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Ford Brings Mustang Bullitt to Life.
Issue: Jan 4, 2001
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 4 /PRNewswire/ --
Ford announced it will introduce the 2001 Mustang Bullitt GT, a performance derivative inspired by the legendary 1968 Mustang Fastback that co-starred with Steve McQueen in the classic Warner Bros. Pictures film, "Bullitt." The decision to put the Bullitt into production came after Ford received overwhelming positive response from consumers who first saw a concept version of the car at the 2000 Los Angeles Auto Show.
"The movie has some of the greatest car-chase scenes ever filmed," says Ford Division President, Jim O'Connor. "The 1968 Fastback Mustang GT 390, driven by Steve McQueen, created an indelible image in the minds of millions of people. We have taken some of the passion from the Hollywood film and put it into an exciting new car."
The 2001 Bullitt features exterior enhancements that visually and emotionally connect it to the 1968 Fastback from the film. These modifications include unique side scoops, 17-inch Bullitt-style aluminum wheels and a lowered suspension.
The C-pillars and quarter panel molding have been modified to create a unique look. Rocker-panel moldings enhance the low-to-the-ground appearance. A bold, brushed aluminum fuel filler door is prominently placed on the quarter panel.
Bullitt badging and polished-rolled tailpipe tips further distinguish the car. Bullitt is available in Dark Highland Green, True Blue and Black.
The heart of Bullitt GT is a 4.6L SOHC V-8 modified to improve airflow and reduce parasitic loses. It produces at least 270 horsepower and significantly more torque than the Mustang GT engine. Modifications include:
* Twin 57mm bore throttle body
* Cast aluminum intake manifold
* High flow mufflers for increased power and aggressive performance sound
* Optimized alternator and pump pulley ratios
Bullitt's suspension translates this power into crisp road manners. The vehicle is lowered three-fourths of an inch to generate a firmer, better- balanced ride and improved handling characteristics. The performance-handling package includes:
* Re-valved Tokico struts and shocks
* Unique stabilizer bars (front and rear)
* Frame rail connectors
Thirteen-inch Brembo front rotors and performance calipers provide excellent stopping capability. The calipers are painted red and are visible through the 17-inch wheels spokes when the car is parked or when it is cruising the streets of San Francisco.
"Bullitt is quick off the line, handles great, stops fast and shifts easily with improved pedal relationship," says Art Hyde, Mustang chief program engineer. "This is the best performing GT we have ever produced."
Inside, Bullitt features performance bucket seats with Dark Charcoal leather trim. A brushed aluminum shifter ball, shifter bezel, door sill plates with Bullitt nomenclature and aluminum pedal covers accent the interior's performance appearance. The instrument cluster is a modern interpretation of 1960s design and offers unique curved numeric speedometer graphics and a white-lit background.
"With the Mustang Bullitt, we have a lot of functional features that would make Steve McQueen and Lt. Frank Bullitt proud today," says O'Connor. "Bullitt has elevated the GT into an unforgettable car that enhances Ford's performance reputation and builds on Mustang's performance tradition that began with vehicles like the Mach 1, Boss 302 and the 428 Cobra Jet."
All these features are included for a package price of $3,695 MSRP. There will be a limited production of about 5,000 Mustang Bullitt GTs built on the same line of the Dearborn Assembly Plant that produces the V6, GT and Cobra Mustangs. Each Bullitt will come with a unique serialized identification label from the factory to ensure exclusivity and collectability.
Ford marked Mustang's 35th anniversary in 1999 with across-the-board improvements, including major styling, powertrain and handling upgrades. Increases in horsepower and torque gave more muscle to both the V-6 and V-8 engines and reduced 0-60 mph and quarter-mile acceleration times.
The exterior design harkens back to the concept of the original pony car, with styling cues like the classic long hood and short deck; a prominent hood scoop; enlarged, sculptured side scoops with a bold triangular shape; and the vehicle's signature tri-bar taillamps. Mustang enthusiasts recognize familiar details like the rear spoiler, honeycomb grille textures, and side character lines.
Mustang boasted sales of 418,812 its first year on the market after making its debut at the New York World's Fair in 1964. The millionth Mustang was produced in Dearborn, Michigan in 1966. Since then, the all-American sports car has become one of the legendary automotive brands and more than seven million Mustangs have been sold.
Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) is the world's largest producer of trucks and the second-largest producer of cars and trucks combined, marketing and selling approximately 7 million vehicles globally through its seven brands last year. Ford Motor Co. employs approximately 345,000 people in plants, offices and laboratories to serve consumers in more than 200 countries and territories. Ford Motor Co. is also one of the largest providers of financial services worldwide through Ford Credit and related businesses. Ford Motor Co. provides consumers and commercial financial services through 2,400 branches in 33 countries.
