The Unexpected Ponysite presents
1968 BULLITT CHARGER R/T
The SURVIVOR???
copyright Arnold Welch, Wolfgang Kohrn
October 17th 2008 - updated  January 2013

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A Survivor?

Has the Bullitt Charger camera car survived?  
Arnold Welch says YES.


Anybody can certainly picture from the movie itself and the shot on our Bullittnews-page of the burnt Charger that the "Gasstation" Charger never could survive, but there was another Charger, that was used for doing the close-up shots of the driver and copilot. We have heard the stories about the crash car being blue in colour, which you can spot from the DVD, after its door handle has been knocked off and that is meanwhile somehow common believe, though no evidence has been brought up for that statement and the burning Charger hardly shows any blueish spots.
 
We here and many Charger enthusiasts always thought the other to be true black, while our interview partner Arnold comes up with another theory here. We have also indicated some spots in the above picture for you to memorize, when you go further down this site to see Arnolds claims.



Arnold Welch is a real Mopar guy and was 57 years old as of 2008, when he contacted us.. 

..
so we trust he isn't telling us a fairy tale here nor kidding us nor didn't just bet with his Mopar friends to fool the Mustang guys. Arnold says, he put a lot of  research in his car before he came up with his assumptions beyond question marks and tried to pull every cord and check any source of information he had access to.

Finally he decided it is time for his coming out with the indications that let him believe this might be the surviving BULLITT Charger camera car. 

We had the same doubts that you immediately will have, especially having been in touch with somebody that claimed to have been an eye witness seeing that the cars vanished from the WB studio lot for the crusher. But we know that cars are not always destroyed there, if an employee sees a value in it and safes it, maybe even for the parts or the VIN only. Anthony saw one heavily burnt Charger, when checking out the wrecking yard some time after the movie.

Other eye and ear witnesses were saying that the studio people have been busy in creating clones of the Chargers for sale later.

We wish to state that currently there are many arguments speaking against this car being the survivor. 
More than speak in favour of this car. There is a number of  holes matching the available Charger camera car pictures .. being enough evidence for Arnold plus a few assumptions made around the build date and the color, that it might be the car. 

So we are definitely not presenting it ourselves (the authors of this site) as the real deal. However the editor of this site can picture the perspective of Arnold having found the holes 6 years ago and trying to find explanations for those. If those holes are genuine and true, we think Arnold needs to get a chance to speak out. But we like you to comment on it in a serious way with arguments and counterarguments on your own forum or face-to-face with Arnold at the shows. Serious comments will also be forwarded to him via the e-mail address below or we will put them in a Q&A separate section. 

Anyway Arnold is decided and engaged to finish the restoration of his Charger and to show off his car from 2010 or 2011 on, so we just want you to be your own judge on this interesting car. It may take much more time to verify this car indeed or it might end up as a nice trial for a fraud, but we have trust in that Mopar experts will sort out the facts form the fallacies that might occur during further research. 

So be it, here is Arnold Welch Charger R/T, ready to be inspected by the ones that really know the facts, not just hear and say from the books and websites. 


Q: Arnold - can you please introduce yourself  to our audience:

I have been a Mopar fan since a young teen and I am 57 years young now (2008).  I have owned and restored numerous Mopars and my occupation is auto upholstery for the past 35 years.  In this amount of time, I had a 1967 Hemi Coronet R/T, a 1969 1/2 Super Bee 440 Sixpack with liftoff hood, a 1970 Challenger T/A with a pistol-grip 4 speed 340 Sixpack and also an AAR Cuda pistol-grip 4 speed 340 Sixpack and over 100 other various Mopars.  As you can see, my pattion is rebuilding and restoring Mopars for many years.  My knowledge is extensive and I have owned enough cars to understand the nuances of my 1968 Charger R/T are from other than Factory caused nuances.  2008 has been a real good year for me.  My Dude Racing 1971 Dodge p/up was picked to be on Pinks All-Out, Tucson, AZ which was televised this year.  My best part of the year was when I determined I have the Bullitt Charger.
 

The story of how I purchased the 1968 Charger was I found the car years before purchasing it, but the owner would not sell it.  Approximately 5 years later, I heard there was a triple black '68 Charger from California for sale here in Tucson.  I went to investigate and found the original light yellow paint and advised the owner it was not an original black car.  It had 10" wide weld wheels all the way around.  I negotiated the sale price down due to being a non-black car and I let them keep the weld wheels.  When I was sand blasting the trunk and replacing the trunk floor, I got sand in the interior carpet which I removed and found the holes as described to you previously.  I have the motor and transmission completely re-built and plan on restoring to the Bullitt Charger.  I expect to show the completed restored car by next summer.



Q: We are sure the VIN will plays a major role, even in the Charger world. What about your VIN Research?

