Friends of Steve McQueen Car & Motorcycle Show 2018
50 years of Bullitt and a spectacular variety of cars (not just Highland Green Mustangs!) to raise money for Boys Republic, 'the school that saved McQueen's life'
Former vice president of Ford Global Design, J Mays, is often quoted as saying 'Perhaps besides designer Gale Halderman and Lee Iacocca, nobody else in history has done more for the legend of the Ford Mustang than Carroll Shelby and Steve McQueen.'
McQueen the actor, producer, cult idol, sex symbol, ultimate car and bike guy/racer, needs little introduction here or anywhere else. You can bet that if McQueen had a starring role in any film, there were cars or motorcycles somewhere in the plot, of course with McQueen at the wheel or the handlebars.
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And if you know anything at all about his epic 1968 cop drama Bullitt – and its best-ever-put-to-film chase scene – you know that the rumbling, grumbling, flying car his lead character, Detective Frank Bullitt, drove in that San Francisco based epic wasn’t just a Mustang; it was a mildly customized, and mechanically fortified 1968 Mustang GT390 4-speed fastback, and it wasn’t just painted green, it was Highland Green Metallic.
Young Steven T McQueen had a tough childhood; raised by a single mom, he was constantly around the wrong crowd, and causing or getting into trouble. His mother had heard about the Boys Republic school in Chino, California – a school, home, educational and work program for wayward teens, and wisely asked them to take Steve in and 'see if they can make anything out of him'.
McQueen buckled down, worked hard, generally kept his nose clean, and graduated from Boys Republic prior to joining the US Military. The school’s motto is 'Nothing Without Labor' and McQueen is often quoted as crediting Boys Republic with saving his life. Later as a successful actor and producer, he supported the school financially, and often visited just to hang out and talk with the kids.
A decade ago, a group of primarily Porsche 356 owners wanted to hold a car show on the sprawling, countrified Boys Republic campus, dedicated to its most famous alum, which became The Friends of Steve McQueen Car & Motorcycle Show and quickly grew into a major fundraiser for the school.
The BR students are a big part of putting on this endeavor, and are most appreciative of the benefits the campus reaps from the event. Each year’s show (which now includes a fund raiser banquet dinner, a silent auction, McQueen movie screenings, a weekend car rally and a pre show road tour) is dedicated to and themed around a different McQueen film.
Past films so honored include Bullitt, (for the first time in 2012), Le Mans, The Getaway, The Thomas Crown Affair, The Sand Pebbles, The Great Escape, and for 2018, the show’s 10th rendition, in recognition of the 50th Anniversary of its filming and release in 1968, once again Bullitt.
This all coincided nicely with the announcement of the Third Bullitt Edition Ford Mustang for 2019, and the news that both of the original ’68 Mustangs used in the filming back in the day have recently come to light, after being MIA for decades from the public eye.
The first event boasted around 175 cars and maybe a few thousand people – a worthy but hardly groundbreaking start. Yet everyone agreed that it was the kernel of something great, so the school and the organizers decided to try it again.
The show grew, made more money for the school, and has continued to grow – registrations for the 2018 event included more than 600 cars, trucks, motorcycles, vintage aircraft, vintage travel trailers, antique industrial pump engines, a film car display (below) and all manner of wheeled and motorized vehicles gathering to support the school, and honor Steve McQueen.
Surely the most anticipated entry on the show field was the pair of early build 2019 Ford Bullitt Edition Mustangs sent to the show by Ford from Dearborn. One of them made the trip on the road, along with a group of the most ardent and committed Bullitt Mustang fans called the Hoonigans, many of which made the cross-country trip from all parts east to particpate in the Friends of Steve McQueen Car Show, and further celebrate another Bullitt Edition Mustang.
The McQueen family is still very involved in supporting the school, thus deeply engaged in the development of this show; Steve’s only son Chad, himself a notable racer in the past, serves as co-chairman; his sons Chase and Steven R McQueen, and his daughter Madison, plus the first and foremost Mrs Steve McQueen, wife Neile Adams McQueen, attended this year’s show and all of the events surrounding it, including an exclusive screening of the original classic, Bullitt, on the Thursday evening just prior to the show.
The picture above shows, from left, Chase McQueen, Madison McQueen and Chad McQueen with Boys Republic's Chris Burns, Galpin's Steve McCord, and Joe Day from Steeda Autosport.
As you can tell from the photos, this show truly has something for everyone. And as expected, much of the center of the show field was a sea of Highland Green Metallic, due to all of the 2001, 2008/9, 2019 Ford Bullitt Edition Mustangs, and 1968 Bullitt Mustang movie clones and tribute cars in attendance.
Another special treat was the public announcement of a limited run of Steve McQueen Edition 2019 Ford Bullitt Mustangs, to be designed, built and distributed by Ford mega dealer Galpin Motors and Steeda Autosports; all of course will be Highland Green Metallic and offer special, and highly subtle, design cues including a custom wheel design riffing on the original ‘68’s American Racing Torq-Thrust D wheels, plus rear side window slats resembling those in the sail panels of the ’68.
There will be naturally aspirated versions, running the stock 480bhp 5.0-Liter V-8, plus a supercharged versions cranking out more than 800 rampant ponies. Each car will be numbered and serialized of course, and the project is licensed by the McQueen family, Galpin, and by Ford.
In an outstanding demonstration of generosity in support of the Boys Republic, Ford Motor Company, the McQueen family, and Barrett-Jackson teamed up to auction 2019 Ford Bullitt Edition Mustang at B-J’s Scottsdale sale in January, just days after the new car was revealed to the public by Ford at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The McQueen family and many Ford executives were on hand to introduce the car as it rolled on to the auction block selling at no reserve, with all of the profits earmarked for the school, no money being taken by the McQueens nor Ford, and with Barrett-Jackson also taking no commissions on the sale.
The results brought tears and cheers, the highly sought after VIN1 Bullitt hammering sold at $300,000 – all of which went directly to Boys Republic. Now that’s fundraising with style, and further testimony to the enduring legacy and appeal of Steve McQueen, one of his most famous films, and a Highland Green Metallic Ford Mustang.
Photography by Matt Stone, Kirk Gerbracht, and courtesy Barrett-Jackson.