Iconic Steve McQueen ‘Bullitt’ car may draw millions on NBCSN’s Mecum Auctions


One of the most famous cars in American pop culture and film history – not to mention one of the coolest looking rides ever – will be on the auction block this weekend.

The original 1968 Ford Mustang GT, driven by actor Steve McQueen in the cult classic “Bullitt,” is expected to fetch upwards of $2-$5 million during this weekend’s Mecum Auction in Kissimmee, Florida.

To date, the highest price ever paid for a Mustang was at last year’s Mecum Auction in Kissimmee: a 1967 Shelby GT 500, which went for $2.2 million. The “Bullitt” Mustang not only may surpass that amount, it has has the potential of garnering the highest price ever paid for any muscle car at auction: a 1971 Plymouth Barracuda Hemi, which went for a whopping $3.5 million at the Mecum auction in Seattle in 2014.

When the auctioneer’s gavel comes down signifying the car has been sold, it will be a bittersweet moment for the car’s owner, Sean Kiernan. The Mustang has been in his family for 46 years, originally purchased via a simple classified ad by his late father, Robert.

“It’s something I’ve never felt before, it’s tough,” Kiernan told NBC Sports when asked his emotions of letting the car go. “I don’t know my garage without Bullitt in it. The emotion side of it is more I think of just missing the car and the time I’ve had with the car. That’s the only sad part of it. It is exciting but so much that’s just not known. It’s weird.”

Here’s a bit of trivia that may make serious car collectors cringe: once Robert Kiernan acquired the Highland Green colored car, his wife Robbie drove it regularly around their Madison, New Jersey home for things like taking the kids to school, Sean’s sister Kelly to Girl Scouts, runs to the local grocery store and of course to St. Vincent’s church on Sundays!

If you’ve never seen Bullitt, it contains arguably one of the greatest chase scenes ever filmed. McQueen plays San Francisco police detective Lt. Frank Bullitt, who goes after the bad guys up and down the city by the bay’s infamous bustling and steep hills.

Of course, the hero emerges unscathed, while the bad guys crash into a gas pump and meet a fiery demise.

The 10-minute chase scene was one of the first of its kind and served as the blueprint for many other movie chase scenes to follow, including 1971’s iconic “The French Connection,” as well as others such as “The Blues Brothers,” “Smokey and the Bandit,” “Vanishing Point” and “Gone in 60 Seconds.”

The car Kiernan inherited from his father was one of two originally used in the movie, both acquired from Ford Motor Company with back-to-back serial numbers and identical 390-cubic-inch/325 horsepower V8 motors and 4-speed transmissions.

One of the cars was so severely damaged in the chase scenes that it was eventually scrapped. The other car, before it landed in the Kiernan family’s garage, was first sold to Warner Bros. employee Robert Ross, who used it as a commuter ride.

Ross subsequently sold it in 1970 to real-life New Jersey police detective Frank Marranca. He kept it for four years before placing an ad in the October 1974 issue of Road & Track magazine.

The ad read simply, “1968 ‘Bullett’ MUSTANG driven by McQueen in the movie…Can be documented. Best offer.” (Note that “Bullett” was misspelled)


Robert Kiernan offered $6,000 and the car stayed with him and eventually was moved to Kentucky with his son and his family. McQueen, who died at the age of 50 of a heart attack in 1980, tried numerous times to buy the car back, even offering a similar Mustang to sweeten the deal, but the elder Kiernan would not budge.

Ironically, the car’s clutch broke the same year McQueen passed away and sat in several garages for more than 30 years. Robert and Sean made attempts to restore parts of the car, but Robert grew ill with Parkinson’s Disease and the project remained on hold.

Sean restarted the restoration after his father’s death and the once again road worthy car was unveiled in 2018. It is registered as the 21st car in the National Historic Vehicle Register.

Besides the new clutch, a rebuilt engine and new carpets, the car is in its original condition with one exception: a new front bumper due to Kiernan’s grandfather having accidentally backed into it.

And to the lucky individual who ends up with this treasure off the auction block, in addition to the keys, they’ll also receive paperwork for the car that includes a personal letter from McQueen to Robert Kiernan requesting to buy the car back.

When asked his thoughts about what kind of home he hopes “Bullitt” gets, Kiernan replied, “I think I care more about the car and the future of the car and kind of continuing the story. I think the only part of the money aspect is making it the most valuable Mustang and telling my dad’s story and it going down in history.

“Honestly, if you could buy time is what I’m yearning for the most. I want the car to have a great life going forward and being pampered. As long as she gets what she deserves is all that matters to me.”

