In December 1968, the Steve McQueen movie Bullitt hit movie screens around the world. All these years later, the film still makes a number of "favorite movie" lists because of the iconic chase scene through the streets of San Francisco.
McQueen plays Lt. Frank Bullitt. When a witness he is supposed to guard is assassinated, Bullitt goes on the hunt. He eventually spots the bad guys when they are in a 1968 Charger. The intrepid lieutenant gives chase in a 1968 Mustang. McQueen did much of his own driving in the chase scene, which wound its way around town without any background music or dialogue.
The producers had two Chargers and two Mustangs; the Mustangs had to be specially modified so they could keep up with the Chargers.
Along with James Bond's Aston-Martin in 1964's Goldfinger, the Mustang in Bullitt may have done more to stoke America's love affair with the car more than any other movie. But, within the next few decades, the driven car may become a relic.
Driverless cars have already logged over 700,000 miles in California, and they may soon revolutionize the way we think about our four-wheeled friends:
The next wave of driverless cars may be able to park themselves and have an auto-pilot mode. It may still be forty or fifty years before completely automatic cars are common in Fresno. But when that day comes, there will still be those of us who prefer to drive manual transmission cars without a computer overriding our instructions. Driving a car is not just about transportation; it's about freedom. While driverless cars may feel a need for a small niche of people in our society, many of us will always prefer to experience the open road with our hands on the wheel and our right foot on the gas, just like Steve McQueen did in Bullitt.