Four months after Mecum Auction announced that the King of Cool’s muscle car, a Highland Green 1968 Mustang GT, would hit the block as part of its annual Kissimmee sale, the car sold for a stunning $3.74 million on Friday. That figure easily makes the car the priciest Mustang of all time and the most expensive muscle car to ever sell at auction as well.
While no sale estimate was given prior to the auction, a special bid was expected to be needed to win the legendary big screen brute. The final price—$3.4 million, plus hammer fees—means the car hammered down for more than $1.5 million more than the previous most expensive Mustang, a 1967 Shelby GT500 “Super Snake,” which sold for $2.2 million last year, according to Hagerty. It also comfortably beat the $3.5 million paid for a 1971 Plymouth Hemi Baracuda convertible back in 2014.
One of two Mustangs used in the filming of Peter Yates-directed crime classic, the car was sold to a private collector shortly after filming completed. It’s unclear exactly what happened to the car following this but at one point it was assumed to be lost or destroyed before turning up at a Bullitt 50th anniversary event in 2018. Although it was modified with a special heavy-duty suspension system for filming, Mecum advertised the car as still featuring its factory V8, and said it retained several other “distinguishable and unique” touches from the movie.
In the action classic, McQueen played Lieutenant Frank Bullitt, a San Francisco police detective determined to track down the underworld kingpin responsible for the killing of a witness who’d been under his protection. Widely considered to be one of the actor’s defining films, it is most notable today for a 10-minute long chase scene in which McQueen, and a stunt driver, scream through the hilly streets of the Golden City. The chase scene is still considered one of the best in movie history and almost certainly its most influential.