Automotive Intelligence - the web for automotive professionals and car enthusiasts
November 07, 2007
The launch of the limited edition 2008 Mustang Bullitt coincides with the 40th anniversary of the release of the Warner pos. Pictures film that gave the original car its name. In the movie, legendary actor Steve McQueen drove a Dark Highland Green 1968 Mustang GT that gained cult status among Mustang enthusiasts, thanks to a seven-minute scene that film and car buffs believe defined the modern movie car chase.
Bullitt Chassis Delivers a Balance of Performance and Comfort
Ford engineers modified the 2008 Mustang Bullitt’s chassis and suspension to fine-tune handling and ensure the extra horsepower and torque from the 4.6-liter V-8 is put to good use. The live rear axle uses a unique 3.73:1 gear that helps launch the Bullitt with vigor.
Stock Mustang GT shocks and struts were swapped out for new units that allowed engineers to dial in a more aggressive driving dynamic while still maintaining the outstanding ride and balance of the base Mustang GT. A tower-to-tower pace designed specifically for the Bullitt lends additional torsional and lateral stiffness to the chassis for improved cornering and holds a unique serial number for each Bullitt.
“The 2008 Mustang Bullitt delivers balanced performance,” said Paul Randle, chief engineer. “Comfort is not compromised for performance. Performance is on demand. You can easily take Bullitt from the track to the street and back onto the track with confidence.”
The pakes also have been improved versus the base Mustang GT’s. More aggressive front pads were developed specifically for Bullitt and improve fade resistance and pedal feel.
The 2008 Mustang Bullitt wears unique cast-aluminum Euroflange wheels, offering a modern twist on the original movie car. The Dark Argent Gray spokes feature a satin finish, while a pight-machined lip completes the look. Calipers are colored to match the wheel. The wheels are wrapped in the same P235/50ZR 18 BF Goodrich g-Force T/A KDWS tires used on Mustangs at the Ford Racing High Performance Driving School at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.
Powered by Ford Racing
Bullitt packs firepower under the hood. The 4.6-liter, 3-valve V-8 delivers 315 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 325 pound-feet of torque at 4,250 rpm.
Engine calipation is designed to increase throttle response for a snappier acceleration feel. The redline has been boosted by 250 rpm to 6,500, with top-end speed bumped to 151 miles-per-hour. Gears are selected via a Tremac 5-speed manual transmission, and the shifter is topped with a polished aluminum shift ball designed specifically for the 2008 Bullitt.
The car features the first use of an open-element air filter in a factory-produced, fuel-injected Mustang. Inspired by Ford Racing, the intake is tucked neatly behind the driver side headlamp, mounted in an air box that was tooled up specifically for the Mustang. The hood liner was extensively modified to provide a full seal to the air box, ensuring that the engine is fed a steady diet of cooler air.
“Colder air reduces intake losses,” said Randle. “The new cold-air intake has shown a reduction in rise over ambient temperature from 50 degrees down to 17 degrees Fahrenheit. That equates to more horsepower and more torque in all driving conditions.”
Engine performance is further enhanced through the use of an innovative adaptive spark ignition system, new for the 2008 Mustang.
The system can sense, within a few seconds, what type of fuel is being injected into the motor and adjusts the spark to provide maximum torque at any given speed – and as much as
10 pounds-feet more between 1,000 and 4,000 rpm.
Bullitt can run on either premium or regular fuel. Ford recommends premium fuel for optimum performance, but the adaptive spark ignition will adjust the spark to burn regular fuel without damaging the engine.
“With all the improvements we’ve made to the engine and the taller 3.73-to-1 rear gear, the Bullitt will plant you firmly in the driver’s seat when you stand on the throttle. We’ve seen zero to 60 times drop by up to three tenths of a second,” said Randle. “There’s also plenty of power on tap at any speed. The car definitely feels lighter on its feet, and it is.”
The custom-designed exhaust system continues Mustang’s traditional use of a true dual-exhaust system with a new H-pipe specifically developed for Bullitt. The all-new mufflers, featuring larger 3.5-inch chrome tips (versus the 3-inch tips on the standard Mustang GT) are tuned to minimize backpressure, maximize horsepower and provide the Bullitt with its powerful exhaust note.
“We wanted to get the exhaust note as close to the original movie car as possible, so we based it on a digitally mastered DVD,” said Randle. “We wanted something that would rumble your heart, literally buzz you – and the Bullitt team delivered.”
Capturing the Bullitt’s Undercover Look
The original 1968 Mustang’s stealth-like appearance wasn’t necessarily intentional. In typical Hollywood fashion, the movie crew removed all exterior badges and logos from the car – including the iconic pony badge on the grille.
The 2008 Mustang Bullitt calls back the original movie car in painstaking detail – right down to the dark green paint and lack of exterior badges, scoops and spoilers.
The only visible identification is the word “Bullitt” dropped into a gun-sight graphic in the center of the faux gas cap on the decklid.
“The 2008 Mustang Bullitt, like the movie car, is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Doug Gaffka, chief designer. “Mustang is – and always has been – such an icon that it’s recognizable without the badges. But Bullitt’s clean exterior doesn’t give away the Ford Racing-inspired power and performance lurking under its skin.”
The new Bullitt wears a close match to the movie car’s 1968 Highland Green paint, officially called Dark Highland Green. This distinctive color has only graced one other Mustang, the 2001 Mustang Bullitt. Gaffka assures Bullitt enthusiasts that the color will remain an exclusive Mustang Bullitt color. Non-purists can opt for only one other color – black.
The Mustang Bullitt uses the standard Mustang GT’s front fascia. A new black-mesh grille is devoid of the standard chrome pony and is accented by a satin aluminum strip that represents the chrome grille surround on the 1968 car. The rear fascia also is shared with the standard Mustang GT and houses Bullitt’s unique dual exhaust tips. Dark Argent Gray painted pake calipers closely match the wheel spokes, while staying true to the original.
(Nov. 6, 2007)