A Ford Mustang driven by Steve McQueen in the classic 1968 movie Bullitt has been rediscovered in a Mexican junk yard, almost 50 years after it originally disappeared.
According to Fox News, the Mustang was discovered by enthusiast Hugo Sanchez, whilst searching a junk yard in Baja California Sur for a car to restore.
He found the battered 1968 Ford Mustang, painted white and missing its original drive train, and took it to a friend’s custom car shop with the intention of rebuilding it as an ‘Eleanor’ – the equally famous Mustang from the Nic Cage movie ‘Gone In 60 Seconds’.
But he was amazed to discover that the car was itself a genuine silver screen icon.
A Marti report on the car’s background revealed that its VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) matched that of a Ford Mustang ordered new by Warner Bros. for the production of the film in 1968.
According to legend, two cars were used during filming of the famous chase sequence through the street of San Francisco. One now resides in a private collection, unseen by the public in more than 25 years, and the other was presumed lost or destroyed – until now.
Since Sanchez’s announcement, the car has been authenticated by classic Ford expert Kevin Marti.
"I’m 100 percent sure it’s authentic," Marti told Fox News. "It’s not the first time one of these old movie cars showed up in a junkyard, but it’s rare."
Sanchez now plans to fully restore the car in his new auto shop in Paramount, California, with additional help from Ford experts.
Cars owned and driven by McQueen, who was a renowned petrol head, have sold at auction for millions in recent years.
Back in August 2014, a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 acquired by McQueen during the filming of Bullitt sold at RM Auctions for $10.1 million; and in August 2015 McQueen’s 1976 Turbo Carrera, one of the last cars he ever owned, sold at Mecum Auctions for $1.95 million.
Whether the famous Mustang hits the auction block in the future remains to be seen, but experts believe that if it came up for sale it could easily fetch a seven-figure sum.