SEMA, SHELL, and Sean

A year ago we were all running a fever.  This fever didn’t have anything to do with health, it was all about stealth.

Rumors were flying about the existence of and possible discovery of one 1968 Mustang that had made a storied appearance in a movie that turned into a cult classic, Bullitt.

NAIAS would be its proving ground in a month but nothing had been confirmed. What would the crystal ball reveal?

Like a revitalized rock band returning to the stage, the debut was spectacular.  Clothed in mystery, Molly McQueen (granddaughter of Steve McQueen) emerged onto the NAIAS stage and the rumors became fact.  Thousands were present, more watching online, as the long anticipated star of the show strolled in under the familiar touch of its owner Sean Kiernan.  Click here to relive that moment…

Since Detroit, Sean has been touring the world sharing his treasure.  It truly is a treasure to him as it symbolized his father and times spent with him.  As we’ve chronicled on JulesOnWheelz, cars are time-machines taking us back to fond memories and experiences with the ones we love.

I must admit I’m somewhat of a Bullitt groupie.  I love the anticipation of seeing that car at events I attend, but every time I see that car I notice more and more of what Sean does…a legacy.  That legacy is not unique to Steve McQueen, although its roots began with him, but evolves as time passes.

Bullitt press
Guess I’m not alone in the “Bullitt groupie” category!

SEMA’s outdoor anchor tenant Shell, treated us all to a daily concert of celebrities and car talk via the Shell Stage. Hoonigans, drifters, auction house owners and the like made for a virtual cornucopia of banter.  Competitions, signing parties and lots of schmoozing peppered that stage as guest hosts like Alan Taylor played referee.

Craig Jackson

Craig Jackson close up
Craig Jackson, Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auctions

Bullitt with Sean Kiernan

I eyed the Bullitt under its cover on Sunday.  Sean was there to supervise as preparations were made to reveal it.

His familiar touch with the car was like watching a father with his children.

Loving, kind and careful.

While I had seen it before, this past summer at the Woodward Dream Cruise, its aura was as strong as ever awaiting the flow of those that laud precious gifts.

It seems no matter the audience or location, that car turns heads.  Maybe the raw look of it, like it doesn’t belong, catches the eye.  The hum and buzz of low-level voices like parents around the tree late on Christmas Eve…revealing the reverence and mystery of an object so anticipated.

Bullitt front

Bullitt Sean antenna
Sean replacing the Bullitt’s antenna after removing cover
Bullitt trunk
Sean removing the National Historic Vehicle plaque from trunk

Bullitt NHVR

Bullitt interior

Bullitt cueball shift knob

Whatever the case may be, Sean and his baby on the Shell Stage at SEMA was a highlight for me.

Seeing this car emerge just a year ago, it has made an impact.  Just what impact remains a mystery, but one thing is for sure…

This fever is long-lasting and lovingly endured by many in the industry who just may never return to “normal”…at least when it comes to Mustangs.

*The Bullitt will reside at LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, WA until April 25, 2019.

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