By now you’ve probably seen the news that the Bullitt Mustang is heading to auction at Mecum Kissimmee in a few weeks.
The car, VIN 8R02S125559, is a 1968 Mustang GT 390. It’s Highland Green, fitted with a 4-speed, and still looks just as it did when it tore up the streets of San Francisco while trying to lose that black ’68 Charger. It’s basically untouched from its movie look after a long life with the 3rd owner’s family.
There’s been a lot of talk about what this car might be worth, and that’s a really hard question to answer for a couple of reasons.
The McQueen factor, as we’ve come to call it here at ACC HQ, has applied to a bunch of things McQueen once owned, and it usually applies a hefty premium for that provenance. For example, one of the more recent sales was a 1953 Hudson Hornet sedan that made $165,000 at RM Auctions’ Fort Lauderdale event. McQueen’s 1949 Chevrolet 3100 pickup also brought $95,200 at Bonhams just a few months later. Nice cars, both of them, but expensive compared to their non-McQueen counterparts.
Take that truck, for example. The current ACC median valuation for an Advance Design Chevrolet is $31,900. McQueen’s name brought 3x bump over the median in that case.
For the Hornet, it was a 5x bump.
So what does all this mean for this Mustang? Can you do the math and add in a percentage boost over the current median and expect it to be in the ballpark for value? Nope, and here’s why.
Today’s median for your everyday big-block Mustang fastback is $58,200. If we follow the 3x bump as outlined with the truck, you might expect the price to be $174,600. With a 5x bump. as we saw with the Husdon, we’d be looking at something more like $300k. Both are well short of the mark. Even if you toss out the notion of a median value and apply a premium to the highest sale on record, it’s still off from what I think this car will do at auction.
None of that math works because we’re dealing with more than just a basic McQueen car here. This is THE icon — many car people will tell you that this is the one McQueen item to end all McQueen items. This Mustang is Americana, car culture, star power, barn finds, and performance all wrapped into one Highland Green lot. Ford made several special runs of later cars because of this thing. Car guys still watch “Bullitt” (a not so great film if we’re being honest) just for the chase this car performed. This is the stuff of legend.
If you want to get closer in terms of value, consider the Persol sunglasses McQueen reportedly worn in “The Thomas Crown Affair.” They sold for $70,200 back in 2006. Similar vintage sunglasses without star power sell for around $2k these days. Think about that for a second.
This Mustang is going to be expensive. Really expensive. And to the buyer it’ll be worth it.
Just how expensive is anyone’s guess — and it really comes down to who is in the room and how badly they want to make the legend a part of their life. But suffice to say, we’ll be talking about this car a lot more in the coming weeks, and I expect it will be in terms of a big-dollar justification.
What do you think it will bring? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.
Image: Mecum Auctions