The Ex-Bruce Wills Charger is NOT “Bullitt-Spec”
The main reason for this article comes from a place of anger. After seeing major automotive sites publish a story referring to a multiple-celebrity owned 1969 Dodge Charger as “Bullitt-Spec”. The car itself is a stunning ’69 Black Charger with a 500ci engine and nice wheels, but besides the black paint there is no reason to tie this car with the one from Bullitt.
The Bullitt Charger was a 1968 model. Had a vinyl roof, hub caps, and a 440 big block. The car looked factory original because the film is from 1968 so this would have been a brand spanking new car then. I couldn’t understand why these websites insisted on using the term “Bullitt-Spec”.
I didn’t grow up reading comic books or watching Sci-fi movies. I grew up watching classic road movies filled with car chases. So when I kept seeing this term being used to describe the wrong car I felt a tremendous sense of injustice. Imagine seeing the Millennium Falcon being referred to as the Enterprise by websites that should know better.
By their logic I could take a 1976 Mustang II, paint it dark green, and call it a “Bullitt-Spec” Mustang.
If they did this to ride the last wave of Bullitt Mustang SEO then shame on them. If I sound like I’m overacting its only because I’m a film buff, history buff, and a big ol’ nerd when it comes to car chase scenes in movies.
The Bullitt Chargers
The two Mustangs used in the film have been found, but what about the Chargers? According to the internet the real ones haven’t been found, and most aren’t even sure how many were used in the film. There are claims that one of the Chargers that doubled as a camera-car was found and restored. The car was restored and shown at SEMA in 2011 and the story broke out on Bring A Trailer in 2013.
They claimed it was the real deal because they found drilled holes in the trunk floor that could have been made to install a camera rig. There is even a photo of the Charger carrying a camera-man in the trunk.
There were either two or three 1968 Dodge Chargers used in the film. One was originally yellow, and the other was blue. One was definitely an R/T, which is the one that doubled as a camera-car. The other was not an R/T and used for the more abusive stunt driving. Both had a 4-speed transmission, but you see an automatic in the film which is where the mysterious third car comes from.
Most of this information comes from dedicated people watching the film over and over to spot differences in the Charger in every scene, and websites like Ponysite to record the findings.
Spotting things like the differences in damage throughout the chase scene. Seeing yellow paint clips in one and blue in the other as the Charger punches its way through San Francisco at the hands of Bill Hickman. The difference in gear sticks during interior shots. Little details that make car enthusiasts turn into detectives.
The blue Charger was said to be used for the gas station crash scene. During production the Charger completely missed the gas station and you can see it in the film as it tumbles into a cloud of dust behind the station as McQueen drives past it on the highway. It missed the station because in order to do this safely they couldn’t place a driver in the car.
What they did was attach it to one of the Mustangs and one cue the car would release the Charger and allow it to drive freely into the target. That’s why it looks so wildly out of control in the scene.
Naturally that blue Charger was toast. The only one that reminds, if it’s real, is the Yellow R/T that was said to be painted back to yellow before being sold by the studio in 1970.
The third car is still a mystery and might not even exist.
Does Anyone Have Any Information?
I love movie car trivia. I like to think of myself as a car chase buff, so if anyone has any information on the Bullitt Chargers please let me know. If anything I’ve written on them is false, or incorrect, please let me know as well. I’m more than willing to update this article.
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