Mark Gregory

Steve McQueen's Bullitt car going for 4 Million Dollars

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Posted (edited)

They are probably selling it to buy an Electric Mustang ? ?

 

Original Steve McQueen Bullitt Mustang may sell for a cool $4 million by owner whose father bought it for just $3,500 in 1974

  • A car owner may get as much as $4 million for the green Mustang made famous in the 1968 movie Bullitt starring Steve McQueen
  • The dark-green Ford Mustang fastback is expected to break records when it goes on auction next week at an event in Florida
  • Sean Kiernan, a Tennessee farm owner, claims he could get $5 million for it
  • His father Bob bought it for just $3,500 in 1974 and it was used as a family car
  •  

In case anyone forgot the chase scene here is part of it.

 

 

Edited by Mark Gregory (see edit history)
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The number they expect gets bigger every time I see it in print. $1.5 million, $2.5 million, $3 million, $4 million, $5 million. It'll bring a shockingly big number for a Mustang, I'm sure. $5 million? I don't know, but the McQueen factor is often very significant.

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Posted (edited)

NOTHING is a fleeting as pop culture fame. As popular as he was 20 years ago, in another 20 or 30 years only film enthusiasts and people over 70 will even remember who he was.

Go out and ask some "twenty-somethings" to name the Beetles (I've tried this with my nieces and nephews). None of them can. Usually I get "were they some kind of rock group?"

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, JV Puleo said:

 

Go out and ask some "twenty-somethings" to name the Beetles 

Bingo, Bango, Bongo and Irving.

 

 

the_mosquitoes1.jpg

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I've never been interested in owning a celebrity car. But I did buy a Highland Green 1968 Mustang fastback 390 back in 1974. Paid $1000. That was close enough to Bullitt for me.

A burgundy 289 1967 Mustang fastback I also bought was a real bargain that same year for $400. It was in about the same shape as the McQueen car is now.

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They keep saying the Bullitt chase was the best ever but the chase in the French Connection was better and today there is a netflix movie out called "6 underground" that has an ever better and longer car chase then any of them all through the narrow roads and alley's of Italy.

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55 minutes ago, Brooklyn Beer said:

They keep saying the Bullitt chase was the best ever but the chase in the French Connection was better and today there is a netflix movie out called "6 underground" that has an ever better and longer car chase then any of them all through the narrow roads and alley's of Italy.

 

"French Connection" on the El is pretty awesome. I also like the one in "To Live and Die in LA" and "Ronin" has not one but two good ones. The "Borne" movies do car chases pretty well, too. 


Nevertheless, the "Bullitt" scene is the only one I watch repeatedly and for its own merits, because the rest of the movie is pretty ordinary. I don't know why that chase works so well. The bachelor jazz soundtrack? The driver's unpleasant double-take when he sees the green Mustang appear in his mirror after losing it? The "buckle up 'cause sh*t's about to get serious" moment? The little smirk when he thinks he's lost Bullitt? I think the "Bullitt" scene goes beyond choreography, which is maybe why it remains appealing despite its many flaws (repeated VW sightings, the Charger loses about six hubcaps, and McQueen's Mustang has a 17-speed transmission). 

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If you haven't seen 6 Underground and the chase that starts the movie you'll love it and it seems to last for 25% of the movie.  Granted much more gory and horrific but you can tell the director took some of what you described from other great chases and incorporated them into his movie.  Lots of cringing and "Oh that hurt" moments.

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Someone with very deep pockets can afford to buy the Bullitt Mustang for their movie car collection.  This car was featured on a TV show with the son of the owner and the car was in rough shape.  They had some repairs done to it to make it drivable but it still was showing the effects of years of neglect.  I agree the movie chase seen is one of the best!

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There was more then one car built and used in the movie so I wonder just what that means/ Perhaps this is the only one left? I always got a kick out of how the chase jumps all over town. If you know San Francisco you might notice he turns the corner in one part of town and finishes the turn in another! 

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What makes the movie special to this day, is the fact that it was made 52 years, and for all of the Johnnie come lately chases that fol;lowed,. it still remains pretty amazing. What they did, was take two Mustangs and Chargers, beefed up the suspensions, and firm up the bodies for something that was totally unheard of  for that time. I have the original Road AND TRACK article on the chase. and when stunt driver Bill Hickman took the stock Charger and launched it up and down a hill, he broke all four shocks. They then reworked the suspensions on both cars. It didn't hurt to have McQueen behind the wheel. 

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The scene where they are screaming downhill towards the camera and a Cadillac pulls out and stops abruptly was real. Some older gentleman got by some barricades and was almost nailed. Good thing he had good reflexes.

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56 minutes ago, John S. said:

. and when stunt driver Bill Hickman took the stock Charger and launched it up and down a hill, he broke all four shocks

Bill Hickman also did the stunt driving in the 1973 film " The Seven-Ups.  You can see some of the similarities.... also, I recognized some of the chase locations: Taconic State Parkway and the Palisades Interstate Parkway here in NY.

 

 

 

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My 13 year old son and his pals do not even know who "Steve McQueen" is much less care about his green car used in a film. Someday down the road the person with too much cash to spend will scratch his head and exclaim, "What was I drinking when I decided to buy that car?" . Al Jolson owned back in the early 1930s a 1933 Cadillac which is 100% restored and in a museum in Reno. Most people who view it do not know who Al Jolson is but think the car is a very magnificent and beautiful vehicle.  In 25 years what will anyone say about this green muscle car with a sign that says it was driven by a long dead Steve McQueen in some long forgotten movie?     I admit that whoever is wealthy enough to have an extra $4 million+ to spend on this vehicle may see it differently. However, to my taste for that kind of money I would rather  purchase 4 to 5 Duesenberg's fully restored and likely as a package deal would be able to negotiate a free chicken dinner thrown in with Jay Leno being the waiter to serve me and my family the meal.  

