It's one of the most celebrated, adrenaline-fuelled movie car chases in history. In Peter Yates’s 1968 Bullitt, Steve McQueen, sat at the wheel of a Highland Green Ford Mustang 390 GT, tears after two criminals in a black Dodge Charger at breakneck speed – as on-board cameras mounted on the cars themselves capture all the action.
'Bullitt' Ford Mustang remarkably found in Mexican scrapyard
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Two Mustangs were used in the film, but while one is now privately owned, the other went missing after filming was complete, disappearing for almost 50 years. McQueen attempted to find it ahead of his death in 1980, but to no avail.
Now, however, automobile enthusiast Hugo Sanchez and his friend Ralph Garcia Jr, who makes a living turning old cars into replicas of the "Eleanor" Mustang from Gone in 60 Seconds, have discovered the elusive artifact in a scrapyard in the Mexican state of Baja California.
At first, Garcia was planning to turn the priceless Bullitt relic into another "60 Seconds" replica. Luckily, however, he has a policy of checking any Mustangs he might receive with the Ford production database held by the company Marti Auto Works.
According to Fox News, he was "shocked" when the results came back for this particular model.
The car's vehicle identification number (VIN), along with telltale evidence of along-ago green paint job, revealed that it was almost certainly the long-lost '68 Mustang from Bullitt.
The VIN didn't appear to be a fake, and some of the original modifications made to the car for the film were still in place, although the vehicle's rear axle had been replaced at some point with one from a different model.
Despite the fact that the discovery could be worth a considerable sum, Sanchez and Garcia are determined to lovingly restore it themselves, rather than make a quick sell.
As the video above demonstrates, the Mustang is already looking more like its old movie-star self, with a coat of green paint and a license plate identical to the one it sports in the film. Garcia, meanwhile, is busy sourcing parts for a full restoration.
- Rebecca Hawkes, Telegraph.co.uk