It was the best thing to happen to the Mustang since Bullitt, a quintessential Nick Cage movie and car-chase classic. Does it matter that the helicopter is supposed to fly above and keep track of the pursued car? No, it's the 2000 remake of the cult classic 1974 car-wreck movie Gone in Sixty Seconds. Gorgeous cars and high-speed chases ruled the day in the film that's become a cult classic on its own. There's a lot of daylight between the original movie and the remake. They do share one particular element in common, and that's a love for fast cars driven with reckless abandon.
Whether it's the record-holding 4-plus-minute car chase with almost a hundred cars being wrecked and an unscripted moment in the hero car from the original or the high-octane fuel ballet through the landmarks of Los Angeles, Gone in 60 Seconds delivers the automotive thrills. Worrying about the thin-on-the-ground plot is to miss the point. The cars are the stars of the show, and the movie only exists to put them in situations where they go fast. With that in mind, let's take a look at the cars that make Gone in 60 Seconds such a thrill ride and the only part we care about. Here are 23 things to know about the cars in Gone in 60 Seconds.
23 Sway's Bike Was One of the Rarest Vehicles
Every character in the movie, from Memphis' over-the-top pep talk to kids at a kiddie kart track to Sphinx laying his sandwich down on a cadaver to take a phone call despite never talking, got a big introduction. But wait... how did Sphinx get that job in the first place? Asking those kinds of questions misses the point of this movie. Sway comes in to join the crew to tell them she's only there for Kip, but she does it on a rare ride. One of only 300 made, Sway's MV Agusta 750S was one of the rarer vehicles in the movie, and she already had it. With a top speed of a rider-dependent 170 mph, it was also one of the fastest.
22 Jolie Wasn't the Only Angelina
If the antics of Porsche fanatics seem ridiculous with what they consider a true Porsche, they have nothing on the Ferrari faithful. For years, they didn't even consider one of the best-looking Ferraris a Ferrari because it has six cylinders instead of twelve. When the 365 GTB/4 was replaced by the Berlinetta Boxer with its mid-engine, it was a big change of tradition for Ferrari putting the motor in the middle. For 23 years, things remained that way until the 550 marked the return of front-engine rear drive in Ferrari's top-of-the-line V12s. The crew stole one named "Angelina," with Jolie saying, "I always had a thing for redheads" when she saw her namesake.
21 The Mercedes Might be Cheaper to Buy Now
Movies are generally a product of their time. A joke about how much long-distance calls cost in 1968's 2001: A Space Odyssey ends up not playing well in a world of handheld, free long-distance. The same is true of some of the high-end exotic cars that the crew had to steal in the 2000 film. One of the major plot points revolved around getting specific keys for the 'unstealable' Mercedes S class cars. At the time of the film, 'Samantha', on the list as an "S600" but an S500 when stolen, was listed at close to $80,000. Now, the crew could just buy one at $5,000 and come out ahead.
20 All About Eleanor
The undisputed breakout star of the remake is the customized 1967 Shelby GT500 Mustang. Not since Bullitt has a Mustang captured the imagination of the gearhead audience. Fans of Shelby noticed immediately that this was no ordinary Shelby GT500. The car had been given the custom look with help from Overhaulin' design guru Chip Foose. Thirteen total Eleanors were made from Foose's model for the various kinds of stunts required in the high-octane finale. Of those, only two originals exist. One belongs to star Nick Cage and the other to producer Jerry Bruckheimer.
19 Only the Last Eleanor Was a Real Shelby
Eleanor was a lot of things. It was good-looking, sounded cool, and went fast. As far as the movie was concerned, it was a Shelby GT500. That, however, is movie magic.
While some Mustang fans might think any Mustang being destroyed is bad, the production wasn't about to take out a dozen actual Shelby GT500s. So, all of the Eleanors for the movie were built on stock fastback 1967 Mustangs.
A real GT500 did show up in the movie in the form of the 'barn find' GT500 that Kip gives Memphis at the end of the movie. It was reported that after the filming of the scene, it took a lot of coaxing to get Cage out of the car.
18 Bruckheimer Won't Drive His Eleanor
The only two surviving original Eleanors belong to the star and the movie's producer.
Nick Cage, being a big fan of fast cars himself, takes his out on tour with a fair amount of regularity. The same doesn't hold true for mega-producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who's afraid to take the car out for a spin.
While neither of them is a real Shelby GT500, they were still built for speed, and that kind of power with the one-of-two rareness was just a little too much for the blockbuster producer. It's hard to say, given the prominence of such a car, that one wouldn't be a little concerned, but most gearheads can't resist the siren call of a beefy Mustang.
17 The XJ220 Wasn't the First Choice
The title of "world's fastest car" didn't use to be such an exclusive club. Sure, it was occupied by the likes of Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Porsche, but it wasn't the mantle that manufacturers chased specifically. That changed when F1 racecar maker McLaren decided to make the insane McLaren F1 with its top speed at a limited 221 mph. The bell had sounded, and specialty carmakers competed to make their own insane speed machine. One manufacturer that fell short of the goal was Jaguar with their slick and surprisingly comfortable XJ220. The 220 was supposed to be top speed but didn't quite hit the mark. The film's script had called for an F1, but the filmmakers couldn't find someone to lend them their rare hypercar, so they settled for the fast Jag instead.