I did extensive research on the VIN and determined the Build date was Jan. 15, 1968.  Filming on location took place on Easter Week (April 1968).  The car was never offered to the General Public until Oct. 5, 1968 and was purchased in California.  I called the Chrysler Historical Museum who indicated that I knew more about the car than they could physically provide to me.  I also contacted Warner Brothers Archive Division and provided the PowerPoint slideshow to them.  They responded that all their historical archive documents have been lost/destroyed.  They did however, tell me that I have as much evidence it is the original Bullitt Charger Movie Camera Car as someone who would indicate otherwise.  They told me to enjoy the car and my restoration back to the Bullitt Movie Car.

 Q: Do you have any other paperwork?

I have the original build sheet and fender tag, matching number 440 Magnum motor, original Hemi 4-speed transmission and Dana 60 rearend.  The car has 62K original miles.  It has not been driven on the road since 1973.  
We did purchase the BlueRay Bullitt DVD just for enabling us to verify the colors, matching holes, etc. If you look at the car that crashes behind the gas station, you can tell it is blue.  It knocked the door handle off wherein you can see the blue color exposed.  This was also an automatic on the column, non R/T model originally from the dealer. It was cloned to an R/T model for the movie. 

 Q: What are your specific claims about this car?

I bought this 1968 Dodge Charger R/T in 2002 from a person who originally purchased it at Valley Dodge in Van Nuys, CA in 1970. He brought the car to Tucson, AZ in 1973. I was informed it was a triple black car, but it was in fact the Dodge original light yellow from the factory, as it turned out.



It was painted black, then back to original yellow and lastly gold at the time of purchase. During my restoration, I noted several holes on the body in various areas. After removing the carpet, I saw numerous hole patterns in the floor boards. I believe these holes are from being the black Charger car in the movie, Bullitt

My interior radio rear switch is identical to the one in the movie. Also, my pull down armrest in the interior seat matches the movie car. The chipped paint on the rear deck lid opening picture shows the light yellow paint identical to mine (see pictures of camera car with cameraman in trunk). 

The front bracket bolts for the generator support and the holes for the side lighting bars from the trunk to the door jam, match exactly. The interior floor hole patterns are from the interior camera mounts, sound and lighting and are mostly located on the passenger side. 
'
Passenger site camera brackets mounting holes?

Passenger sight rear camera mounts


Mounting hole for the generator strap 

Mounting hole in the door jamb for the light bar says Arnold

Mounting hole for the light bar in the trunk area going all the way to the doorjamb acc. to Arnold

The camera car was also used for filming the Bullitt and McQueen in it from the front in downtown low speed scenes at least.

Arnold says: When you review the trailers after the end of the movie, you see the camera car with chips of paint at the trunk lid opening, just under the camera man's armpit showing light yellow paint which matches my original paint color from factory."

Q: We never heard about a yellow Charger being used...
I searched the Internet and it says the stunt car driver, Bill Hickman, purchased two Dodge Chargers (one blue, non R/T and one light yellow R/T) from the Dodge dealer in So. California (stories indicate that it was Glendale Dodge). Both cars were then painted black for the movie. When apparently, the Dodge dealer received my car back, it was then re-painted back to light yellow and sold to the general public.


Q: One could think these holes are not really 40 years old? Do you have any more details. The one in the door jamb could be also from removing a dent in the rear quarter with a method of dent removal?

The car has been in Arizona since 1973, so it is going to look much cleaner than a California or Eastern car where this is a lot of moisture.  There are holes on each door jamb where they had a flat metal strap screwed to right and left door jambs, holding the lighting fixture.

Q: What about the camera fixture holes that should be there in the trunk pan?

I replaced the floor trunk pan due to rust.  The rain was running in the holes that were drilled for the lighting poles located on the trunk opening which caused the rust.  This was never stored in a garage, but with the dry conditions in Arizona, the water that did run into the holes caused the rust.

 Q: So your conclusion is...?

After this extensive research, I do believe this is the original Bullitt Charger Movie Camera Car. 
I have owned this car for 6 years now.  You have to remember, I was going to restore this car back to it's original, having a build sheet with matching motor and transmission when I discovered the holes in the floor, I stopped.  I have done enough research which convinces me this is the original Bullitt Charger Movie Car.
Arnold Welch

 


We asked our Charger "brother" Scott Ullrich to give us a first spontaneous Mopar opinion: 

I have indeed seen reports on the internet that both cars were painted, not factory black as we all thought. There are a lot of rumours around, I am not sure what is really true. I have some pros and some cons on this car that certainly require more research and I am currently engaged to find out more on this car.. 

I'm reluctant to say that THIS IS THE CAR.  Since there are no clearly documented evidence stating the VIN# of the car used by Warner Bros. Arnold doesn't really have a leg to stand on.  That's what he's going to need to solidify the claim. 

One could go buy a once painted black charger 4 spd. big block and make the same claim using the photos of the bracketry and a couple 1 inch drill bits.You would think that after 40 years those holes on the door and trunk sill would have some rust. Not these holes.... the floor pan has it though.  He says that the pics match perfectly to the lighting and sound equipment?  Are there any pics of the interior of the Movie Charger around? I haven't seen any with the equipment mounted.
 
