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Gone In 60 Seconds: 20 Things Fans Should Know About Eleanor

The first Gone in 60 Seconds movie was the brainchild of a used car salesman named H.B Toby Haliki. The movie debuted in 1974, (six years after Steve McQueen made the pony car cool), and clearly cemented the Mustang in western pop culture. By the time the 1990s rolled around, most people had long forgotten both Bullitt and Eleanor, the Mustangs from the two films. Thankfully for us, Jerry Bruckheimer still remembered and in 2000 he released the remake of the vintage film, debuting an “all-new” Eleanor, complete with action star Nicholas Cage behind the wheel.

While the new incarnation of the classic car film featured no less than 50 cars Cage’s character Randall “Memphis” Raines and his crew of car thieves had to boost in order to get Raines’ younger brother out of hot water, very few people can name any of the cars other than Eleanor. The 1967 Shelby GT500 seriously stole the spotlight, no pun intended. From an infamous car chase scene through the concrete river beds of Los Angeles County, to the moment the bad guy utterly destroys this beauty of a classic car, it’s not hard to understand why many viewers bonded with the silver beauty more than they did the less-than-Oscar-worthy acting performances by Cage, Angelina Jolie and Giovanni Ribisi (best known as the younger brother of Phoebe Buffay on the now-defunct sitcom Friends.

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20 Chip Foose design

via mecum.com

During the late 1990s, up-and-coming auto accessory designer Chip Foose was contacted by the production company to bring the new Eleanor to life.

The art director from the film called Chip and told him they had seven weeks to get the cars done. He provided Chip with a drawing from Steve Standford, and Foose asked if he could take a few liberties with the design.

Applying his own ideas of what Carroll Shelby would want a modern day 1967 GT500 to look like, Foose had a clay model created in no time flat, then presented it to Jerry Bruckheimer himself. The rest, as they say, is history.

19 Funny looking GT40

via madwhips.com

The idea of having a Mustang hold its own against a list of rare, exotic cars like a Ferrari F355, Lamborghini Diablo, Jaguar XJ220 and Aston Martin DB7 gave filmmakers pause for a time. They discussed using the Ford GT40 instead, considering it would look far more modern and hold more appeal for turn of the century audiences. However, when they considered the number of stunts the car would have to perform, doing all that damage to cars that often sell in the million dollar range, they decided to go with the ’67 GT500. However, the GT40 wheels did make it into the movie, as the ones used on Eleanor.

18 Official Eleanor?

via dealeraccelerate.com

Whenever these sorts of movies are created, the Hollywood team involved in creating them must follow a chain of title, meaning they need to verify the ownership of everything involved, intellectual property-wise, is locked down. