Skip to main content
North American International Auto Show

The new Bullitt car comes as the classic film starring Steve McQueen celebrates its 50th birthday

The 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt, right, is unveiled during the press preview at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, on Jan. 14, 2018.

Ford is looking to the past to add some cool to its lineup, unveiling a new 2019 Bullitt Mustang at an event Sunday ahead of the official start of the North American International Auto Show.

The new Bullitt car comes as the classic film starring Steve McQueen celebrates its 50th birthday.

Ford doubled-down on the film's cachet at the new car's reveal in Detroit.

The recently rediscovered Mustang GT from the 1968 movie was on display, and actor Molly McQueen — granddaughter of Steve — did the honours of presenting the new car.

The Bullitt Mustang will be available in the Summer, but no specific details about when it will be on sale, or price, have been announced. It was made known that Canada will get standard some features that are options in the U.S., including an electronics package with navigation and safety features, and a semi-active suspension system Ford dubs MagneRide.

Molly McQueen, the granddaughter of actor Steve McQueen, introduces the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, on Jan. 14, 2018.

The Bullitt will make at least 475 horsepower and deliver 420 lb.-ft. of torque from its 5.0-litre V-8. The automaker says it will be 8 miles an hour faster than the Mustang GT, topping out at 163 mph (262 km/h).

Ford made much of the car's cool factor in its unveil, and in the looks department it mostly delivers with an air of understated power to distance itself from run-of-the-mill Mustangs.

The car will be available in two colours, black and the iconic Dark Highland Green seen in the action film, though it's hard to see many buyers opting for anything other than the green paint.

Other styling touches include the removal of Mustang badges, replaced by a false filler cap at the rear emblazoned with a Bullitt logo, red-painted Brembo brakes, blacked-out grille and black 19-inch aluminum rims.

Inside the cabin is an expanse of black broken with up by more Bullitt logos, with one on the steering wheel and one on the dash in front of the passenger, in case the driver forgets the special-edition nature of their car.

Another nod to the film Mustang is a white cue ball shifter knob for the manual transmission.

Recaro seats with green stitching are an option.

Ford first introduced a Bullitt Mustang in 2001 boasting 265 horsepower, and turned out more limited-edition Bullitt models in 2008 and 2009.

Ford introduced the new model alongside an original 1968 Mustang GT fastback that was the featured in the movie.

"When making a Bullitt, there are certain things it absolutely must have," Carl Widmann, Mustang chief engineer, said in a statement. "It has to have the right attitude, it has to be unique in some way from a Mustang GT, and more than anything, it has to be bad-ass."

The 1968 movie is remembered for a classic chase scene, 10-minutes of McQueen powering the Mustang through the hilly streets of San Francisco. Two identical GT fastbacks were deployed in the movie. One was sold by Warner Bros., to a private buyer, and the other went to a salvage yard. The latter, used in many of the jump scenes, was recovered in early 2017, the other was inherited by Sean Kiernan from his late father, Robert, in 2014, and he contacted Ford.

"You know, it was never our intention to keep this car a secret from everybody," Kiernan said, in a press release. "It just kind of happened with life. I'm just completely buzzing to join with Ford and the new Bullitt and show this car to the world on one of the biggest stages there is."

The writer was a guest of the auto maker. Content was not subject to approval.