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Iconic Bullitt Mustang sells at Mecum Auction for $3.4 million

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 18: The 1968 Mustang that Steve McQueen drove in the1968 movie 'Bullitt' on display on the National Mall, on April 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. The Bullitt Mustang is one of only a handful of vehicles to be placed on the National Historic Vehicle Register and is recognized as historically significant in the Library of Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Dusty and rusty perfectly describe the most valuable Ford car to ever be on the market: the Mustang made famous by the 1968 film “Bullitt” and its history-making high-intensity car chase scene. 

Now, the 1968 Mustang GT Fastback is finally out of hiding and making headlines. 

The history of the Bullitt Mustang

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WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 18: The 1968 Mustang that Steve McQueen drove in the1968 movie ‘Bullitt’ is on display on the National Mall, on April 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. The Bullitt Mustang is one of only a handful of vehicles to be placed on the National Historic Vehicle Register and is recognized as historically significant in the Library of Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The word “unique” doesn’t even begin to cover the life of the Bullitt Mustang. The car debuted on the big screen, where star Steve McQueen raced through the streets of San Francisco. The entire chase scene lasts 10 minutes and 53 seconds.

Warner Brothers employee Robert Ross picked up the Bullitt Mustang next and eventually sold it to detective Frank Marranca in 1970. Robert Kiernan, a farmer, bought the iconic sports car for $6,000 as a family vehicle in 1974.

With each passing year, the car was seen substantially less and less often and people began to question its existence. 

In 1977, McQueen wrote a letter to Kiernan stating the car had personal meaning to him. He even offered to buy Kiernan the same type of car, but Kiernan refused. However, he agreed to keep the Bullitt Mustang as restored as possible.

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June 1969: US film actor Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980) in London. (Photo by Bob Aylott/Keystone/Getty Images)

Where the car is now

After Kiernan’s passing in 2014, his son, Sean Kiernan, took over ownership and has since been touring with the ‘68 Mustang. It even got the attention of the National Historic Vehicle Register and is the 21st car to be added. 

Once thought to be lost to time, the Bullitt Mustang re-emerged to remind us of its undeniable cultural significance in automotive and movie history.

Just like in 1968, the car made waves this week. It sold on Monday for a record of $3.4 million at the Mecum auction. Mecum did not reveal the name of the buyer. With commissions and fees added on, that person paid over $3.7 million in total for the iconic Fastback. 

Ready for its new role in life, this Mustang is still enhancing its legendary status.