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Personally I would prefer a Steve McQueen motorcycle memorabilia item as his appearance in the low budget “On Any Sunday” motorcycle documentary helped fuel my interest in participating in off road motorcycle events.  He would enter as “Harvey Mushman” so they would not know his real identity.

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Definitely you are going to have to pay a crazy price for either of the Bullet Mustang's . Very famous cars amongst us boomers, buy yes as others have pointed out largely unknown amongst younger people.  I can't even justify todays cost on an ordinary Mustang. Owned a couple many years ago when $1000.00 - $1200.00 bought a pretty decent one { 1970's }. My 10 year old 1966 2 + 2 fastback had a few rough edges and was all of $650.00, drive it home. Exhaust needed work plus some front end wander. Less than a grand total investment and it was a nice car. I would probably have to spend $40,000 Canadian to replace it today , simply not going to happen. Lots of nice, non - Mustangs out there for 1 /2 or less. 

 

Greg in Canada

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On 1/4/2020 at 6:21 PM, JV Puleo said:

Go out and ask some "twenty-somethings" to name the Beetles

 

How about asking them to name the Beatles?  You might get a different answer.

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12 hours ago, Lawrence Helfand said:

I always got a kick out of how the chase jumps all over town. If you know San Francisco you might notice he turns the corner in one part of town and finishes the turn in another!

 

Yes, as great as the Bullitt chase sequence is, that is an amusing side light for anyone who's familiar with the lay out of San Francisco.  As you say, they start in one part of town and jump to another in the blink of an eye.

 

But it's still one of the all time great cinema car chases as far as I'm concerned.  One of the things I love about it (alluded to by Matt) is how menacing those guys in the Charger look -- obviously professionals!  They even wear a suit and tie to work!

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7 hours ago, neil morse said:

 

How about asking them to name the Beatles?  You might get a different answer.

 

No...I wasn't asking them via the internet. But it does show how much they interested me. I couldn't name them in the 70s.

It is the conceit of every age to presume that what they are interested will survive for ever. I'm sure there were Romans who thought their favorite gladiator would be remembered forever.

It won't be all that long before Steve McQueen, or the Beatles, are no better remembered than Jenny Lind or Edwin Booth.

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It's a mistake (one I've made many times myself) to assume that if you're not interested in something, nobody is. There are plenty of cars that I've dismissed as uninteresting only to have people fighting to own them, and the cars I think are a slam-dunk sometimes sit without any interest at all.

 

The McQueen name still resonates (heck, the main character of the Disney "Cars" movies is named "McQueen") and in particular, it resonates with the only guys who have real money to spend: old white guys. There's no doubt this car will bring big money and I doubt the buyer will feel any remorse after the fact or in the future. The latest Hagerty magazine has a few items that were subject to the "McQueen Factor" and it remains rather startling:

 

Persol sunglassses: new retail $400, McQueen's glasses sold for $70,000

1970 Porsche 911S: average sale price $72,000, McQueen's sold for $1.375 million

1958 GMC pickup: average sale price $27,500, McQueen's sold for $92,000

1967 Ferrari 275GTB/4: recent auction $3.1 million, McQueen's sold for $10.175 million

 

Personally, I don't get it, particularly on restored vehicles so you don't even get to sit in the same seat as McQueen, but there it is. It's real and undeniable. And quite honestly, you guys know comparing this car to a garden-variety 1968 Mustang isn't reasonable, regardless of who knows what about Steve McQueen or movies. It was THE car used in THE car chase that defined the term. If, in the future, the owner of this car wants to see why it's famous, all he has to do is Google "car chase" and see it (it's also worth noting that millions of people continue to watch that particular chase on YouTube, so it obviously means something to someone--it's not just one guy watching it millions of times).

 

Scratching your head like you just don't get it is kind of disingenuous. No matter who was sitting in the seat, a famous movie car is going to bring a substantial premium. It's all about context. Heck, here we are, paying what might appear to an outsider big money for obsolete cars that don't even work as well as the cheapest new Kia. It would be quite easy to think us fools without context, would it not?

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21 hours ago, Lawrence Helfand said:

There was more then one car built and used in the movie so I wonder just what that means/ Perhaps this is the only one left? I always got a kick out of how the chase jumps all over town. If you know San Francisco you might notice he turns the corner in one part of town and finishes the turn in another! 

I read that the second Mustang was found in Mexico. It was a little more than a shell, but the found numbers on the car that matched. They also found the Charger that was used for the street scenes, and not the chase. The two Chargers were not originally  black. One was Yellow, the other was B5 Blue. They were painted black for the movie.

    Filming  chase scenes  on location are difficult, setting up shots,  closing streets, blocking off regular traffic, crowd control, etc. Warner Brothers wanted the chase to be filmed on the back lot, but McQueen said no ,  so it was filmed on the  actual streets.

The editing makes it look like one long chase. The film won an Oscar for editing.

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I would also venture to say that the backstory since the movie was made helps to add to the provenance. Kiernan's dad was reclusive about the car, especially after someone leaked out the news that it was sitting in his barn. He wouldn't allow any magazines or enthusiast news outlets to do a story on it or photograph it, so the MYSTERY of it turned it into somewhat of a legend. Add McQueen's connection to the car, and the documentation that Kiernan's son has including the letter McQueen sent to his Dad in 1977 trying to buy it, and I think it will add up to $$$$ this weekend.

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If this thing sells for $5mill what does that make John Belushi's Bluesmobile worth? -way better chase scene too:P

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