Earlies this summer I went to the Goodwood Festival of Speed (UK) for the first time in my life, and man was that a great event. Going back next year, I know that much.
It’s difficult to describe what the event really is, because it’s a lot of things at the same time. But that’s also not very important, the only thing you need to know it’s 4 days of classic & sports car galore like you have never seen before. And give it to Lord March, the Festival of Speed is also one of the best organized events of that size I have ever been to.
There weren’t many Mustangs at the event, apart from the “Bullitt” and P-51 you see above, but if you’re into cars you will like what I saw there. Here’s the link to my Flickr set, giving you a bit of an idea of the overall event.
Apparently there’s a documentary titled "Marketing the Mustang: An American Icon." on the Mad Men Season 4 DVDbox-set extras. It tells how Ford executive Lee Iacocca persuaded a very reluctant Henry Ford to build the Mustang by citing research his agency guys gave him about the target demo (newly affluent boomers), and lays out the groundbreaking marketing of what would become an instant automotive classic.
Among the revelations in the doc: A lot of the Ford Mustang’s initial marketing was directed at women — the focus of the clip below. There are also a whole bunch of print ads shown in the this 2 min clip but if you’re a regular reader of this blog you have seen most of them already ;)
Thanks for the heads up Steven.
… and didn’t get it. It appears to be so that in 1977 Steve McQueen wrote a letter to who appears to be the owner of the famous Bullitt Mustang used in the movie. Well one of them, as there were 2 different cars prepped for the movie, we’re talking about the one that wasn’t used for the stunts… and thus survived.
Who the owner was (and probably still is) nobody seems to know, but it is clear that they kept the Mustang, despite Steve’s request.
“This is the spirit of the wild Mustang”. A conversation at today’s classic car show in Ghent learned that not everybody knows that the Mustang like we know is actually quite different from the original Mustang concept car. Here’s a great video of the real ‘first’ Mustang.
“One of the treats in the video is seeing Phil Clark at work on the original Mustang logo. We also see Clark hard at work shaping the clay on the buck and his sketches adorn the walls of the studio. It’s a tribute to an extremely gifted designer who died when he was only 32 but left behind a legacy of automotive design and a daughter, Holly, who’s dedicated to making sure the world remembers her father’s contribution to the Mustang. This Ford PR film captures the inside story of the team’s efforts that put the first Mustang on the road.”
The Wall Street Journal drives with Loren Janes, now 79 year old former stunt double of many movies including the incredible ‘Bullitt’. Time to debunk some myths:
As Mr. Janes and I drove around the city, three myths were shattered. First, despite the hype, McQueen did not do his own driving in the movie’s most dangerous scenes. "Steve was a great driver, but he was only behind the wheel for about 10% of what you see on screen," said Mr. Janes, who was McQueen’s stunt double from 1959 to 1980. "He drove in scenes that required closeups—but not in the ones that could kill him. Steve always asked me first whether a stunt was too dangerous for him to take on."
A colleague of mine shared this little Youtube clip with me the other day, Jim Morrison from The Doors driving his 1967 Shelby GT500.
Jim Morrison driving his 1967 Shelby G.T. 500. The clip is from the film “When You’re Strange” (directed by Tom DiCillo) which is in turn borrowed from the movie “HWY: An American Pastoral” which Jim made in 1969 with some friends. This footage is considerably clearer than my previous post of Jim driving the car. Go full screen with this clip, the resolution is killer. You can even see dust on the car it’s so crisp and clear.
I did a lot of research on the Shelby and all indications are it was trashed after Jim hit a telephone pole when he was drunk. He had clipped it before, but on that occasion he bent the frame, ending his time with The Blue Lady (his name for the car). Jim met the same fate as the Shelby two years later, though some think he’s still alive. It’s kind of fitting as some people are convinced this car still exists. Maybe he’s still driving it.
