In the process of working on a biography and documentary about Steve McQueen (with Marshall Terrill), Harvest pastor Greg Laurie took a special interest in the discovery of the long-lost car used in the film Bullitt.
So much so, that Laurie sent car fanatic and pastor Steve Wilburn of Core Church LA to Mexicali, Mexico to witness the official validation of the iconic 1968 Ford Mustang GT.
Wilburn, a former pastor at Harvest, took the recent opportunity to help promote the upcoming documentary (Steve McQueen: American Icon releases for one-night event September 28) at SoCal Harvest by bringing a member of his church, who is rebuilding the car, to the press room. The documentary helps to reveal McQueen’s journey to a faith in Jesus, not common knowledge about the actor described as Hollywood’s “King of Cool.”
“When I called Ralph Garcia (Jr) about this car I’m thinking there’s no way this guy has the missing Bullitt. This car has been missing for 49 years,” Wilburn said. He told TogetherLA.net [WATCH EXCLUSIVE VIDEO BELOW] that Garcia was able to relay facts about the car, including photos, to him that began to convince him that the vehicle was authentic.
Wilburn said that from the moment the conversation about the car began, Garcia conveyed that he simply wanted the car to help glorify God.
Garcia had heard about Laurie’s effort to tell the story of McQueen at last year’s Harvest event. Five months later, Garcia found the Bullitt car and contacted Laurie and was then referred to Wilburn. He went to Core Church LA to meet with Wilburn and “fell in love” with the church and became a “Core Church family member.”
Laurie wrote about the discovery of the car:
This wasn’t discovering the Ark of the Covenant or the Ten Commandments, but the discovery stopped me dead in my tracks for two reasons.
First, I own a 1968 Bullitt myself. Not the original, of course, but a very close replica. You can call it my “midlife crisis!” People either “get it” or they don’t. On more than one occasion, when I have parked it in the lot, I will return with two or more admirers (always guys) standing by it with lots of questions.
Secondly, this story was of special interest to me because I’ve just spent a year of my life working on a new biography and documentary of Steve McQueen (with Marshall Terrill).
McQueen was Hollywood’s “King of Cool” for a reason. His legacy lives on in a new generation as his image is ubiquitous in culture (especially hipster culture). He also still appears in modern films like the recent remake of The Magnificent Seven. Yet, for most boomers like me, we can’t forget when we saw the original version of The Great Escape as McQueen played Virgil Hilts in a role that propelled him to super-stardom. Then there’s his role as the detective Frank Bullitt.
He literally flies his car through the streets of San Francisco in what is regarded by many as the greatest car chase scene in cinematic history. Steve McQueen was not cool because he drove the Bullitt car. The Bullitt car was cool because Steve McQueen drove it.
At the time, Steve McQueen was the number-one movie star in the world, and he is still used as a point of reference for masculinity and “coolness” to this day. He was (and is) the definition of an American icon.
Only in America – with America’s dream – could McQueen transform his hardscrabble beginnings into epic stardom. Yet, until late in his life he struggled to find meaning in life, and he suffered because of it.
It might have been because he was born into a home of an alcoholic mother and a father that left him early in life, but eventually he found himself on the wrong side of the law more than once. Then, as his star began to rise higher and higher he began to chase harder and harder after every pleasure this planet had to offer.
But notwithstanding all his fame and fortune, a colossal vacuum lived rent-free in Steve McQueen’s heart, a yawning chasm, a lack of purpose rooted in the absence of functional, involved parents. He spent his whole life avoiding his mother and searching for his father—searching for someone or something to stand in for him, someone to love him.
He had the best cars money could buy, the most beautiful women at his beck and call, drugs galore, booze until the well ran dry, and much more.
While still the top movie star on the planet, and with all the money and power in the world, he decided to search for more than this world could offer. That was the story I was interested in, and I chased it till I found it. Everyone knew about McQueen’s Bullitt! but I wanted to find McQueen’s salvation. Read full post here.