In the 90s and early 2000s Ford built many special edition mustangs under the Ford flag before ALL the upfitting companies went big time with their mustang lines. A few of the notable editions were, the 7-Up Edition, the Boss Shinoda, The Spring Feature, The Mach 1, and The Bullitt. In 2000 the Bullitt Concept made a debut at the L.A. Auto Show. The audience was completely in awe of it. Roush was contracted by Ford to make the concept, at the time Roush had complete access to all the Ford parts bins and many of the original plans didn’t come to be, but I’ll tell you more about that.
To see how the Bullitt ended up the way it is, you have to know where it came from. Back in October 1968 a movie about a detective in San Fransisco set the annual record for a weekend debut, the movie was “Bullitt”. Ive seen Bullitt some 17 times or so, and still don’t know what happens after the Charger wrecks. But I remember the Mustang scene, its widely considered to be the best car chase scene in film history.
Also the car is one of the most memorable Mustangs yet, a 1968 Highland Green Mustang GT 390 Fastback with blacked out grille, no running pony, siting on black face, polished lip American Racing Torque Thrust IIs. It was a icon, while the 390 wasn’t the fastest Mustang made, it was the best sounding and it really sang. Steve McQueen was the perfect fit for the drivers role, only 5 years earlier he had been the star of “The Great Escape” where he jumped a Triumph motorcycle over a POW camp barricade.
Its clear to see why designers built a homage edition Mustang, the sound, the jumps, the tire shredding, the color. The scene was perfect and a tribute car with the proper backing by ford would be a surefire sale. To style the new car, designers had to get all the details right, it wasn’t going to be enough to paint the car green and put some Torque Thrust II wheels on it.
Starting with a 1999 Mustang they
- Shaved the side scoops
- Designed the seat covers to emulate the 68 GT styling
- Deck lid pedestal spoiler was deleted
- Added rolled stainless steel exhaust tips
- Smooth rocker panels with integrated mud flaps
- Blacked out grill with chrome running pony
- A billet fuel door
- Retro styled gauges
- Brushed aluminum door sill kick panels with the Bullitt logo
- Brushed shifter bezel
- Brushed shift knob
- Polished modern pedal covers with rubber grips
- 13 inch cobra style front brakes, with red calipers and a embossed running pony
- Sharper angled C pillar, later found on the Mach 1
- 3/4 inch lowering springs
- Larger rear rotors
- Performance struts
- A new Ford wheel styled after the American Racing Torque Thrust II
- Tuned exhaust to give the Bullitt a unique old-school sound
- A special intake using a Cobra style twin blade throttle body, bringing HP to 265, and TQ to 305.
The original design was to use the 4v 4.6L from the normal aspirated Cobras made in 1999 and 2001, but SVT claimed they were the only ones allowed to use this powerplant and halted any further use of the 4v in the Bullitt project. I wonder what that would have done to Cobra sales, and what it would have done for the ford brand as a whole.
Only 5,582 of these cars were produced, they came in 3 colors. The best selling color by far was Dark Highland Green, but they also came in Ford True Blue, and Black. For comparison there were 7,251 Cobras made in 2001. Of the 5,582 built more than 4,000 were presold.
With the retro styling of the 2005 came the clear opportunity to make a encore to the 2001 Bullitt, and in 2008 they did.
Playing on a lot of the same styling cues as the 01, it was a mostly debadged GT with black Bullitt style wheels, and a interior with retro inspired features.
Honestly I don’t think this car will ever be as collectable, because instead of adding the subtle performance upgrades or paving a way in a homage car, they slapped on some Ford Racing upgrades you could have already found in the catalog. For me it just doesn’t do it.
Do you think that the Bullitt be it the 2001 or 2008 will ever be a collectable car? let me know in the comments. Don’t forget to Like, Comment and Share!
Bonus footage: Bullitt chase remake