When asked if he’ll request visitation rights to see the car in its new home, Kiernan quipped with a laugh, “As long as I don’t have to pay child support.”


But drawing serious again, Kiernan admits it will be a bittersweet feeling when he ultimately turns over the keys to the new owner.

“I’ve been preparing for it the same way I prepared to unveil the car,” Kiernan said. “I’ve played it over a million times in my head, but there’s no way how I can gauge how I will be feeling. It’s very much bittersweet. You want it to be well handled, well taken care of.

“There’ll be emotion tied to it, handing them off. Everybody (he and his family) will have that taillights driving away feeling.”

The car and its iconic legacy will come alive again this weekend when it is one of over 3,500 cars up for bid on Mecum Auctions on NBCSN. The “Bullitt” car is slated to be auctioned during the 1 p.m. ET hour on Friday, so make sure you tune in to this historic event.

Click here for more specs and details about this iconic ride.

Here’s the overall viewing schedule for the 30 total hours of the Mecum Auction (all times Eastern;  telecasts are live unless where noted), all televised on NBCSN:

Tues., January 7 Mecum Auctions – Kissimmee NBCSN 12 p.m.
Wed., January 8 Mecum Auctions – Kissimmee NBCSN 12 p.m.
Thurs., January 9 Mecum Auctions – Kissimmee NBCSN 12 p.m.
Fri., January 10 Mecum Auctions – Kissimmee NBCSN 12 p.m.
Fri., January 10 Mecum Auctions – Kissimmee# NBCSN 5 p.m.
Sat., January 11 Mecum Auctions – Kissimmee# NBCSN 4:30 p.m.
Sun., January 12 Mecum Auctions – Kissimmee^ NBCSN 7 p.m.

#Same-day delay
^Next-day delay

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Jett Lawrence wins Hangtown Pro Motocross, remains perfect in 450s

Lawrence Hangtown Motocross
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Jett Lawrence remains perfect in the Pro Motocross series after recording another perfect round at Hangtown in Rancho Cordova, California. In his second start on a 450, Lawrence won his second National with his fourth consecutive moto win. It is getting increasingly difficult to find the right superlatives to describe the exploits on the reigning 250 West Supercross champion.

“The track was so brutal out there,” Lawrence told NBC Sports Jason Thomas. “The bike handles amazing even when it’s not too friendly. You had to be really patient; you couldn’t take too much. I didn’t eat enough before that second moto. I kind of lost energy halfway through, but luckily I could use technique and balance and just keep that flow going.”

Lawrence leaves Hangtown with an 18-point advantage over Ferrandis in the 450 Motocross standings, but perhaps more importantly, he climbed to 19th in the SuperMotocross standings and should he stay there, he has an automatic invitation to the Main events in the SMX Championship.

“On this track, you just have to manage,” Lawrence continued. “If you try to take too much and not respect the track, it will bite you very quickly. It was humbling on the first few laps. I got kicked on the cutout at the start of the third section, the tabletop going to the left. I had to get my focus because the boys were coming.”

Still in his first few races since returning from a concussion suffered at Houston in the Supercross series, Dylan Ferrandis finished second with results of third in Moto 1 and second in Moto 2. While Ferrandis was happy with the result, he remains hopeful that he will contend for victory shortly.

“The first moto was very hard for my physically, Ferrandis said. “I got arm pump and when you get arm pump your body gets tired. But I’m very happy because we made a big change for the second moto. We tried stuff every session today and in the last moto the bike was much better, but unfortunately I wasn’t sure what I could do with this bike because the track was very hard and difficult to pass.”

RESULTS: How they finished in the 450 Overall at Hangtown

With the rash of injuries at the end of the Supercross season, the podium was filled with heartwarming stories. Cooper Webb returned to action last week in Pala and failed to make the podium. He is steadily improving with a third-place finish in Hangtown. after finishing with a 4-2.

“It’s incredible what seven days can do,” Webb said. “Last week I felt like I was going to get lapped in the second moto. This week, I could see the leader. It was nice. I fought hard, learned how to suffer again there and that felt nice.

Moto 2 wasn’t pretty for Lawrence. On several occasions in the opening laps, he nearly high sided as he rode the front wheel through the ruts. The reward was worth the risk. By the halfway point, Lawrence had 4.5-second lead over Webb, who was embroiled in a tight three-rider battle for second with his teammate Aaron Plessinger pressuring him and Ferrandis ready to take advantage if those made contact.

