The 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390 that starred in the movie 1968 "Bullitt" sold at the Mecum auction in Kissimmee, Florida, on Friday for a reported $3.4 million.
The car resurfaced in early 2018 at the Detroit auto show when Ford announced the 2019 Mustang Bullitt model. At the time, Hagerty Insurance CEO Mikheel Hagerty said the car could be worth $4 million.
While the movie car had been thought lost for decades it turned up in the hands of Sean Kiernan, whose father Robert Kiernan, Jr. spotted the car in the back of Road & Track magazine in the early 1970s and bought it for $6,000. Steve McQueen, who drove the car in the movie, offered to buy it from the elder Kiernan, who declined the offer from the actor.
The car then stayed buried in the family garage until Sean Kiernan worked with Ford to bring it out of hiding for the reveal of the 2019 Mustang Bullitt, the third such special edition model in Mustang history.
Bullitt Mustang Auction
Neither Kiernan nor his father ever restored the car or resprayed the iconic Highland Green paint. They left it in original condition, complete with a camera mount on the lower body. That original condition likely made the car worth far more than if the Kiernans had restored it.
In addition to the promotional effort with Ford, the car made the rounds. It was featured on Jay Leno's Garage, showed up at the SEMA aftermaket show in Las Vegas, appeared at the Goodwood Revival, and was proudly displayed at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
The "Bullitt" Mustang is too important to just disappear into someone's collection. We don't yet know who the buyer is, but he or she may have plenty of promotional opportunities as well.