Steve McQueen nailed the concept of cool in the 1968 film Bullitt with his portrayal of Frank Bullitt, a San Francisco police lieutenant who floors a souped-up Ford Mustang through one of the most exciting cinematic chase scenes in history (and makes turtlenecks with sport coats cool in the process).The 2008 Bullitt, a special-edition version of the latest-generation Ford Mustang, does everything right in recreating the lean looks and overt aggression of both McQueen and his legendary wheels. It also repairs the damage done to the car’s rep by the lame 2001 Bullitt edition. Just 7,700 of these ’08 Bullitts were issued, and with prices that start at just over $31,000, they’re getting snapped up quickly.
The new Bullitt bears the distinctive retro look of a Mustang fastback coupe that has rolled to huge success since its 2004 resurrection. And though it’s designed to evoke past glories, the new Mustang is a masterpiece of today’s street rod technology. Innovative intake, exhaust, and engine management systems boost midrange torque and top-end power, while the muscle comes courtesy of a fiery 4.6-liter V8 engine that produces 315 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. Mated with a sporty Tremec 5-speed manual transmission, this drivetrain is a stirring tribute to the muscle car ethic. The car’s shorter rear-axle ratios launch the Bullitt 0 to 60 mph in a blistering five seconds. Just don’t plan on any hot-rod maneuvering; equipped with the latest electronic stability and traction control systems, the Bullitt refuses to fishtail on take-off no matter how hard you tromp the gas. Fortunately, the satisfying squeal of tires is always just a tap of the foot away.
From the outside, the Bullitt is all about minimalist attitude: No chrome, no air dams or spoilers, no nameplate or logos on the front or side. The only ID adornment is a brushed aluminum and black crosshair Bullitt emblem in the center of the trunk lid. Plus, the Bullitt comes finished in the authentic Dark Highland Green metallic paint from the film. Inside, the Bullitt is spare and expansive the way American cars really were during the ’60s. The aluminum dashboard facing is a nice accent to the black satin-finished surfaces. The front bucket seats are thick and comfy but supportive enough to handle some strong body shifts through hairpin turns during pursuits or getaways, whatever your situation.