LA 2007 Preview: It's a green Mustang! The Bullitt is back!
The latest edition of everyone's favorite green Mustang is back and this one won't be featured on AutoblogGreen. Just in time for the 40th anniversary of one of the quintessential cinematic car chases, the 2008 Mustang Bullitt is coming to a Ford showroom near you. As expected, the new Bullitt is available in the Highland Green of Steve McQueen's original, but it can also be had in black. The goal according to Mustang design chief Doug Gaffka was to provide a more restrained alternative to some of the more flamboyant 'Stangs while providing great overall performance.
On the outside, the Bullitt is the first of the current generation of S197 Mustangs to be devoid of a pony badge anywhere on the car. The plain black grille is encircled by a simple chrome trim ring. The 18" Bullitt wheels recall those on the original, but the brake calipers are now painted a dark grey so as not draw attention to themselves. A round faux gas cap on the trunk lid wears a Bullitt badge centered in a gun sight graphic. A similar badge adorns the center of the steering wheel. Unlike the last Bullitt, this one keeps its standard fuel filler door. Spoilers, wings, fake scoops and all other such puffery are thankfully banished from this Mustang.
More after the jump.
On the inside, all Bullitts will be finished in black leather with an engine-turned metal applique spanning the dashboard. An aluminum ball sits on top of the shift lever while a thicker leather covered rim provides a better grip on the steering wheel.
The mechanicals get a variety of refinements from the Ford Racing catalog. The engine gets revised calibrations, new camshaft timing and a low restriction air cleaner. Those tweaks are enough to yield a slight bump in output to 315 HP and 325 lb-ft of torque. To help transform that power into forward motion, the Bullitt gets the GT500's rear axle with a 3.73:1 final drive ratio. The suspension gets revised spring and damping rates along with a lowered rear ride height for improved handling.
Since the Bullitt will be built in strictly limited quantities, it of course has the obligatory serial number to indicate it's special status. Unlike most such vehicles, instead of putting the number plate on the dash, the Bullitt will have its cast aluminum strut tower brace emblazoned with the serial number. The serial numbers, by the way, will run from 0001 to 7700. After the Bullitt starts rolling off of the Flat Rock, MI assembly line sometime in the first quarter of 2008, Ford will ship 7,000 of them to dealers across the United States. A further 700 will get assigned to Canadian showrooms. Once those 7,700 cars are gone, that's it. There will be no 2009 Mustang Bullitt.
If a green Mustang with a bare grille appeals to you, U.S. dealers will start the bidding at $31,075. If past specials are anything to go by, the out the door price will likely include an extra financial incentive to the dealer to convince them that you are deserving. Stay tuned for our First Drive impression tomorrow direct from the streets of San Francisco.
BUCKLE UP AND BRACE FOR ACTION, McQUEEN FANS:
MUSTANG BULLITT™ RACES TO THE STREETS in 2008
- · More horses: Featuring the latest in Ford Racing Technology, Bullitt's 4.6-liter V-8 delivers 315 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque.
- · Sport-tuned: Modified chassis and suspension improves an already competent and capable chassis to deliver the most balanced Mustang ever.
- · Film-inspired: Dark Highland Green exterior paint calls back the original movie car, while a specially mastered DVD helped Ford engineers deliver an exhaust note that matches the film.
- · Mustang magic: Bullitt is the latest in a line of special editions that keep Mustang news fresh. Plus, it delivers on the Mustang tradition of unique products that fit customers' individual preferences: a steed for every need.
- · Bottom line: Bullitt carries on the Mustang tradition of affordable performance with a $31,075 Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). A limited production run of 7,700 units is planned.
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 6 – Four decades after hitting the big screen and redefining the on-screen car chase, the Ford Mustang Bullitt returns to the streets in 2008, blending the best Mustang ever with the latest Ford Racing technology.
This modern classic delivers a balance of power and performance, thanks to special chassis and suspension tweaks as well as the 315 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque that Bullitt delivers through its 4.6-liter V-8 engine.