Steve McQueen's heirs have been working closely with Ford on this project and look forward to honoring the memory of Mr. McQueen.
Warner Bros. Consumer Products, a division of Time Warner Entertainment Company, L.P., is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations, which includes a vast library of intellectual properties and the Warner Bros. Studio Stores.
1968 Ford Mustang Fastback 'Bullitt' Replica
In 1968, Steve McQueen thrilled theater audiences with one of the most memorable car chases ever to grace the screen. Driving a sinister-looking Mustang Fastback, the actor -- as Lt. Frank Bullitt -- careened over the streets of San Francisco at high speeds in pursuit of a pair of mob hit men.
Just like the most famous Mustang Fastback in the world, Dave Kunz's "Bullitt" replica came from the factory with Ford's 390-cubic-inch big block engine, four-speed transmission and, most importantly, the "Highland Green" exterior color.
Sold at California Motors Ford in Glendale, Calif., in July 1968, the car was owned by the original purchasers until 1986. Kunz, a photographer for KABC-TV in Los Angeles, bought the car in 1992 in mostly original condition. It still had all its GT factory equipment intact, including slotted steel wheels, fog lamps, quad exhaust tips and C-stripes on the sides. With just 87,000 miles on the odometer, the car was in excellent shape, even sporting the factory exhaust system.
When the 1994 Northridge earthquake struck, the Mustang suffered paint damage from a falling shop light. The car was repainted in the original Highland Green color, but the white C-stripes were left off so that transformation to Bullitt-replica status could begin. American Racing wheels were added and the chrome trim was removed from the grille. Other subtle touches were employed to finish off the look. The car has been featured in Randy Leffingwell's book "Mustang," as well as in Mustang and Fords and Mustang Monthly magazines.
In 1997, Ford of Europe launched its new Puma with an advertising campaign built around the "Bullitt" chase scene. Its agency, Young and Rubicam, spent six days in San Francisco filming the Puma in various locations. At the end of the 60-second spot, the Puma is backed into a garage next to Kunz's Mustang. In the finished commercial, McQueen's image is digitally imposed into the Puma as if he were driving the car.
The Mustang returned to San Francisco in 1999, this time as part of a European automotive media event to launch the Puma. Ford photographed the Mustang and Puma together at various locations in the city to continue the "Bullitt" theme that is now associated with Puma all over Europe.
Wherever the "Bullitt" replica goes in Southern California -- whether attending the annual Fabulous Fords Forever show at Knott's Berry Farm, taking in cruise night at the historic Bob's Big Boy in Toluca Lake, or tooling down the Hollywood Freeway -- it's almost always recognized for its resemblance to the Mustang that McQueen drove on the big screen.
Where is the Real 'Bullitt' Mustang?
For the filming of "Bullitt," two 1968 Mustang Fastbacks were used from the Warner Brothers fleet for actor Steve McQueen's movie character.
Once the Mustangs were selected, veteran race driver and builder Max Balchowski was enlisted to modify the cars for the rigors of the high-speed pursuit scenes. Balchowski added stronger springs and Koni shocks, and he fabricated braces for the inner fenders. He also did some minor tuning to the 390-cubic-inch engine for a little more top-end power.
After filming was completed, the primary car was in sad shape. Two weeks of stunt driving had taken its toll on the Mustang, so it was sent to the crusher due to liability concerns. The remaining car, the less-damaged backup, was sold to an employee of Warner Brothers' editing department.
In the early 1970s, the car was advertised in a classified ad in The Los Angeles Times for the then princely sum of $6,000. A buyer was found and the car eventually made its way to the East Coast.
The Mustang went up for sale again in 1974, this time in an ad in Road & Track. It is reported that Steve McQueen himself called the New Jersey number in the ad with a desire to purchase the car for his own collection. He was told the car had been sold, but was given the name and number of the buyer.
McQueen tried to persuade the new owner to resell it, but to no avail. The new owner did promise to contact him if he ever did decide to sell. McQueen died in 1980 with no contact from the owner.
Whenever contacted by prospective buyers or media, the owner has refused offers of purchase or publicity. The car has been in non-running condition for some time.
The car remained in New Jersey until the mid-1990s, when it was moved to a farm in the Ohio River Valley. Parked in a hay barn, the Mustang remained inoperable, still wearing New Jersey tags. A film company recently made an offer to the owner for its use in a motion picture. The owner declined.
Sources: Max Balchowski, Bill Norton, Robert Relyea, Jim Smart
COPYRIGHT 2001 PR Newswire Association, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group