By MARGARET N. BATES
The producers of the remake of Bullitt, currently being filmed in San Francisco, have stunned industry insiders by dumping the iconic Ford Mustang fastback in favor of a Toyota Prius hybrid for the car chase sequence.
But a 510 c.i. V-10 Dodge Viper will stand in for the Dodge Charger seen in the original film, making a mockery of claims that the new Bullitt will be 'environmentally friendly.'
According to our sources, the current model Mustangs were deemed 'underpowered' and 'old men's cars' by focus groups. Their overwhelming preference for the muscle car driven by Lt. Bullitt (Russell Crowe) was a hybrid gasoline/electric vehicle that could achieve 75 mph while getting up to 60 mpg. In a reference to the original film, the car will be specially painted in 'Highland Green' to match the 1968 Mustang.
While skeptical at first, the producers were forced to concede that the Prius easily beat the Mustang in standing quarter mile performance and top speed, largely because of the acceleration afforded by the electric motors. A Mustang will still feature in the film, however, as the car driven by Mayor Walter Chalmer's (Michael Douglas) hairdresser.