"The 2008 Mustang Bullitt embodies the true spirit of the 1968 movie car," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. "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 2008 Bullitt arrives in dealers early next year, with a starting MSRP of $31,075 (including destination and delivery) and limited production of 7,700 units for the and .
The launch of the limited edition 2008 Mustang Bullitt coincides with the 40th anniversary of the release of the Warner Bros. Pictures film that gave the original car its name. In the movie, legendary actor Steve McQueen drove a Dark Highland Green 1968 Mustang GT that gained cult status among Mustang enthusiasts, thanks to a seven-minute scene that film and car buffs believe defined the modern movie car chase.
Bullitt Chassis Delivers a Balance of Performance and Comfort
Ford engineers modified the 2008 Mustang Bullitt's chassis and suspension to fine-tune handling and ensure the extra horsepower and torque from the 4.6-liter V-8 is put to good use. The live rear axle uses a unique 3.73:1 gear that helps launch the Bullitt with vigor.
Stock Mustang GT shocks and struts were swapped out for new units that allowed engineers to dial in a more aggressive driving dynamic while still maintaining the outstanding ride and balance of the base Mustang GT. 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 2008 Mustang Bullitt delivers balanced performance," said Paul Randle, chief engineer. "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."
The brakes also have been improved versus the base Mustang GT's. More aggressive front pads were developed specifically for Bullitt and improve fade resistance and pedal feel.
The 2008 Mustang Bullitt wears unique cast-aluminum Euroflange wheels, offering a modern twist on the original movie car. The Dark Argent Gray spokes feature a satin finish, while a bright-machined lip completes the look. Calipers are colored to match the wheel. The wheels are wrapped in the same P235/50ZR 18 BF Goodrich g-Force T/A KDWS tires used on Mustangs at the Ford Racing High Performance Driving School at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.
Powered by Ford Racing
Bullitt packs firepower under the hood. The 4.6-liter, 3-valve V-8 delivers 315 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 325 pound-feet of torque at 4,250 rpm.
Engine calibration is designed to increase throttle response for a snappier acceleration feel. The redline has been boosted by 250 rpm to 6,500, with top-end speed bumped to 151 miles-per-hour. Gears are selected via a Tremac 5-speed manual transmission, and the shifter is topped with a polished aluminum shift ball designed specifically for the 2008 Bullitt.
The car features the first use of an open-element air filter in a factory-produced, fuel-injected Mustang. Inspired by Ford Racing, the intake is tucked neatly behind the driver side headlamp, mounted in an air box that was tooled up specifically for the Mustang. The hood liner was extensively modified to provide a full seal to the air box, ensuring that the engine is fed a steady diet of cooler air.
"Colder air reduces intake losses," said Randle. "The new cold-air intake has shown a reduction in rise over ambient temperature from 50 degrees down to 17 degrees Fahrenheit. That equates to more horsepower and more torque in all driving conditions."
Engine performance is further enhanced through the use of an innovative adaptive spark ignition system, new for the 2008 Mustang.
The system can sense, within a few seconds, what type of fuel is being injected into the motor and adjusts the spark to provide maximum torque at any given speed – and as much as 10 pounds-feet more between 1,000 and 4,000 rpm.
Bullitt can run on either premium or regular fuel. Ford recommends premium fuel for optimum performance, but the adaptive spark ignition will adjust the spark to burn regular fuel without damaging the engine.
"With all the improvements we've made to the engine and the taller 3.73-to-1 rear gear, the Bullitt will plant you firmly in the driver's seat when you stand on the throttle. We've seen zero to 60 times drop by up to three tenths of a second," said Randle. "There's also plenty of power on tap at any speed. The car definitely feels lighter on its feet, and it is."
The custom-designed exhaust system continues Mustang's traditional use of a true dual-exhaust system with a new H-pipe specifically developed for Bullitt. The all-new mufflers, featuring larger 3.5-inch chrome tips (versus the 3-inch tips on the standard Mustang GT) are tuned to minimize backpressure, maximize horsepower and provide the Bullitt with its powerful exhaust note.
