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Arts and Entertainment

Iconic, Long-Lost Mustang From 'Bullitt' Found In Mexican Scrapyard

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Think of the most iconic cars in cinema history, and your mind may fall on the DeLorean in Back To The Future, or the plucky Volkswagen in The Love Bug. For pure fire and brimstone? There's the 1968 Ford Mustang GT that Steve McQueen sped around the Bay Area in Bullitt.

The movie's centerpiece is a car chase that takes the Mustang around the hilly, narrows roads of San Francisco. The chase has been cited in every "Best Car Chase" listicle in existence, and may just be the paragon of pacing and suspense in film.

McQueen's Mustang, naturally, is the subject of much coveting, which makes it all the more astonishing that, somehow, the car had simply vanished after filming. Now, it looks like it has been discovered, all the way in a scrapyard in Baja California, reports the L.A. Times.

What went down was that Ralph Garcia Jr., a Paramount-based body shop owner, received word that an old Mustang had come into his possession, and that it was ready for restoration. The Mustang, discovered by Garcia's associate in a scrapyard in Baja, was then delivered to a shop that Garcia owned in Mexicali, Mexico.

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Before the restoration job had begun, however, an associate of Garcia's did a search of the car's vehicle identification number. They then realized that they didn't have just any Mustang on their hands—it was McQueen's. “That’s how he found out it was the ‘Bullitt’ car. He said, ‘You can’t touch it!'" Garcia told the Times. If there were any lingering doubts, they were tempered when an expert Ford evaluator—Kevin Marti—came in to do an inspection. “I’m 100 percent sure it’s authentic,” Marti told Fox News.

What makes the car even more notable is that it's the "jumper" car. Let's backtrack: two nearly identical Mustangs were used in the film. One was used for shoots that involved casual driving. Another was used for all the insane stunts (this vehicle was called the "jumper"). The one Garcia found, judging from paperwork and modifications made to the vehicle, is likely the "jumper," or the more exciting car of the pair.

Where's the other car? It's apparently in a private collection somewhere (rumored to be in Kentucky).

Garcia said that the car is not for sale (yet), even though he's gotten offers. As noted at Jalopnik, a Dodge Charger that was also featured in the chase scene was going for a cool million in 2013.