Yet another Bullitt version of the Ford Mustang is on the way.
The Mustang Bullitt is a special, limited-edition model that Ford last offered in model year 2001.
This newest one will arrive early next year and have a base price of $31,075 (including freight), Ford officials announced during an unveiling recently in San Francisco.
Production will be limited to 7,700 of the cars, and they will be sold only in the United States and Canada, Ford says.
Arrival of this newest Bullitt marks the 40th anniversary of the 1968 Steve McQueen movie of the same name, in which McQueen, as police Lt. Frank Bullitt, drove a souped-up Dark Highland Green '68 Mustang GT fastback. That car became arguably the most famous Mustang of all time..
The car also was involved in one of the most-exciting vehicle chase scenes in movie history, with McQueen in hot pursuit of mob hit men in their Dodge Charger through the hilly streets of San Francisco.
That scene in the Warner Bros. film ran for eight minutes and had no dialogue - only roaring engines and screeching brakes and tires. But it was quite realistic, because as McQueen's Mustang roared across the intersections, going airborne for a second or two each time, we actually got a bit dizzy and felt as though we were in the car with him.
McQueen, who died of cancer in 1980, used two identical Mustangs in the chase scene, one of which was so heavily damaged during the filming that it was scrapped. At last report, the other remained in the hands of a publicity-shy collector who had it in a barn somewhere in Ohio and refused offers to buy the car or to pay to use it in a movie.
Ford said that owner bought the car through a classified ad in the Los Angeles Times in 1974, and even refused an offer from McQueen for the car.
The 2001 Mustang Bullitt was built on the chassis of the previous-generation Mustang; the new one is based on the current Mustang platform, which was completely redesigned for 2005, and looks a lot more like the Mustangs of the Bullitt era.
It will come with a special chassis and suspension, and will have a 4.6-liter V-8 engine rated at 315 horsepower and 325 foot-pounds of torque, up from 300 horsepower and 320 foot-pounds of torque in the stock '08 Mustang GT..
"The 2008 Mustang Bullitt embodies the true spirit of the 1968 movie car," Derrick Kuzak, Ford's group vice president for product development, said during the San Francisco rollout.
"Like the original Bullitt, this car dials the driving dynamics up a notch for Mustang enthusiasts who love the performance, handling and the sweet sound of Ford power that only Mustang can deliver."
The car will have a live rear axle with a 3.73:1 ratio that Ford says will help "launch the Bullitt with vigor."
Suspension changes included exchanging the stock struts and shock absorbers of the regular production GT model with heavy-duty replacements designed to handle the car's extra power and give it sportier handling.
"A tower-to-tower brace designed specifically for the Bullitt lends additional torsional and lateral stiffness to the chassis for improved cornering and holds a unique serial number for each Bullitt," the automaker said.
"The 2008 Mustang Bullitt delivers balanced performance," chief engineer Paul Randle said in announcing details of the car. "Comfort is not compromised for performance. Performance is on demand. You can easily take Bullitt from the track to the street and back onto the track with confidence."
As with the 2001 Bullitt, the brakes have been reworked as well. The front brake pads were redesigned to improve resistance to fade.
The car's special Euro flange wheels are cast aluminum, with dark Argent gray spokes that have a satin finish. The brake calipers, visible through the spokes, are painted the same color as the wheels.
On those wheels will be P235/50ZR-18 BF Goodrich g-Force tires like those used on Mustangs at the Ford Racing High Performance Driving School in Utah, the company said.
The engine for this newest Bullitt comes from Ford's racing division. Ford says it develops its full horsepower at 6,000 rpm, and full torque at 4,250 rpm, and was "designed to increase throttle response for a snappier acceleration feel."
Connected to a Tremec five-speed manual transmission, this drivetrain powers the new Bullitt to a top speed of 151 mph, which of course must be attempted only at a track, never on a public street or highway. In most jurisdictions, you would be taken to jail and your car would be impounded for driving that fast.
Ford says the Bullitt's shifter has a polished-aluminum ball that is specific to this car. It also has an open-element air filter, with the intake placed behind the driver's side headlight, and a specially modified hood liner that helps move cooler air to the engine.
"Colder air reduces intake losses," Randle said. "The new cold-air intake has shown a reduction in rise over ambient temperature from 50 degrees down to 17 degrees . That equates to more horsepower and more torque in all driving conditions."
A special adaptive-spark ignition system is new as well. Ford says this system "can sense, within a few seconds, what type of fuel is being injected into the motor" and then can adjust the ignition timing to provide maximum torque.
This allows the engine to run n regular- or premium-grade fuel, although Ford says premium fuel will give the best performance. With prices for premium fuel well over $3 a gallon - usually at least 30 cents more than regular grade, using regular can help save quite a bit of money.
The Bullitt has a custom-designed dual exhaust system with special mufflers and 3.5-inch chrome exhaust tips, up from three inches on the regular GT model.
This is fun: The car's exhaust note was tuned to sound like the Bullitt film's car, using a digitally mastered DVD created from the movie's soundtrack, Ford said.
The car's exterior is designed to look as much like the original as possible, including the same color paint, and the lack of exterior badging, Ford said. The "Bullitt" name in the center of the fake gas cap on the rear end is the only exterior identification on the car.
"The 2008 Mustang Bullitt, like the movie car, is a wolf in sheep's clothing," chief designer Doug Gaffka said. "Mustang is - and always has been - such an icon that it's recognizable without the badges. But [the] Bullitt's clean exterior doesn't give away the Ford Racing-inspired power and performance lurking under its skin."
Besides the special green color that has been used only one other time since the movie - on the 2001 Bullitt - there also will be a black exterior available.
Inside, the car has charcoal black leather upholstery and satin metallic trim. The front sport seats are similar to those used in the Mustang Shelby GT500, with extra bolstering.
Other features include a limited-slip rear axle, carbon-metallic front brake pads, a special upper grille, air conditioning, power windows/mirrors/door locks with remote, Shaker 500 audio system with six-disc CD changer and auxiliary jack for iPod, tilt steering wheel and cruise control.
No pricing has been announced yet.
G. Chambers Williams III is staff automotive columnist for the San Antonio Express-News and former transportation writer for the Star-Telegram. His automotive columns have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 1995. Contact him at (210) 250-3236; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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