Missing for nearly 50 years, the iconic 1968 Mustang GT that Steve McQueen wildly drove in the 1968 movie “Bullitt” has turned up in a scrap yard in Baja California and been restored by the owner of a body shop in Paramount and his partner, it was reported Tuesday.
The car disappeared shortly after filming was completed and remained missing despite the late McQueen’s attempts to locate and purchase it for his private collection, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Paramount-based body shop owner Ralph Garcia Jr., who has made a career building replicas of the “Eleanor” Mustang featured in the Nicolas Cage movie “Gone in 60 Seconds,” said he was contacted by an associate in Mexico, who said he had found a clean ’68 Mustang fastback that he thought would be a good candidate for “Eleanor”-ization, according to the newspaper.
The associate, Hugo Sanchez, delivered the car to a shop Garcia owns in Mexicali, Mexico. It was scheduled for restoration when Sanchez called Garcia and told him he had run the vehicle identification numbers on the car and discovered it was no ordinary Mustang, The Times reported.
“I was going to turn it into another `Eleanor’ car, but my partner Googled the VIN,” Garcia said. “That’s how he found out it was the `Bullitt’ car. He said, `You can’t touch it!”‘
Car historian and former Petersen Automotive Museum consultant Ken Gross, who called the car “the Holy Grail of the Mustang car crowd,” said the Mustang could be worth $1 million at auction.
“This is certainly on the list of top 10 list of most desirable missing cars,” Gross said, right up there with the Porsche actor James Dean was driving when he died, The Times reported.
The car was featured in one of the all-time great car chases through the hilly streets of San Francisco, bouncing into the air as it was driven at top speeds by the real-life car racer McQueen.
—City News Service
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