Shelby fans, note the car has no front grille emblem, no trunk emblem, small lettered Speedway 350 tires, uneven, hammered rear exhaust outlets, comfortweave seats, fender mounted antenna, and half the molding on the driver’s side taillight is missing. LOL. Best of all, it’s a 4-speed nightmist blue car with parchment interior and 10 spoke wheels. He knew how to pick ‘em, huh? That’s the way I would have ordered it. If only you could go back in time!
An identical car sold at Barrett-Jackson auctions for $330,000 in January, 2008.
"Let’s revert to the slab stern and high luggage compartment, the nearly vertical rear window, the leather strap and ‘chunk of road machinery’ feeling."
That’s from a multipage document describing the need for an American four-passenger sports car, a text leading to one of the most successful product launches Detroit ever enjoyed, Ford’s April 1964 Mustang. Written in 1956, it was presented to — and furiously rejected by — Harley J. Earl, General Motors’ styling chief. Its author, Barney Clark, wrote Corvette advertising copy at the time. A few years later, working for J. Walter Thompson on the Ford account, he talked with product planner Don Frey about it. Lee Iacocca may be the "father of the Mustang," but he got the notion via Frey and Clark, and thus indirectly from GM. Even the final 108-inch wheelbase was first determined by GM’s Anatole Lapine, who subsequently became Porsche’s design leader. Nothing’s simple in the car-design business.
Jon Patrick of The Selvedge Yard (fascinating blog btw) posted an article from The Muscle Car Review (March 1987) that was titled ‘The Greatest Chase of All’ and that was fully dedicated to a behind the scenes look of how they filmed Bullitt, the grandaddy of car pursuit movies. Required reading for all of us.
We set out to learn what the recipe is for such a successful chase sequence. What we found out was that there is none; it was pretty much a hit and miss thing and, as Ron Riner put it, “other people have tried to put the same combination together to get the same results and haven’t really done it. Before we’d shoot a scene, everyone, the location people, the police department, the stuntmen, the director and Steve, would get into discussions. We realized we didn’t know what to do because no one had ever done this before.” What hadn’t been done before was a chase scene, done “at speed”(up to 110 miles per hour) through the city streets and not on a movie studio back lot. Bud Elkins said, “I think it was the first time they did a complete car chase at normal camera speed. What you saw is what really happened. It was real!”
Don’t wait any longer, head over to The Selvedge Yard to read the whole piece.
Little delay in postings on the Bullitt Special but we’re still on. This time with maybe one of the most awesome elements I found related to the movie’s famous car chase: the original script/screenplay. Having a great idea is one thing, producing it is another. It is the crew’s commitment to reality that made these 7 pieces of paper into what is now most arguably the most famous car chase in movie history. How can you not enjoy this? ;)
Saying it again. Awesome!
Yes I’ve posted this one here before, probably even more than once. But you cannot expect me to make a special around the movie without showing you the chase again don’t you think? And yes I know you’ve seen it before, just watch it once more – it still is the best car chase of all times remember ;)
Bullitt is a 1968 thriller film starring Steve McQueen. It was distributed by Warner Bros. The director was Peter Yates. The story was adapted for the screen by Alan Trustman and Harry Kleiner, based on the novel titled Mute Witness (1963) by Robert L. Fish (aka Robert L. Pike). Lalo Schifrin wrote the original music score, a memorable mix of jazz, brass and percussion. The movie won the Academy Award for Best Film Editing (Frank P. Keller) and was nominated for Best Sound. Writers Trustman and Kleiner won a 1969 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Motion Picture Screenplay. Bullitt is most-remembered for its central car chase scene through the streets of downtown San Francisco, one of the earliest and most influential car chase sequences in movie history. The scene had Bullitt in a dark “Highland Green” 1968 Ford Mustang G.T.390 Fastback, chasing two hit-men in a “Tuxedo Black” 1968 Dodge Charger R/T 440 Magnum. (In honor of the Mustang in the film, the Ford Motor Company produced a limited edition 2001 Ford Mustang GT “Bullitt Mustang,” which took styling cues from the ’68 movie car and even mimicked its exhaust note).