The bit of genius in the car, though, is the wheel-and-tire package: five-spoke cast-aluminum "Euroflange" wheels -- whatever that means -- in a gray satin finish, with machined rims of bright alloy. These wheels are a convincing imitation of period-correct Cragar mag wheels. Wrapped around these rims are relatively tall 50-series performance tires. The designers needed tires with taller sidewalls to resemble the bias-ply tires of the '60s Bullitt; the additional benefit is a smoother, more compliant ride. Also, with a little extra give in the tires, the suspension could be firmed up. The Bullitt has a tighter spring-and-shock package, an upgrade Mustangs generally need and enthusiast owners usually order out of the Ford Racing catalog.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday, March 02, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 52 words Type of Material: Correction
Bullitt review: In a Highway 1 review of the new Ford Mustang Bullitt on Wednesday, the wheels of the car were mistakenly described as being reproductions of Cragar wheels seen on Steve McQueen's Mustang in the 1968 movie "Bullitt." Those on the car in the movie were American Racing Torque Thrust-D wheels.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday, March 05, 2008 Home Edition Highway 1 Part G Page 2 Features Desk 1 inches; 51 words Type of Material: Correction
Bullitt review: In last week's Highway 1 review of the new Ford Mustang Bullitt, the wheels of the car were mistakenly described as being reproductions of Cragar wheels seen on Steve McQueen's Mustang in the 1968 movie "Bullitt." Those on the car in the movie were American Racing Torque Thrust-D wheels.
Under the hood, a cold-air intake and slightly raised redline (to 6,500 rpm) add up to an extra 15 horsepower over the stock GT (and 325 pound-feet of torque at 4,250 rpm). Making the Bullitt a little quicker off the line, engineers subbed out the stock 3.31:1 rear axle with a 3.73:1 ratio.
And it's quick, all right, not overpoweringly so, but certainly enough to get your attention. But more important, it's all so well matched and balanced. The clutch and shift work flawlessly together, the engine is smooth and tractable. And it's got an amazing sound. Ford's powertrain boffins got a digitally remastered version of the film to re-create the bleak, resonant cackle of the original Bullitt. Dare I say awesome?
Throw in a strut tower brace here, some machine-turned alloy appliques in the interior over there, and quicker than you can don a cardigan, you've got a Bullitt, which actually does look like the car from the movie. I don't know if McQueen would be proud, exactly, but I know he'd be happy to cash the check.
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)
2008 Mustang Bullitt
Base price: $31,075
Price, as tested: $33,500 (est)
Powertrain: 4.6-liter, three-valve, OHV V8; five-speed manual transmission; rear-wheel drive
Horsepower: 315 at 6,000 rpm
Torque: 325 pound-feet at 4,250 rpm
Curb weight: 3,500 pounds (est.)
0-60 mph: 5 seconds
Wheelbase: 107.1 inches
Overall length: 187.6 inches
EPA fuel economy: 15 miles per gallon city, 24 mpg highway
Final thoughts: Ballistic Steve