Five decades ago after it tore through the streets of San Francisco in one of film's greatest ever car chases, Steve McQueen's original 1968 Highland Green Ford Mustang Fastback from Bulitt has reappeared in unlikely circumstances.
Believed to be lost to either time or the scrap heap, the car was actually bought by Robert Kiernan, a New Jersey insurance executive and Mustang fan, who, in 1974, paid $6,000 (about $30,000 in today's money) for a car that his wife used as a daily driver for years.
According to Vanity Fair, the Kiernan family added more than 30,000 miles to the car's odometer, before mechanical issues and wear and tear forced it into storage in the early Eighties.
McQueen was said to be so enamored with the model that he repeatedly tried to buy it back from the family, but to no avail.
According to Robert Kiernan's son, Sean, McQueen contacted his father in 1977 in the hopes that he could force a sale. "Dad had owned the car for three years at that point", Sean told VF. "And he got a phone call from Steve asking about the car, how it was, if he’d changed anything on it. And McQueen said, 'I would really like to buy it if there’s not too much involved with it. I’ll replace it with a similar, like kind of car. As long it’s not a crazy amount of money', but dad declined. He said, 'Thanks, but no thanks.'
And that, as they say, was that. Robert Kiernan died in 2014 and McQueen never did get his Mustang, but the story does have a happy ending.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Bulitt Mustang, Ford unveiled a special, 2018 edition of the car, complete with original paint job. Sean Kiernan even presented the car alongside McQueen's granddaughter, Molly McQueen at the Detroit Motorshow.
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Source: Vanity and SF Gate