Ford Mustang from Steve McQueen's Bullitt auctioned for $5m

The car was featured in the 1968 film Bullitt, in which it was driven by actor Steve McQueen.
The car was featured in the 1968 film Bullitt, in which it was driven by actor Steve McQueen. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

KISSIMMEE (United States) • The Highland Green 1968 Ford Mustang GT featured in the film Bullitt was sold last Friday at a Florida auction house for US$3.74 million (S$5 million).

The sale at Mecum Kissimmee marks the most expensive Mustang ever sold, surpassing a 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake that sold last year for US$2.2 million, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Owner Sean Kiernan, with his sister Kelly Cotton riding shotgun, drove the car across the auction block at Silver Spurs Arena and addressed a crowd of about 25,000 before the bidding started.

"This car had sold twice in its life, it's been in my family for 45 years. Each time it has sold, it was US$3,500," Mr Kiernan said. "So we're going to start it off at that price and go from there."

The auction house posted an 11-minute video of the auction on YouTube. Bidding surpassed US$3 million in the first minute.

The top bid went back and forth between someone present and a bidder on the telephone for several minutes before the mystery buyer on the telephone won, agreeing to pay US$3.4 million plus a 10 per cent buyer's premium.

Mr Kiernan's father, Robert, bought the car after seeing an advertisement in a 1974 issue of car magazine Road & Track. The New Jersey family used it as a daily commuter until the clutch gave out in 1980.

In the late 1970s, actor Steve McQueen, who played the title character in Bullitt, tracked down the Kiernans and asked if he could reclaim the muscle car in return for a similar Mustang. His pleas went unanswered.

Robert and Sean Kiernan began working on the Mustang in 2001. After the elder Kiernan's death in 2014, Mr Sean Kiernan finished the car and revealed it to the world.

 
 
 

Following the car's sale, he said he does not think a more expensive Mustang will ever be sold.

"As far as Mustangs go, this is it. With dad being down in the record books forever, that's what matters to me," Mr Kiernan said.

"I've been at peace with the sale for probably eight months now. We're just having fun with this."

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2020, with the headline 'Ford Mustang from Steve McQueen's Bullitt auctioned for $5m'. Print Edition | Subscribe