"We wanted to get the exhaust note as close to the original movie car as possible, so we based it on a digitally mastered DVD," said Randle. "We wanted something that would rumble your heart, literally buzz you – and the Bullitt team delivered."
Capturing the Bullitt's Undercover Look
The original 1968 Mustang's stealth-like appearance wasn't necessarily intentional. In typical Hollywood fashion, the movie crew removed all exterior badges and logos from the car – including the iconic pony badge on the grille.
The 2008 Mustang Bullitt calls back the original movie car in painstaking detail – right down to the dark green paint and lack of exterior badges, scoops and spoilers.
The only visible identification is the word "Bullitt" dropped into a gun-sight graphic in the center of the faux gas cap on the decklid.
"The 2008 Mustang Bullitt, like the movie car, is a wolf in sheep's clothing," said Doug Gaffka, chief designer. "Mustang is – and always has been – such an icon that it's recognizable without the badges. But Bullitt's clean exterior doesn't give away the Ford Racing-inspired power and performance lurking under its skin."
The new Bullitt wears a close match to the movie car's 1968 Highland Green paint, officially called Dark Highland Green. This distinctive color has only graced one other Mustang, the 2001 Mustang Bullitt. Gaffka assures Bullitt enthusiasts that the color will remain an exclusive Mustang Bullitt color. Non-purists can opt for only one other color – black.
The Mustang Bullitt uses the standard Mustang GT's front fascia. A new black-mesh grille is devoid of the standard chrome pony and is accented by a satin aluminum strip that represents the chrome grille surround on the 1968 car. The rear fascia also is shared with the standard Mustang GT and houses Bullitt's unique dual exhaust tips. Dark Argent Gray painted brake calipers closely match the wheel spokes, while staying true to the original.
Bullitt Interior Delivers Comfort with a Purpose
The interior is pure Mustang Bullitt, understated and dressed in Charcoal Black leather and Satin metallic trim. The centerpiece of the interior is the hand-machined, aluminum swirl dash panel appliqué.
"The machined appliqué differentiates the Bullitt from any other Mustang in the line-up," said Gaffka. "It's also perfect for the Bullitt. The graphic presentation brings back the feel of the '60s while still staying true to the Mustang's modern interior design."
Satin aluminum bezels circle the air vents and gauges, complementing a satin aluminum shift ball that replaces the standard leather-wrapped shifter on the Mustang GT. The pedals wear race-inspired aluminum covers that further reinforce Bullitt's performance intentions.
The interior is graphically clean. The only identifying marks visible inside Bullitt are the logo and gun-sight graphic mounted in the center of the leather-wrapped steering wheel and the word "Bullitt" embossed into the metal sill plates.
The Dark Charcoal leather seats pick up the diamond perforation inserts from the base Mustang GT. The seats are patterned after those in the Shelby GT500 providing added lumbar and bolster support. The seats are constructed using the new soy-based foam developed by Ford and introduced on the 2008 Mustang. The soy foam, made up of 24 percent renewable content, is produced through a process that requires less energy and emits less CO2.
Bullitt Pushes Beyond
The Bullitt package enhances the Mustang GT Premium package with the following:
- · 3.73:1 Limited Slip Rear Axle
- · Ford Racing Power Pack (cold air induction system)
- · High Performance Calibration
- · Performance Friction Carbon Metallic® front brake pads
- · Ford Racing Strut Tower Brace
- · Sport –tuned suspension (shocks/springs/stabilizer bar)
- · Modified "H" Pipe
- · Dark Grey Brake Calipers
- · 18-inch Euro-Flange Bullitt Wheels with Charcoal Satin Finish
- · 3.5-inch Packed Exhaust Tips
- · Distinct Upper Grille
- · Bullitt emblem on faux fuel cap
- · Black interior with upgraded steering wheel
- · Charcoal Black sport leather seats
- · Unique IP finish (hand-machined aluminum swirl)
- · Satin Aluminum interior accents (ball shifter/sill plate/pedal covers)
Standard content also includes:
- · 4.6-liter 3-valve V-8 engine
- · 5-speed manual transmission
- · Auxiliary audio input jack
- · One-touch up-down power windows
- · Power mirrors and door locks
- · Keyless entry
- · Air conditioning
- · Tilt steering wheel
- · Speed control
- · Rear window defroster
- · Four-wheel power disc brakes
- · Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Traction Control
- · Seat-mounted side air bags
- · LATCH
- · Personal Safety System®
- · SecuriLock®
- · Tire Pressure Monitoring System
- · Shaker 500 Audio System with six-disc CD player, MP3 and eight speakers
Available options include:
- · HID headlamps
- · Shaker 1000 Audio System six-disc CD player, MP3 and 10 speakers
- · SIRIUS satellite radio
- · Ambient Lighting
- · Active Anti-Theft System
- · Wheel locking kits
The 2008 Mustang Bullitt will be built at Ford's Automotive Alliance Plant in Flat Rock, Mich. It goes on sale early next year. Press materials and visuals of the new 2008 Mustang Bullitt are available at www.media.ford.com.
