By Sue Moore
A resurrected Tribute Bullitt Mustang completely rebuilt by Dale Emaar will be on display for the 39th running of the Old Car Festival in Vicksburg on Saturday, June 8 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The original version of this car was featured in the 1968 film “Bullitt” when Emaar was 18 years old. He fell in love with the car and always wanted one. He loves to tinker with cars – any car, he said. The original car is said to be priceless.
The Ford Mustang was piloted by legendary actor and motorsports enthusiast Steve McQueen during the film. It left a lasting impact on movies and pop culture since its release. The chase scene lasted nine minutes, 42 seconds, and was revolutionary for its time, putting the audience inside the vehicle while driving on actual roads and building suspense without dialogue. Two Mustang GT 390s were modified for the making of the film, including a dark Highland Green paint scheme with no exterior badges, scoops or spoilers. It was adorned with a black-mesh grille minus Ford’s iconic pony badging.
The one in Vicksburg was owned by Sandy Simmons of Simmons Ford fame. It was her first automobile growing up. She drove it for a while and after time passed it was taken apart to restore. It just rested in parts on the floor of the dealership, getting moved from place to place but never put back together. “I wanted this car so bad,” Emaar said after he heard from Mike Braat that it was for sale when Gene Simmons was selling the business to DeNooyer.
“It was a project car in so many pieces. I’ve bought and sold lots of cars but this one was special. I made the effort to redo it with new interior, new motor, wheels, tires, paint, chrome, pretty much from bumper to bumper,” he said.
The car will be on display at Main and Prairie in Vicksburg as Emaar feels the
importance of bringing it to the Old Car Festival for its first outing. He and his wife Lois, a former Vicksburg teacher, always come to this car show in particular. “It’s very high on my list of important things to do,” Emaar explained.