Making a Legend Even Cooler: The Steve McQueen Edition Bullitt Mustang
Over 50 years after the movie “Bullitt” was released, Steve McQueen continues to be the king of cool and the epic chase scene the movie is known for is still, well… EPIC. So it’s no surprise that Ford continues creating Bullitt edition Ford Mustangs, such as 2019’s example, modeled after the movie’s green ’68 Mustang. While these are terrific cars to own, Steeda and McQueen Racing have partnered to create a limited-series Steve McQueen Edition Bullitt Mustang that is more commanding than ever, blending performance and cool into one uncompromising package.
To start off with, a 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt edition is used as a base. This model comes equipped with a performance-tuned 5.0L Ti-VCT V8 and signature Dark Highland Green exterior. “Ford did a fantastic job of bringing an excellent all-around package to market in the 2019 Bullitt,” says Bob Adams of Steeda. “But at Steeda we like to go through and amp things up and that’s what we decided we’d like to do with the Bullitt Mustang. So we put together a plan and sat down with Chad McQueen and the team at McQueen Racing with hopes of working together to bring to market an even more exclusive and higher-performing Bullitt Mustang for the true enthusiast—and that’s what we did.”
Limited to only 300 serialized versions a year, the Steve McQueen Edition Bullitt adds in a slew of suspension parts—including sway bars, subframe support, springs and more—which have been specially engineered for this application. This is, after all, not a straight-shooting machine. “We have a very purposeful design and engineering intent at Steeda,” adds Adams, “We pay attention to the NVH characteristics (Noise, Vibration & Harshness) and overall performance characteristics of the car, so that all of our components work in complete harmony together to achieve the level of performance that our customers and clients have come to expect.”
For Chad McQueen, only son of Steve McQueen, Bullitt and the cult following it claims has almost always been a part of his life. “I was there for part of the filming of Bullitt, at 8 years old,” McQueen notes. “The visual of seeing that car in the streets of San Francisco is really burnt into my memory. My dad was a big fan of engineering. If you look at his selection of motorcycles, even when he was buying antiques, it had superior engineering.”
Driving the power upgrades of the Steve McQueen Edition Bullitt is a McQueen Racing Performance Tune, nudging the horsepower count to 500. For those looking to obliterate others on the straights, a Whipple supercharger upgrade is available that will skyrocket power up to 775hp. The car comes from Ford equipped with 6-Speed Manual Transmission with Rev Matching as the only option, and the McQueen Edition adds a Tri-Ax Short Throw Shifter and clutch spring assist upgrade to it.
The specially designed aluminum wheels are another component crucial to making this Mustang fit the McQueen Edition Bullitt name. Working with Freeman Thomas on the design, a modern take on 1968’s original equipment was landed on. Featured with a staggered fitment, the Steve McQueen Edition wheels are paired with Nitto NT555G2 high performance tires in 275/35R20 in front and 315/35R20 out back. “As a driver, you know which tire is better. The 555G2 has a really nice compound and this fitment lays down plenty of meat on the road,” says McQueen.
Each special edition vehicle will be built at select Steeda Certified Ford Dealerships. “Steeda has built quality parts for the Mustang for many years. At Galpin we've enjoyed our relationship with Steeda and this was another opportunity to work on something really fun together. I know of very few cars that are more iconic than the Bullitt Mustang,” says Beau Boeckmann, President of Galpin Ford. “To have their expertise and passion in what they do as well with parts that are designed specifically for the Bullitt and painted to match… they're doing it right.”
“What I think really makes the Bullitt unique and cool, is how understated it is,” adds Boeckmann. “It's not trying to be the most loud or obnoxious, it's meant to be understated cool. The same way that Steve McQueen was. The car uniquely embodies that Steve McQueen attitude.”
You can be sure that both Chad McQueen and Bob Adams of Steeda will have one of the limited Steve McQueen editions in their own garages. “My intention is to drive the hell out of it! With the Nitto tires that are on it, I know they’ll provide me with traction and dependability I need—both on the straight lines and on the corners. My intention is to put miles on this car… to enjoy it and thoroughly drive it.”