50 Years A Legend.
I wasn’t alive when Bullitt hit theatres across North America in October 1968, and I honestly can’t remember ever watching the film from start to finish.
How can this be, you may ask? Well, let’s just say my unwatched movie backlog is clogged with a lot of films both new and old. Basically, it’s hard to catch up once you have a list as long as mine. But I’m making it my mission to watch Bullitt. And sooner rather than later.
What I know about Bullitt is what just about everyone knows about it: it’s set on the streets of San Francisco, stars Steve McQueen and there’s a pretty epic car chase. Oh, and McQueen’s character, Lieutenant Frank Bullitt, drives a green 1968 Ford Mus-tang GT Fastback. The Mustang gets a lot of screen time.
Despite McQueen’s star status at the time the film was released, it’s unlikely anyone connected with the project could have fore-seen its ascendency into the revered cult classic its widely known as today. But a lot of its latter-day fame is connected primarily to three factors: the scenic San Francisco set-ting, McQueen’s untimely death at age 50 in 1980, and the ever-present green Mustang.
As the decades passed, and the classic film status of Bullitt grew, Ford decided
to capitalize on its nostalgia with special edition Mustang Bullitts. The first, released in 2001, proved to be popular with Mustang fans and collectors so Ford built a second one for the 2008-09 model years which coincided with the 40th anniversary of the release of Bullitt.
Fast forward 10 years, and we have another Bullitt on our hands. This time, it’s a 2019 model designed to commemorate not only the 50th anniversary of the film, but also the green GT fastback that first captured the public’s imagination. Given the 50th anniversary of film’s release just passed, we think it only made sense to put 2019 Mustang Bullitt on the cover of this issue and give it the full Driven treatment, which I had the good fortune of fulfilling as the road test editor.
But our coverage doesn’t stop there, as our motorsports editor George Webster breaks down the epic car chase in Bullitt and explains why it’s one of the best to ever be captured on film. We’ve also included a timeline that chronicles the history of the two ’68 Mustang GTs used to film Bullitt, and we’ve as many archival photos from Ford in the layout as we could find. Flip to page 16 to dive in.
Also assembled for your reading pleasure are feature stories about the history of the iconic Watkins Glen circuit in upstate New York, written by our resident expert on all things related to The Glen, George Webster (page 22), along with Mark Hacking’s rare and memorable experience behind the wheel of a BMW M1 GTO at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (page 36).
We’ve also assembled a collection of im-pressions on new cars with reviews and first drives on a broad selection of new machinery, including the all-new 2019 Infiniti QX50 (page 40) and gorgeous 2018 Aston Martin DB11 AMR (page 28). Our grassroots motorsports coverage and Winter Escapes destination series also returns this issue with new winter spots to check out and explore. In short, there’s a lot to discover within these pages and we hope it provides for some good read-ing over these cold winter months.
And with that, I’m off to watch a certain iconic Steve McQueen movie.
Ignition Luxury & Performance Magazine