The Bullitt Page

Axel Cotton from prepared an article package for several international medias
during Sean Kiernans visit with #559 to San Francisco
Here is a repub with permission from Axel Cotton himself

contributed by Anthony Bologna 2020


December 2020/Anthony Bologna

The following is a parcel article with permission from Axel’s ,his experience in San Francisco with Sean and the Bullitt Mustang driven through the same streets in San Francisco’ NorthBeach neighborhood with the help of Anthony Bologna as location scout.

Photo: Morgan Segal

        On a cloudy Sunday morning, photographer Morgan Segal and I wait for Bullitt on the corner of Chestnut and Taylor Street in San Francisco’s North Beach district. This is where the chase scene began. To our left, stuntman Bill Hickman fastens the seat belt in his jet- black Dodge Charger. Moviegoers saw the Charger dash up Chestnut Street, with Bullitt unable to follow because of traffic blocking his way on Taylor. In the background on Columbus Avenue was a huge sign for Bimbo Club 365, one of the few movie remnants still visible to this day.

On cue, a black Ford F-350 Super Duty pick-up (what else?) shows up towing a long nondescript trailer – turns out Sean handles all transport himself. Because it’s a Sunday, Sean can park his trailer directly on Chestnut. Even though he must surely feel the weight of this moment on his shoulders, he doesn’t let on what it means to him. “Of course, she’s insured. But the registration, well, we’re waiting for the papers at this very moment, so let’s not make too much noise, shall we?” Wait a minute, ‘she’? “Sure, Bullitt’s a ‘she’, always has been,” he laughs.

Sean opens the trailer – and I can see Bullitt for the first time in real life. Here, in San Francisco. To call this a high point in my automotive career would be an understatement. Sean quickly starts up that glorious V8. Oh my God, it sounds exactly like in the movie! But it’s not until all six rear lights come on that it really hits home what’s actually happening. This is not just any car or just any location, this here is the Holy Grail for car aficionados! Sean still comes over as if this is something he does every day.

Photo: Morgen Segal

He drives over to an empty parking space at the side of the road. Time for us to take in the car we have admired so often on TV. Anybody not knowing what this is about might mistake the GT for a wreck. The paint is dull, the fenders and the rear bumper are rusty. But for us, a childhood dream is coming true. On the backseat I notice a cover. “This has to be with the car at all times,” Sean insists, “If there is even one drop of rain in the air, you have to throw it over the car, whether I’m in it or not.” Morgan and I realise what we’re dealing with here. This isn’t a restored car; this is a job for a conservationist. 

Photo: Morgan Segal

   Our last location is 1153 Taylor, Lt. Frank Bullitt’s house. By now it’s noon and dozens of tourists have shown up, witnessing the car. Sean is noticeably nervous; there are too many cars and people around who could cause damage. The owner calls it a day. Bullitt’s homecoming is over.

As Sean closes the trailer’s tailgate, he says something that puts everything in perspective.

At the car’s reveal at the Detroit Motor Show in January, Molly McQueen said to him: “Steve would like what you’re doing with the car. It’s in good hands.”

Photo: Morgan Segal

The publications are well known throughout Europe...
Motor Classic - Denmark
Classic Car -    Africa
Survivor Car-  Australia

Varedo Media is an automotive consultancy with a wide-ranging portfolio from editorial, copywriting and specialized automotive translations English-German-English to crisis management and media training.

Owner Axel Cotton has been in the automotive PR business for over 30 years, representing BMW, Peugeot and Audi as well as Audi of America at headquarter and importer level. Axel Cotton, award-winning automotive journalist has been published in Europe, the United States and Asia. In addition to being a major contributor of classic car features for the world’s leading classic car publications, Cotton is also a well-respected author and translator of automotive books.


Anthony Bologna, December 23th, 2020


Back to Bullit main page