Almost any classic Ford Mustang is worth good money these days. But one particular Mustang is worth a fortune, because the late Steve McQueen drove it into movie immortality more than 50 years ago. The chase scene in his film "Bullitt" is an icon of on-screen car action. And it made that green 1968 Mustang a bona fide star.
"Because of Steve McQueen and the provenance of the movie, it probably is the most famous Mustang in the world," a veteran movie car consultant who has place vehicles in hundreds of films and television show.
And now that car is changing hands, for the first time in over 45 years. After Warner Brothers was done with it in 1968, the car was repaired, repainted and sold off. It was last purchased in New Jersey in 1974, and sat in storage for most of the time since.
Ford Motor Company was in on its big unearthing two years ago, when it became the automotive equivalent of King Tut, rolled onto stage at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. It then went on a publicity tour to raise money and awareness for Parkinson's disease, which the late owner passed away from.
His son decided that now was the time to send it off to auction.
When the hammer fell for the last time in Kissimmee, Florida, the winning bid by telephone was $3.4 million. With typical buyer's fees to the auction company, the mystery bidder paid over $3.5 million for a Mustang.
"I didn't think we'd go quite that high. I mean, in the past his (McQueen's) cars traditionally have gone for about three times their value. If you took this car at three times its value it'd be like $210,000. So this is a huge jump," said movie car expert Josh Hancock.
A second Bullitt Mustang is actually out there too, thought to be gone forever but rescued from a junkyard in Mexico in 2017. It has yet to re-resurface, after being verified as the real deal. Maybe a second auction will be in the works someday for that other car.
In the meantime, all the attention and speculation paid to that famous movie Mustang has not been lost on Ford Motor Company. For the third time in the past 20 years, they've come out with a special Bullitt Edition of the Mustang GT. Not cheap at just under $50,000 before options. But, that's far cheaper than the most famous Mustang in the world.
1968 Mustang driven by Steve McQueen in 'Bullitt' fetches $3.4M from mystery bidder at auction