$4 million Steve McQueen 'Bullitt' Mustang resurfaces after 'missing' for 40 years

Jay Leno's Garage was all about movie cars, Thursday night. They reenacted the famous scene from James Bond: The Spy Who Loved Me using the new Lotus Evora 400. And they also took John Travolta's systematic, hydromatic, and ultramatic Grease Lightning for a spin. But it was the original Bullitt Mustang that stole the show.

Leno started by driving the 475 horsepower 2019 Ford Bullitt Mustang. He said, "I have to admit it makes me smile, you know. When you get behind the wheel of this, you feel like Steve McQueen. I mean, it's, uh, it's really fascinating."

While driving the new mustang, Leno saw the original 1968 Mustang pull up behind him. Leno said, "There'd been rumors about it being found in someone's barn; somebody else said it was in Mexico. But after 50 years of being out of sight, here's the untouched, unrestored, just as McQueen left it."

The car went "missing" after a man by the name of Bob Kiernan paid $6,000 for it in 1974. McQueen tracked him down and asked to purchase the car back, but Kiernan refused to part with the vehicle.

The car was only on the road for a few more years. Kiernan's son, Sean explained, "The car was always a problem, my mom and dad always said, as far as registering it, because it has no reverse lights. The exhaust is extremely loud. Certain things front to back about the car that just New Jersey didn't like. They didn't want it on the road. You know, that's kind of what parked it. And I think it just kind of accidentally became a secret."

Upon learning of the new Ford Bullitt Mustang, Sean revealed that he had come into possession of the car after his father passed away. He got the car, which is valued at $4 million, running and plans to show it to the public. He said, "I want people to experience this car, the story from the beginning to the end, just like I have."

Jay Leno's Garage airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. CNBC.