Bullitt Reloaded: The Heath’s Retro 2008 Bullitt

Every once in a while, we come across a truly unique and interesting build, and Chuck and Renee Heath’s 2008 Bullitt is definitely one of them. No, that isn’t a typo, but we’ll get to that in a little while. We found this beautiful Bullitt among a sea of others at the Carlisle Ford Nationals about a month back, but it was immediately apparent that there was something different about it.

The Beginning

Let’s start at the beginning. Chuck and Renee’s story really began in June of 2008, when a coworker of Chuck’s decided to sell his 1967 Mustang coupe. The coupe had been passed among employees of Chuck’s workplace for about 20 years, but Chuck wasn’t all that interested in purchasing it. Finally, his coworker wore him down, and Chuck agreed to buy the Mustang, with the stipulation that should the previous owner wish to buy the car back within three months, it would be returned to him. The previous owner never decided to retrieve the car, so the coupe was with the Heath’s to stay. Shortly thereafter, began the teardown.

Six months later, the coupe was in running condition, and the couple decided that they would like to attend the 45thAnniversary of the Mustang in Birmingham, Alabama. Unfortunately, they would realize that while “Jenny” was drivable, she was not reliable enough for the long drive from Georgia. However, Chuck had already paid the registration fee for the show. So what else to do but start looking for a Mustang to take to the anniversary show in place of the ’67?

This photo is a bit blurry, but we can’t exactly ask Chuck to retake it now!

That’s right around the time that Chuck came upon a car that he felt stood out from the pack due to its lack of markings and logos. The couple also fell for its Dark Highland Green paint job. Chuck came home with the #5623 2008 Mustang Bullitt on February 12, 2009.

“This is Chuck’s story and he is sticking to it,” Renee says. “He bought the Bullitt so he did not waste the $100 for show registration.”

The couple followed through and made the drive to the anniversary celebration soon thereafter. While in Alabama, the Heath’s learned a lot about the Bullitt’s strong following, which soon led Chuck to join both the IMBOC (International Mustang Bullitt Owners Club) and the Mustang Club of America. Equipped with newfound Bullitt knowledge, it wasn’t long after returning home that minor modification began.

“Just like any other Mustang enthusiasts, nothing can stay stock,” Chuck told us. “We always have to be modifying something.”

The couple enjoyed the Bullitt as it was for many years, attending MCA National events all over the country (receiving Gold in 14 of them, and Bronze in another), as well as several more prestigious awards, including the coveted MCA Grille Medallion and Best Modified Mustang for the 2015 show season. Chuck enjoyed the shows with his Bullitt so much that he studied and tested to become an MCA National Certified Judge.

“We started attending the Bullitt Nationals in 2010 at the ‘Tail of the Dragon’ in North Carolina,” the couple told us. “Since then we have attended Bullitt events in Florida, Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, and Michigan, as well as the infamous ‘Legends Live’ Route 66 tour in Chino Hills, California in 2012. We have been twice to Carlisle, Pennsylvania.”

“During these 10 years of travel, we have visited 45 out of 48 lower states and Canada in the Bullitt, always driven.”

Transformation

But last year, the Heath’s decided to shake things up.

“Since we got involved, I’ve always liked 1967 and 1968 Fastback Mustangs, but they’re terribly hard to find, and when you do find one, they want crazy money for them,” Chuck said. “In May of 2018, we were at a national MCA show in Augusta, Georgia, and Retrobuilt Motors had two cars on display – a converted Eleanor and a converted Boss 302, both of them S197 Mustangs converted to classic. They caught our eyes and Renee’s heart. I liked the look of them, and they were clean builds.”

The transformation process.

The Heath’s spent the weekend chatting with brothers Aaron and Joey Duncan, owners of Retrobuilt Motors in Nixa, Missouri, and they slowly began to embrace the idea of a complete transformation.

“After two days of checking them out, we decided on Sunday at the end of the show to do it, and to convert our Bullitt,” Chuck said.

Though the 2019 Bullitt was taking to Ford dealership floors, the pair hadn’t completely fallen in love with the S550 body style. The conversion would be able to give them the best of both worlds – an exterior resembling that of a 1968 Mustang Fastback, along with the reliability, comfort, safety, and power of the 2008 Bullitt.

Months later, the Bullitt was sent to Retrobuilt Motors to be converted to a 1968 Bullitt, retaining all of its modern amenities. The result is a seamless blending of old and new.

The body’s transformation is clear, but the pair didn’t stop there. The Bullitt also has a hearty list of performance upgrades which includes Brenspeed Detroit Rocker Cams, a 93 octane tune from Johnny Lighting Performance, BBK long-tube headers with catalytic converter delete, a BBK X-pipe, BBK Vari-Tune axle-back mufflers, a one-piece aluminum driveshaft, and an MGW short throw shifter.

“We got the car back on March 22nd of this year, and it wasn’t yet fully complete,” Chuck told us. “Retrobuilt was waiting for finishing parts, and had about a 6-8 week wait, but I didn’t want to wait to drive it. So we took it, and will be finishing it up when the remaining parts come in.”

While the Bullitt attracts plenty of confused admirers on the road, Chuck says there are definite clues to the Bullitt’s real identity.

“A true car expert knows that something is a little different about our Retrofitted Bullitt, and we tell them that it is a little wider, and a little higher. But the novice doesn’t have a clue, especially when the ‘Retro Bullitt’ is flying down the road at about 80-85 miles per hour.”

At the end of the day, the Heath’s are enjoying every second spent with their new Bullitt.

“If there were anything on this earth that Chuck or I wanted more than this Retrofitted Bullitt, I wouldn’t know,” Renee told us. “We are having the time of our life. Our Retro Bullitt is drivable and reliable, and we have no need for another one.”

The two consider the Bullitt their gift to each other for celebrating 52 years of wedded bliss.

“Throughout those years, we have had ups and downs, raised a family, worked hard, and retired. Now, we are free and adventurous again.”

Free to enjoy their new beauty – a stunning blast from the past.

About the author

Stephanie Davies-Bardekoff

Stephanie Davies got her start in automotive media while studying at Rutgers University and eventually landed at Roush Performance outside of Detroit, where she now resides. She writes for various automotive outlets, works with rescue dogs, enjoys driving her Roush-charged Coyote-swapped 1992 Fox body Mustang race car, and is convinced that absolutely nothing in the world beats a sunny weekend at the track.
Read My Articles

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