The incredible hammer price was fetched at the Kissimmee Mecum Auction, making the 1968 Fastback the most expensive Mustang ever auctioned publicly.
As the wooden hammer cracked against the block, the automotive world was stunned at the dollar amount flashing above the stage. On January 10, 2020, the 1968 Ford Mustang GT390 Fastback driven by the legendary Steve McQueen in Bullitt cemented itself in history as the most expensive Mustang ever sold at a public auction. This beats the previous record by $1.2 million, as a 1967 Mustang GT500 Super Snake sold for $2.2 million at Kissimmee in 2019. The $3.4 million hammer price also makes the Bullitt Mustang the most expensive American muscle car ever auctioned.
The car’s owner, Sean Kiernan, requested that the bidding start at a mere $3,500. This unusually low price was due to all previous purchases of the car being $3,500 (Sean’s father and previous owner Frank Marranca both purchased the car for $3,500), and Sean wanted to stick with tradition. The following bid immediately jumped to $1 million, and then to $2 million quickly after.
The battered Highland Green Mustang still shows the remains of filming Bullitt, including additional brackets welded for camera mounts and the modified engine to enhance that symphonious exhaust growl. The chase scene in which McQueen’s Mustang appeared in is widely heralded as the most influential car chase in film history, paving the way for the chase scenes of today.
McQueen’s cars have a history of selling for outrageous prices, and the Bullitt Mustang joins impressive company. A McQueen-owned 1976 Porsche 930 Turbo sold for $1.95 million in 2015, and McQueen’s 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB by Scaglietti sold for $10.18 million in 2014.
The hype and excitement surrounding the sudden unearthing of the Mustang will likely never be replicated. The buyer remains a mystery, but they have just collected a vehicle that is chock-full of movie history. Who knows when the rusty, beaten GT390 will appear again at auction, perhaps it will continue to set records?
Below is the chase scene from Bullitt.