Surviving 1968 Bullitt Mustang #559 Revealed!

HIDDEN FOR 50 YEARS by ITS owners, SURVIVING 1968 Bullitt Mustang #559 revealed to public!

The secret I have kept for the past 28 years can finally be told!

by brad bowling

JAN. 14, 2018 -- Shocking everyone in the collector car universe, today Ford Motor Co. publicly unveiled the 1968 Mustang Steve McQueen drove in the movie Bullitt alongside the company's 2019 Bullitt Mustang special edition. The event was part of a press conference Ford held at 4:30 p.m. in advance of the North American International Auto Show at the Cobo Center in Detroit.

One of two cars used in filming, this one—known as "#559" from the final digits of its vehicle identification number—survived the famous chase scene intact because it was the close-up, or "hero," car most often seen with McQueen at the wheel. For more than 50 years, #559 was hidden from public view by a succession of three owners.

Perhaps the biggest surprise to the assembled automotive media members was the car's condition. After five decades in seclusion, the Mustang is in remarkably good shape. The body has scratches and dents, along with some surface rust. The driver-side rear quarter panel has a minor amount of rust-through and an obvious body repair. The American Racing wheel spokes have a patina of rust. The 390ci, S-code V-8 engine was recently rebuilt by its owner. In short, it looks like the kind of barn find that any car collector would be thrilled to stumble across.

Because of my extensive history with this car and its three owners, I have been aware of the impending reveal for the past several months, and I was asked to participate in a documentary being filmed about #559. Ford invited me to attend a top-secret advance viewing of the car deep in the bowels of its Detroit Product Development Center (PDC), which took place Jan. 11. The PDC is where engineers and stylists brainstorm special products such as the latest generation Ford GT and the new 50th Anniversary Bullitt Mustang. It was also my first chance to meet #559's owner in person, after working with his family on this story and maintaining their privacy since 1989.

Before I get ahead of myself with this timeline, let's start at the beginning. Here now is the full, uncensored story of the 28 years this writer has spent investigating and chronicling the history of #559.

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