It took 20 minutes for Plessinger to get around Webb and once he did, he trailed Lawrence by four seconds. But then, with three minutes remaining, Plessinger crashed and had difficulty restarting the bike, handing second back to Webb who has seven seconds behind Lawrence. Plessinger fell to fourth with results of third and sixth.

Adam Cianciarulo rounded out the top five with a 5-4.

Last week Hunter Lawrence won the overall with a 3-1. He repeated that feat in Hangtown in an exact replica of his Fox Raceway results last week. In Moto 1, Lawrence got off to a slow start and lost 10 seconds in the opening laps. Forced to overcome a sixth-place position in the race at the end of Lap 1, he once again caught the riders ahead of him when the field hit heavy traffic. For the second week, scored another 3-1 for the Hangtown National win.

“The start was crucial’ I knew I had to go,” Lawrence told NBC Sports’ Jason Thomas. “They laid a lot of water down, so I didn’t want to be behind any longer than [I was]. First hot one of the year, was a bit of a wakeup call, so I’m happy to get out of here safe and healthy.”

Lawrence’s third-place finish in Moto 1 featured a fierce battle for final spot on the podium when he caught Spain’s Guillem Farres and France’s Tom Vialle. With Lawrence hailing from Australia, the international nature of the sport was highlighted.

Lawrence left Hangtown with a 10-point advantage over Haiden Deegan in the Pro Motocross championship battle.

Click here for 250 overall results

Justin Cooper finished second in both motos to finish second overall. Hangtown represented a huge improvement from Fox Raceway where he finished fifth overall with a 5-4 finish in the two motos. Cooper pressured Haiden Deegan in the second half of Moto 1 and he earned the holeshot in the second moto and stayed within three seconds of Lawrence in that race.

“He was following me a little bit, checking out my lines, seeing where he was better,” Cooper said. “It’s disappointing to give up the lead like that but it was way better than last weekend. I will definitely take two seconds. I want to be on the top of the step. I feel like I get close to the top step but I never get it done. That’s building up the frustration – the fire. I really want to get one of these wins, so it’s time to start digging.”

Haiden Deegan earned the first holeshot of his career in Moto 1 and rode away from the field, building a four-second lead in the opening laps. Cooper trimmed the lead at the halfway point and for a while it leveled off at two seconds. Then Cooper made another charge with three to go and closed to within a second. Deegan was biding his time, however.

“I was saving a little. I knew at the end Justin was going to try and put a charge on. I let him get up close and then sent it super hard at the end to break him a little at the end.”

Deegan’s first moto win comes in only his fourth National and he remains perfect in regard to podiums this year.

“This was a dream since I was a little kid, to win,” Deegan said. “And in my fourth race, it’s gnarly. I was just sending it. I was getting a little tired at the end becasue I left my mouth open the whole time. It’s unreal; I’m so hyped. I wanted to win bad and I proved it to you guys.”

Chaos erupted in turn 1 in Moto 2 Jeremy Martin went and another rider ran over his arm. Michael Mosiman crashed further down the track on that same lap. Both riders were helped off course by the Alpinestars Medical team.

2023 Motocross Race Recaps

Fox Raceway: Jett Lawrence wins in first 450 start

2023 Supercross Race Recaps

Salt Lake City: Chase Sexton ends the season with win
Denver: Chase Sexton wins, takes points’ lead with Eli Tomac injury
Nashville: Chase Sexton keeps hope alive; Cooper Webb out
New Jersey: Justin Barcia wins muddy race; first in two years
Atlanta: Chase Sexton is back in the championship picture
Glendale: Eli Tomac wins 51st, breaks tie with James Stewart
Seattle: Eli Tomac wins and ties Webb for first
Detroit: Chase Sexton inherits win after Aaron Plessinger falls
Indianapolis: Ken Roczen gets first win in more than a year
Daytona: Eli Tomac extends Daytona record with seventh win
Arlington: Cooper Webb wins for second time, closes to two of Tomac
Oakland: Eli Tomac ties Ricky Carmichael with 48 wins
Tampa: Cooper Webb gets first 2023 win
Houston: Eli Tomac bounces back from A2 crash to win third race of 2023
Anaheim 2: Triple Crown produces new winners Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen
San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Eli Tomac wins opener for the first time

More SuperMotocross coverage

Chase Sexton is out for Hangtown
Enzo Lopes re-signs with Club MX for 2024
Record Supercross attendance reported in 2023
SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Pala
Results and points after Pala
Jett Lawrence wins Pala in his first MX start
450 Champion Chase Sexton takes back what he gave away
250 West Supercross champion Jett Lawrence ends dream career
250 East Supercross champion Hunter Lawrence overcomes doubt and injury