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More Bullitt FAQ - 2nd owner revelation, mods to Bullit & more facts

7153 Views 18 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  mungus
More Bullitt FAQ - 2nd owner revelation, mods to Bullitt & more facts

For those who have not read, heard, seen or knew about the latest print release from Brad Bowling in the April 2010 "Mustang Enthusiast" magazine - here's the complete link and very detailed information AND PICTURES of Bullitt taken in 1971:

Not to plagerize or directly copy Brad's story from Mustang Enthusiast, but the below is merely for hard text archival purposes for this site documenting BULLITT. Here are quick "bullet" FAQ's pulled from Brad's very detailed 4 page interview with Frank (in the event the original link disappears from the internet someday):

1) The 2nd owner finally contacted Brad last November after hearing about Brad's Bullitt stories & research. Bullitt's second owner was/is Frank Marranca, retired Police Detective located in NJ. He owned Bullitt from 1970 to 1974.

2) Frank's 1st wife's Father worked @ CBS and had access to first run movies. Frank saw Bullitt for the first time in a CBS studio and mentioned to his then father in law he would like to own the car (Bullitt) that Steve McQueen drove in the movie. The Father in law flew to CA alot and eventually found out Bullitt was for sale & told Frank + supplied the contact info for Robert Ross.

3) A deal was struck between Ross & Frank. Bullitt was put on the rails in CA on Nov. 10, 1970 to be shipped to Frank. Frank picked up Bullitt from Southern Pacific in Staten Island on Dec. 4, 1970.

4) Bullitt's 1970 sale price to Frank was $6,000.00

5) Bullitt was sent to Precision Auto Body on Hollywood Blvd. after the movie. Repairs were made to the vehicle on Nov. 27, 1968, with a total job cost of $920.16. The repairs included: replacing front grille, replacing grille surround, misc. molding was replaced, a knob was replaced, antenna was replaced (and several other things according to Frank, but the writing for the other things on the receipt he kept is not legible). Both front & rear bumpers were also straightened & rechromed.

6) Frank states the original shift knob was missing (most likely stolen) when he went to pick up the car @ Staten Island. He also states that the round door mirror was gone from the car and upon his receipt, the car had a square driver's door mirror.

7) When Frank acquired the car, it was in very good condition w/ no visible body damages or interior damages (a good used car). He does state however that when he picked it up from the train station, on the tachometer, there was a piece of tape that had the words "LITTLE PIECES" written on it in pen & the sticker was pointing somewhere between 7,000 & 8,000 RPM. He called Ross to inquire and Ross told him either McQueen or the car builder (Max Balchowsky) placed it there to keep McQueen out of the engines redline, as going over the redline would blow the engine to "little pieces".

8) Frank states the the car had no firewall insulation and it had "truck mufflers & straight pipes". He also says in the trunk on the left side is a hole & piece of tubing (no confirmed facts as to what the hole & tubing are for, as some have said cooling ducts for the brakes or cooling duct for the camera that was mounted in that location).

9) Frank's (2) mods to the Bullitt - He took it to Roger's Speed Shop in Garwood NJ (on South Ave) & Roger Munn installed a 4 speed Hurst shifter. Frank also installed a kill switch in the ashtray, which was located beneath or behind the original ashtray insert. Frank makes note that through stories online, sources have stated the "Nardi" steering wheel was removed, but he says the steering wheel in Bullitt was the same as when he received the car and the same as when he sold it.

10) Passenger side of Bullitt's windshield contained an original Warner Brothers decal that only read "WB". Sticker was 2" long by 3/4" wide. Frank says this was located all the way at the bottom of the glass and could only be seen from the outside of the car.

11) Frank took Bullitt up to 120mph on the Atlantic City Expressway after a Datsun "obviously wanted to race" and Frank left him in the dust and states the "tach was still rising"... Frank also says the Bullitt handled extremely well, was very tight and strong.

12) Frank regrettably sells Bullitt in April 1974 (for a new Chevy Vega wagon). Bullitt only had approx. 19,000 original miles on it when sold. The car was listed in Road & Track magazine and Bullitt was sold for $6,000.00 - the same amount Frank paid for it in 1970. Frank also let the original CA plates go with the car at the time, he gave the next buyer some paperwork - but he retained and still has in his posession:

Handwritten letter from Ross from Nov 18, 1970 outlining Bullitt's oil schedule, suggestion of adding a thermostat, suggestion of repairing the car's automatic choke for the NJ climate & warned Frank how easily the Firestone racing tires would puncture.

Duplicate copies of Bill of Lading from Southern Pacific, which also states original shift knob was missing.

Repair order from Precision Auto Body in Hollywood.

Letter from WB certifying Bullitt's VIN # 8R02S125559 and that the car was used in the movie.

Signed letter from Steve McQueen & autographed photo dated Dec. 8, 1977 from when McQueen contacted Frank to see if he still owned Bullitt and thanking Frank for trying to help find Bullitt again.

Insurance cards representing the time Frank owned the car

NJ Sales receipt tax

Vehicle registration cards from 1970-1974

Copy of original NJ Title

Robert Ross' CA registration cards

Extremely rare large format Bullitt Press Book

(10) 8x10 photos of Bullitt taken in 1971

Frank also has a documented list of modifications and/or special equipment. This was supplied by Ross and states that $5,000.00 was spent on the car before filming started. The mods done to Bullitt for the movie were:

4:10 posi rear
new heavy duty Borg-Warner clutch
5-ton motor mounts
5-ton spindles
custom Shelby steering wheel
On this list, Bullitt's exterior paint color is also referred to as "BRITISH RACING GREEN" (so, there you have it folks, the TRUE & FACTUAL COLOR OF BULLITT)

I would highly suggest that someone hard save the complete printed story from the above link with the pictures of Bullitt from when Frank owned it - just in case the article gets removed in the future. Also, please add this to the Bullitt "FAQS".

Note: Frank's NJ plates were the old style "yellow w/ black font" NJ plates and read: UJW-290. Based on *some* online reports from when the car was first spotted in the Kentucky barn years ago, it was said that Bullitt still has these plates mounted to the vehicle.

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