For as thin on the ground as the plot was for the 2000 Gone in 60 Seconds, it's got nothing on the original in that regard. The 'script' for part of the climactic car chase at the end of the movie at one point was a circle drawn on a piece of cardboard and handed to the editor. The closest thing that comes to an antagonist in the original film is 1-Baker-11, the first police car to catch Eleanor on the way out of the garage. This was supposed to be the only police car to crash, but the rest of the drivers got into the scene and crashed their cars as well. For the remake, Delroy Lindo, who played Detective Castleback, followed suit by accidentally crashing his character's BMW.
15 The Unloved Porsche
The movie opens with young Kip brazenly stealing a Porsche straight off the showroom with a mix of bravado and hubris. His driving skill and the benchmark through which all other sports cars measure themselves handle the getaway with ease, but his sloppy behavior causes a crisis with the boss that sets up the return of brother Memphis. The Porsche that Kip steals—"Tina," a 996 Carrera—has had an equally black-sheep path. It replaced the much loved 993 with a longer and larger 911 that finally switched to water cooling for the engine, and headlights, it shared with its downmarket brother, the Boxster. While values of used Porsches rise across the board, 996s can be had for pre-owned Camry money.
14 Tanya, the Favorite Child
Tina the 996 wasn't the only Porsche on the list. Arguably the hardest one was Virginia, the 959. The 959 isn't road legal in California, and anyone who has one has it for display and special consideration only. While that's not uncommon, most want the option of heading down to Cars & Coffee or Fridays at Bob's Big Boy now and then and rake in the envy. Tanya had it all over Tina in that she was the 993 Twin Turbo, considered by some of the faithful as the last true Porsche—air-cooled as the good doctor intended, small and light, and all fighter. Values of 993s have slowly crept up since its unloved water-cooled replacement.
13 Tracy the Recruit
One of the most dynamic scenes in the movie is when the stoic Sphinx and the fast-talking Mirrors run into a snag while acquiring Tracy, the H1 pickup. There are a lot of names other than "Tracy" the truck can go by: H1, Hummer, Humvee, HMMWV, or High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle. There's a divide between people who buy the civilian-purposed H1 and the military surplus Humvee. In the scene, Sphinx was only supposed to push the police car to the side but ended up going a little too hard and pushed the car off the ramp, and this was kept in the movie.
12 Eleanor Was the Only Character to Carry Over
As stated earlier, if you thought the plot was lacking in the 2000 film, it was a huge jump over the loosely conceived plot in the original.
Born of a time when car movies like Vanishing Point or Two-Lane Blacktop just 'were' in terms of plot, Gone in 60 Seconds was a movie built around a title.
The main thief, played by writer-director and producer H. B. Halicki, forces a member of his crew to forgo his honeymoon, and this rift eventually leads to him informing the police, leading to the climactic chase. Eleanor is the only character that carries over, though she got an upgrade. In the original film, it's a 1973 Mach 1 that the crew has to steal four times before it's finally taken.
11 Nods to the Original
While the remake took very few story cues from the original, it did make a few nods towards the part everyone likes: the car chase. In the original, the police catch Halicki coming out of the International Towers parking garage as he clips the car alarm. In the remake, Memphis comes out of the same garage and stalls, catching the attention of the police in an almost shot-for-shot tribute. Both car chases also feature a dynamic and physics-defying jump, though Halicki's crash was more practical in moviemaking terms. He paid the price; the impact caused a spinal injury that dogged him for the rest of his life.
While the remake distanced itself far from the original's plot, where the thieves' only claim to being sympathetic was that they would only steal insured cars, there was one big nod to the original in the remake.
In the 2000 film, an enthusiastic kid in Kip's crew takes the initiative to steal a 1983 El Dorado not on the list.
While this brings unplanned attention to the crew, it also is a problem because the car belongs to a heroin dealer. This scene also happens in the original. While the disagreement of what to do with the heroin Caddy leads to the betrayal in the original, in the remake, the con on Detective Castleback regarding the Caddy gives him a chance to notice that the heist will happen that night.
Easily the cheesiest part of the movie revolves around the crew when they prepare for their night of car boosting. They gather in a circle, and Memphis calls out for the classic song from the group War, Lowrider. Rock Cellar called it "the 8th greatest car song ever made." While this iconic song played, Nick Cage did some signature Nick Cage acting before giving the call to action, "Let's ride." This wasn't out of nowhere, however. In the original movie, a lowrider Cadillac—occasionally encountering the thieves, including at the end as Halicki drives off in the freshly stolen final Eleanor—features as comic relief during the movie.
