take one,… in each color.

  • avatar
    S197GT

    i am really surprised they don’t offer a matte green color option.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Those hitmen wouldn’t have had a chance against this particular Mustang.

  • avatar
    hirostates12

    A good looking car on its own but underwhelming when parked next to the original.

    The new front clip looks like a giant Dustbuster. I still want one…

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I like this shade of green, it pops a bit more than the Guard on my Mustang. I probably would have picked this color, had it been available.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy67

      Ford kept Dark Highland Green exclusive to Bullitt Mustangs. I bought mine in large part because of that color. Well, that and the wheels, the 3.73 rearend, ‘bling delete’ and manual only.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Metallic Guard is still a beautiful color. Its a shame it lasted only two years IIRC. Take rate most have been low on it. I loved how Metallic Guard would pop green in the light but was a sort of grey at night.

      When I ordered my 2015 I went with Metallic Guard although I had given white some thought but never regretted ordering that color.

  • avatar
    Heino

    When is Porsche going to come out with a Jacqueline Bisset or Cathy version of the 356? Such an overlooked market.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    I’m hoping this starts a trend and FCA comes out with a “Vanishing Point” Challenger and a “Dirty Mary Crazy Larry” Charger.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    All other references aside, Molly McQueen is the finest name that I’ve heard in quite a while. So many possibilities for character with that name.

  • avatar
    raph

    It will be interesting to see how these cars run in the quarter mile with the revised engine. The 2018 GT already runs about where a 470-480 horsepower engine in a 3900-4000 pound car should (with driver and fuel) especially with that trap speed which reflects less on the A10 transmission and more on the power it puts out.

    If the Bullitt is running the same or close to the same times as the GT350 or even faster then the 475+ is much like the 460 horsepower in the GT which is more or less wink…wink…nudge…nudge…

    In any event if Ford doesnt shift the redline over the standard GT then the Bullitt will certainly “out torque” the GT350 especially with the advantage of its hybrid fuel injection allowing more aggressive ignition timing where it can give the engine a boost in the low to mid power range and since the Gen III coyote is sort’ve Voodoo lite by dint of missing out with a slighly smaller bore and a few less cubes but utitlizes an as cast version of the GT350’s cylinder heads the GT350 intake gear brings it even closer.

    All in all not a bad thing if the Bullitt runs neck and neck with the GT350 in the quarter as I’ve always thought that the naturally aspirated cars like the 04 Mach and later Boss 302 and current GT350 should really be setting the bar for future Mustang GT performance and in this case Bullitt performance.

    GT350 owners will get thier knickers in a twist but who cares as Ford just announced the GT500 and has said 700+ horsepower and to be frank the concept of the GT350 was lost on most of those cats anyway since it was less about owning one of Ford’s sweetest handling Mustangs and more about having the top dog in the model range and now that the GT500 is making its debut as a 2019 model they can always trade up provided they didnt get stung too badly with an ADM.

  • avatar

    While the new one is nice, I like the looks of the 68 better. Yeah, I’m an old fart.:)


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