MUSTANG BULLITT WINS, KEEPS FANS 40 YEARS RUNNING
Four decades after the original Bullitt made its appearance on the silver screen, the Ford Mustang Bullitt will return to the streets in 2008. On sale in January, the new Bullitt stands to gain notoriety among enthusiasts and club members who keep the spirit of the car alive and well.
The Shot Heard 'Round the Mustang World
The 2008 Bullitt Mustang marks the second tribute to the iconic 1968 Bullitt Mustang. Ford launched a specially modified Mustang GT in 2001 after receiving overwhelming positive response from consumers who saw the concept version at the 2000 Los Angeles International Auto Show.
The car is as popular today as it was at its introduction in 2001. More than 3,000 Bullitt Club members link up on the forum pages of the International Mustang Bullitt Owner's Club web site (www.imboc.com). The site's registry lists 2,428 Bullitt Mustangs and represents owners from all 50 and several other countries.
Bullitt owners are loyal, many having gone as far as having Bullitt tattooed somewhere on their bodies. Club members are like a family, answering the call when one of their own runs into trouble. When one member's car broke down on the way back from the 2006 Nationals, for instance, "Bullittheads" made calls and pulled strings and had the car repaired for free and returned to the young serviceman's family while he was serving his country in .
Mike Affourtit, IMBOC co-founder and webmaster, is a long-time Mustang enthusiast and was drawn to the 2001 Mustang Bullitt because of the connection the car had with the movie Bullitt.
"It was the whole Steve McQueen vibe," said Affourtit. "As soon as people saw the car, they fell in love with it. It offered an instant connection with the movie car and the movie chase scene. That Bullitt is the epitome of muscle cars and especially Mustangs."
The Mystery Behind the Original Bullitt Mustang
Two 1968 Mustang GTs with 390 cu.-in. engines were purchased for the making of the movie. Both vehicles were modified for on-screen duty with making modifications to the engines and suspensions and camera mounts welded in to facilitate in-car photography.
One of the two was equipped with a roll cage. This was the car seen jumping the hilly streets of San Francisco and being used as a battering ram to force the bad guys' Charger off the road and into a gas station moments before it explodes in a massive ball of flame.
At the end of filming, the bashed and battered Mustang was sent to the salvage yard to be crushed.
The history of the second movie car is chronicled in an article written by automotive journalist and Mustang expert Brad Bowling. It can be found on his website: www.bradbowling.com.
Ultimately, the remaining car was sold to an MGM employee and changed hands several times until 1972. The car's current owner bought it under the stipulation that his name remained anonymous.
The mysterious owner, now a successful businessman, has turned down numerous offers to sell the car or to loan it out for display at commemorative events. McQueen himself tried to buy the Mustang from him in 1977, but the owner turned him down. He did tell McQueen that if he ever did decide to sell, McQueen would get first dibs. McQueen died in 1980.
Bullitt will scream into dealers in January. With a starting price at just under $31,000 and limited production of 7,700 units for the and , McQueen wannabes will need to grab their tweed jackets and hop in line.
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