HomeMedia'Bullitt' Mustang hero car on display in Traverse City, Michigan

‘Bullitt’ Mustang hero car on display in Traverse City, Michigan


Fresh from its reveal on the Ford stand at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the 1968 Mustang “hero” car from Steve McQueen’s cop-movie Bullitt headlines a weekend of special events in Traverse City, Michigan.

The car’s visit to the home of classic car insurer Hagerty has the local car community electrified. “Bullitt has the area pumped up,” said Mike Fisher, who runs a local car clubhouse, concierge and storage facility called MFD Classic Motors.

'Bullitt' Mustang hero car on display in Traverse City, Michigan | ClassicCar
Bullitt Mustang is unloaded from Reliable carrier at Hagerty HQ | Ben Woodworth photo

The Bullitt Mustang will be displayed inside the atrium of Hagerty’s headquarters, and a special Cars and Caffeine event is scheduled for Friday from 7 a.m. until 9 a.m., complete with free coffee and donuts. Enthusiasts are encouraged to bring out their own classic cars to park in the company’s courtyard.

Joining the famous movie car will be examples of Ford’s own Bullitt Mustangs from 2001, 2008, and the re-introduced 2019 model. It will be the first time that all generations of the Bullitt commemorative models will be displayed together with the original.

Later Saturday, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., MFD Classic Motors will host a charity chili cook-off and will exhibit two other classic cars coming directly from the North American International Auto Show – a 1959 Plymouth Sport Fury and a 1962 International Travelette – which were driven 2,400 miles to the NAIAS as part of The Drive Home III, the mid-winter road rally sponsored by America’s Automotive Trust.

'Bullitt' Mustang hero car on display in Traverse City, Michigan | ClassicCar
Cars from the Drive Home III also on display Saturday at MFD Classic Motors | Mike Fisher photo

At 10 a.m. Sunday morning, Hagerty will host a “secret surprise showing” of the mystery movie McQueen’s Chase – A 50th Anniversary Celebration (Hint: It was filmed in San Francisco in 1968) at the State Theater in downtown Traverse City. Admission is free.

Tuesday, February 6 from noon to 3 p.m., Hagerty will host four “Collector and the Car” sessions moderated by Bullitt-owner Sean Kiernan and Historic Vehicle Association president Mark Gessler. The sessions will start at noon, 12:45, 1:30 and 2:15 and are open to the public.

The Bullitt Mustang will be the focus of a documentary movie to be released later in the year by the HVA. Little Pieces: The Untold Story of the Bullitt Mustang will recount the 40-year family ownership of the car that even Steve McQueen could not acquire.

'Bullitt' Mustang hero car on display in Traverse City, Michigan | ClassicCar
Time-worn interior of the Bullitt Mustang | Ben Woodworth photo

The HVA has certified the Mustang as the 21st vehicle added to the National Historic Vehicle Register, the timing done in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Bullitt movie and the car’s recent re-discovery.

“From our vantage point, it is among the most important automotive artifacts of the 20th century. It has the incredible combination of Hollywood royalty and decades of an honest family’s ownership and the secret that engulfed its mystery,” Gessler said.

The Bullitt Mustang will remain on display at Hagerty until February 14 and can be visited Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

'Bullitt' Mustang hero car on display in Traverse City, Michigan | ClassicCar
The car in the Hagerty gallery showcase | Ben Woodworth photo
William Hall
William Hall
William Hall is a writer, classic car broker and collector based in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. He has spent the whole of his professional career in the automotive industry, starting as an auto-parts delivery driver at the age of 16 to working for some of the nation's premier restoration shops. He is a concours judge and a consultant to LeMay-America's Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington.


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