From what I’ve seen, most enthusiasts on the internet seem to rejoyce about the Shelby Trust winning a long lawsuit against Gone in 60 Seconds creator H. B. Halicki’s widow Denice Shakarian Halicki earlier this month. After all, that may mean more replicas of the 1967 GT500-impersonating Mustang from the 2000 remake of Gone in 60 Seconds can now be built. The news only adds to the fame of what is arguably the most iconic movie car ever. And we’ve just found out that one of the original hero cars had returned to the streets of LA—where much of the filming took place—in October this year!
There may be meaner motion picture machines out there (this guy is building a Challenger Hellcat into Mad Max’s Ford Falcon XB GT Interceptor), but Eleanor is the one most people know about. The fame of the vehicle spread way beyond that of the movie itself, despite the production featuring Nicholas Cage and Angelina Jolie. And this meant that loads of people started building replicas.
There used to be no legal trouble in that so long as the machines weren’t given the Eleanor label and used to make money, in which case the builder would have to pay $25,000 to Halicki. Otherwise, her legal team would spring into action.
And one of the most recent cases of the sort saw YouTuber B is for Build having such a project car confiscated and being forced to take down an entire series of videos dedicated to it back in 2020.
Does this mean B is for Build can get the car back now? We’re not sure, but here’s the video Donut Media made about the story, and while B is for Build has yet to release statement following the said verdict, the NFS movie stunt car the channel subsequently turned into a mid-engined 1967 Mustang for last month’s SEMA show is quite the silver lining here.
Speaking of the verdict, which may still get appealed, by the way, the Shelby Trust can license GT500-like vehicles resembling the Eleanor. It’s also worth noting the main ingredients for such a build were first put into a sketch by Steve Stanford, while the final design came courtesy of Chip Foose. However, the story of the exterior colors—Pepper Gray Metallic with black stripes—is said to have involved a painter who reversed the hues, but this is another story for another time.
And no, the Eleanor Mustang wasn’t a genuine Shelby GT500, but rather a 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback made to look like a modernized version of the Blue Oval icon.
One of the Eleanor Mustang hero cars returned to Los Angeles two months ago
Just a few hours ago, the Autotopia LA YouTube channel released a video showcasing one of the three hero cars (the beauty shots unit) racking up some Los Angeles miles. The clip was shot about a week before SEMA (November 1-4, 2022) and it sees the channel’s Shawn Davis getting behind the wheel.
Riding shotgun we have Chris Zollner, one of the enthusiasts behind Chrome Cars. The latter is a German classic car dealer that has had the vehicle in the movie car part of its generous collection, which includes street and race cars from multiple eras.
The full story of the car is detailed on the Chrome Cars website (just make sure to use a translation feature, since this is in German), were we also get some videos of Eleanor visiting the old filming locations back in 2017 when the specialist acquired the vehicle.
The myth surrounding Eleanor means the duo gets to take the ‘Stang out on the road without license plates, while crossing paths with Jay Leno in a McLaren P1. Remember, this was before the comedian/car collector was involved in a car fire (while working in his garage) from which he’s currently expected to make a full recovery.
How much is the Eleanor Mustang worth?
Shawn and Chris estimate that the vehicle is worth around $2 million, while mentioning the $1.1M sale of another such hero car back in 2013 via Mecum Auctions.
For the record, Hollywood-based CVS (Cinema Vehicle Services) built 11 Eleanors for the motion picture, with 8 of these reportedly being stunt vehicles (i.e. built to lesser standards). And while not all of them survived the filming, another movie car—we’re not sure of its exact type—was auctioned at Mecum back in 2020, for $852,000.
Who knows? Perhaps another sale is coming…
Eleanor has under 400 hp, but it doesn’t need more
In the final part of the video, which includes the drive, you’ll see Shawn praising the car’s brakes. And, to those who are aware of his 1,300 hp Mercury Comet crash, that means a lot, since a brake failure is what caused that serious accident.
In fact, somebody in the comments section even mentioned this, with the YouTuber delivering an update on his condition now that a year has passed since the serious accident: “Been a year Dec 18 since the crash. Still some work needed on my back but thank you! Awesome getting to shoot this [Eleanor] legend!“
Perhaps the most ordinary thing about the Eleanor hero car is its tech package. The 351 Ford Winsor modern crate engine makes under 400 hp according to Chris, but this is plenty of power for a late 1990s restomod, which, as Shawn puts it, still delivers the old-school driving experience.
Oh, and did you know there’s a bit of Mustang II in there? Perhaps the Malaise Era gem that is the second-gen pony will get a bit more love now.