8 Halicki's Widow Sued for the Merchandising Rights to Eleanor
Copyright is a tricky subject. It's knotty to pin down exactly who has the rights to what in what context. One of the quirks in film is that, generally speaking, a trademarked product either pays to be in a movie or the movie cannot use the trademark at all. Think of the plot point in Coming to America and the father's unlicensed McDonald's.
While Eleanor in the narrative of the movie is a Shelby GT500, the rights to sell GT500s with the name "Eleanor" were retained by the widow of the maker of the original movie.
In 2004, she ended up having to sue Shelby successfully over the sale of Eleanor-branded merchandise. She's subsequently licensed another custom maker to build Eleanor replicas for well-heeled fans.
7 Barbara Couldn't Exist
A few of the cars on the board didn't end up matching the cars that were eventually stolen. Mostly, they had minor differences like Samantha being an S500 instead of an S600. One of the errors came from the car not being a thing, though. Barbara was listed as a 1962 Aston Martin DB1. A DB1 would be a rare car indeed, but even rarer is one with the model year 1962. The extraordinarily rare car with only over a dozen made was only made between 1948 and 1950. Instead, they used the DB4, which was the DB (named after Dave Brown who bought Aston Martin in 1948) that was being made in 1962. While not as rare as the DB1, it's still a pretty good-looking car.
6 Iris Was the First of Her Kind
The Ferrari 550 was only one of the important Ferraris stolen by Memphis' crew. On the list was also a 1997 F355 F1. The F355 was part of the line that goes all the way back to the gorgeous 246 Dino as part of a line of non-V12 mid-engine Ferraris that have a reputation for being all business race cars you're allowed to drive on the road.
What's significant about the F355 F1 is the "F1" designation.
That one comes from the F1-style paddle shifters that changed gears on demand hydraulically based on the same system used in Formula 1 race cars. Within a couple decades, much tamer versions of the paddle shifter would eventually become commonplace on cars far away from the Ferrari, like on a Town & Country minivan.
5 Gabriella Is a Nod to Another Custom Builder
Most of the cars outside of Eleanor were stock machines, which makes sense, given the premise. The buyer was looking for a set of desirable cars to sell on foreign shores, and while it's hard to sell a custom even when doing it legally, it's all the harder doing it illegally. There was another custom on the list, though, and that was Gabriella, a 1950 Merc Coupe. The flame-throwing lead sled was done in the style of one of the most famous customs ever, the Hirohata Merc made by George Barris of Batmobile fame and his brother. The chopped, channeled, and frenched Merc became the model for customs for decades and made the name for the young fabricator.
4 Vanessa, 200 mph, and an Identity Crisis
Perhaps one of the more outlandish cars that had to be stolen by Memphis and his crew was Vanessa. On the board, Vanessa is listed as a Dodge Daytona. The long Dodge was made during a time when stock cars had to be based on stock cars sold by the manufacturer. If you wanted your race car to have a long nose with an aerodynamic cone, you had to sell such a beast to the public. So, Dodge did so, complete with the tall wing on the back to plant the car back on the road. It was the first NASCAR car to break 200 mph. They followed the Daytona up with the Plymouth Superbird, which is what was stolen in the movie. There were more Superbirds than Daytonas made.
3 The Collector Market Favors the Thieves
While the modern cars on the list have almost all lost most of their value to the point where you'd wonder why anyone would bother stealing them, some of the classics have more than made up for that shortfall. This is due in part to the massive boom in car collecting as an investment and the televising of car auctions. In the time period of the movie, the thieves go after Dorothy, a 300SL Gullwing.
It was easily one of the most recognizable cars with its gullwing doors, and in 2000, Barrett Jackson sold one for an impressive $192,000.
In 2017, Sotheby's sold one at auction for $1.3 million. While this alone would probably be enough to make up for the depreciation on the contemporary cars on the list, this same insane inflation has happened on almost all the classics, making the heist even more lucrative.
2 Everyone Came Trained, Almost
To prepare for a movie about a bunch of car thieves, the actors all did a lot of preparation. The most, of course, was done by the movie's star who took two separate performance driving courses and a stunt driving school that was also attended by Jolie, Ribisi, Scott Caan, and Delroy Lindo. Robert Duvall studied with automobile restorers for his role as the wise old man of the group. This is all in sharp contrast to villain Christopher Ecclestone, who has been disappointed with the movie overall. At the time of the film, he didn't even have a driver's license and didn't get one until years later.
Another one of the more over-the-top Nick Cage moments was the creation of "Roger." "Roger" is in search of a Ferrari that will set him apart from all of the 'self-indulgent wieners' that drive the more common Ferrari in the showroom, and that car is a 1967 275 GTB/4-cam, which would, as Roger the salesman says, make him a connoisseur. He's not wrong. The 300 hp front-engine tourer, as well as other design changes that made it the fastest front engine Ferrari of the time, was an advancement for the Ferrari engine. Only 280 were made, making it just a bit rarer than Sway's motorcycle.
Sources imdb.com, RMSothebys.com, roadandtrack.com, jalopnik.com