The original Bullitt Mustang, shown around the world, sold for $3.4 million.
Historic Vehicle Association
The car, which was screen-used and driven by Steve McQueen, showed its worth at Mecum.
Back in 2018, when Ford revealed that it had found the original Steve McQueen-driven, 1968 Highland Green Bullitt Mustang, the internet freaked out. Of course, this announcement happened alongside the debut of the decidedly excellent modern Bullitt Mustang, so that probably helped too, but nevertheless, it was a big deal.
The original Mustang, all patinated and gorgeous, had been in the same family for decades but, all things must change eventually, and now the car is going up for auction. The very special Mustang was sold by Mecum on Friday at its . The hammer price was a whopping $3.4 million, which makes it the most expensive Mustang ever sold at auction. Previously, a 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 took the title with a $2.2 million sale price.
Given the provenance of the Bullitt Mustang, it was difficult to put a price tag on it. Still, some experts expected it to go for as much as $4 million. It appears my personal rationale was on the money, though. I expected less given the softening of the classic car market over the last year or two -- something we saw borne out in Monterey.
While this is still a mighty valuable Mustang, it may have underperformed a tad. It didn't match the all-time record for most expensive American muscle car sold at auction, either. That happened in 2014 at Mecum's Seattle auction. The car? A 1971 Plymouth 'Cuda convertible. That's also when classic car prices were seemingly at their highest.
The Mustang has spent the last year or so touring the world after its stunning Detroit Auto Show debut, visiting places like Goodwood, numerous auto shows, and even the city that made the car so famous, San Francisco. But now, the owner, Sean Kiernan, decided it was time to let this piece of history go. He even offered it with no reserve price.
Now, hopefully the car gets a deserving home. Whether we see this piece of history hit the auction block again some day remains to be seen, but I'd venture to guess it will.
Originally published Jan. 9.
Update, Jan. 10: Updated to reflect the final sale price at the auction.