Mustang fans the world over rejoiced earlier this year when the original 1968 Mustang from the movie “Bullitt” resurfaced. At the same time, Ford showed off a brand-new 2019 Mustang Bullitt. Jay Leno trekked to the Ford Proving Grounds to take a look at both cars for this episode of “Jay Leno’s Garage.”
The episode begins with Jay speaking to Mustang marketing director Mark Schaller while driving the new Bullitt around the road course at the proving grounds. The car is painted the familiar Dark Highland Green, and it takes its styling cues from McQueen’s Mustang, though this one one packs a 480-horsepower 5.0-liter V-8 engine under its hood. Jay doesn’t go too in depth with respect to the driving dynamics, but that’s because he’s soon greeted by the sight of the old-school-cool original Bullitt.
Immediately familiar given its Highland Green paintwork, the original car is in rough yet running shape. It’s been privately owned by the Kiernan family since 1974 when Bob Kiernan found an ad in the back of Road & Track and bought it for $ 6,000. Now it has returned to enter the spotlight. Besides playing a starring role in the reveal of the third special edition Mustang Bullitt, the car also earned a display spot in our nation’s capital.
While the newer Mustang is a bit easier to drive, this one is pure soul and character. It’s 320-hp, 390-cubic-inch V-8 engine sounds fantastic. The lines remain iconic, and the car continues to add to its legend.
Jay and current owner, Sean Kiernan, take a few laps around the proving grounds and talk about the history of the car. It’s cool to hear the bit about Steve McQueen trying (and failing) to buy the car back. You don’t need to be a Mustang fan to appreciate the story. This one will make any car enthusiast smile.