Facts are:  
Peter Yates said himself that they had a hard time getting WB to use another product since they had a contract with Ford.  McQueen persuaded them since he had a part ownership in the film. The crashed Charger was in fact blue, we all know that. Tony (Anthony Bologna) saw someone spray painting a section of the door with his own two eyes. 

The other Charger....who knows.  Could this be it?  Maybe.  
I just can't believe it until someone either shows records from WB which I doubt thanks to the fire at the studios I heard about, or one of the members of the crew steps forward and says yes, I drilled those holes and can verify them and this is in fact the car.  
My conclusion:
I'm hoping that it is the real car, it may even bring the owner of the Mustang out of hiding.  I'm in support of this gentlemen all the way, I just wished he would have been able to produce more concrete evidence before making the claim and getting my hopes up.  It's hard to believe that WB would say yes, this is the car and have fun restoring it. I'll check further details of his claim with my mates and do some research.


Anthony Bologna recalls some information about the automatic (and later blown) Charger and the camera/light set-ups: 

Scotts sums it all!...I did witness someone with a spray can of black paint touching up.
Now, I will throw a wrench into all this.....I still remember walking around the Charger parked in my neighbors drive-way on Filbert and Jones. If you recall the movie, this is the street were the Charger slides side-ways to make the turn off Taylor to Filbert.The next block is Jones Street.
The hood on the Charger was opened, the drivers and passenger's door were open too. I just walked over to the car, no security was around it. A crew member giving it a quick once over under the hood, drive train and suspension. I noticed the air cleaner that had a 440 Ci sticker. The interior still had that fresh new smell and I noticed the car had a console with an automatic!!! I remember also that the engine bay was black.
I saw one Charger at a junkyard after the movie. The car was burned very badly. A yardworker said that it was used in a movie. It was piled up on top of a few cars.
The generators were in the trunk of both cars. There was a camera and a light set-up in the interior of the Charger and Mustang. For the chase, I saw the crew pull a rope to start the gas generator in the trunk of both cars......The rack that you see on the photo of the Charger was on the outside with the lights and camera. Used on the side of the passenger door or it was switched over to the driver's side...this set-up was not used during the jumps on Taylor Street of course during the chase.

We asked a few of our featured Charger owners and they can picture it might be a movie car with those holes, if the holes are really from 1968-1970, yet most think there is not enough evidence in the other statements. But disbelieve and doubts are not the end of this story. We will follow the car and its appearance right into 2009 and 2010. We trust in Arnold that he comes up with more evidence in the future from his research.


The car as of December 2009. Arnold updates us regularly about the restoration process.


Car as of March 2010


Engine installed June 2010

Gas tank installed August 2010

Engine test run as of September 2010 - interior painted, now ready for the outside paint job.


November 2010 - electrical complete incl. the brakes, new tires and hubcaps installed. 

Personally I wish I could afford it when it is ready. Being without a toy now, this one would be definitely my next favourite and the perfect car to visit all my Bullitt replica friends:).

August 2011 - Arnold is planning ahead with a major exhibitor to show the car at the SEMA 2011 (if all goes right). At least it looks like the car is soon finished.

October 18th 2011 - Arnold is sure he will make it for the SEMA and be in a special "best-known Chargers" display at the .......booth (waiting for official anouncement).








Arnold heading to the SEMA 2011 on Oct. 30th for his great coming out in front of the Bullitt maniacs.





More pics from the 1st of November 2011 from Arnold and Carol



At the SEMA 2011 Arnold met by coincidence an ex-mechanic of Max Balchowski, living in Las Vegas today....and they both chatted about the car. 

Arnold reported: "I met the original ... mechanic who worked on the Bullitt Charger Movie car as well as Steve McQueen's Mustangs!!!!!!!  His name is Dxxx Xxxxxx, he is 76 years old and lives in Las Vegas currently. He said "his heart was pounding as he walked up to the car".  I am obtaining pics of him with me beside the Bullitt Charger.  He listened to my recount of my Bullitt Charger history, as stated several times to others, and he said "young man you know a lot about the car and this is the very car from the movie, Bullitt". (Name withheld for privacy reasons - the editor)


Arnold appeared with his Charger at the Friends of Steve McQueen show in Chino Hills/CA Boys Republic Show

As of January 2013 his car was advertised for 1 Million Dollar. We are curious on how this turns out. 


Disclaimer:
The presentation on this site does not indicate it is a true BULLITT Charger car. We cannot be held responsible for any claims that may result in future sale, auctioning  or showing off of the car. 

The authors David Kunz, Anthony Bologna and myself as the Editor do have controversial opinions on presenting this car now with the given proofs, but we agree  that especially thinking of its oncoming appearance at shows  (at the SEMA 2011) there is room enough on this site to present you Arnolds story on his Charger. We are very curious on experts knowledge that certainly might come up from the Mopar world. At the end of 2012 there are many more doubts, but also some supportive statements from Charger owners.

Please address them to the below e-mail

 

 


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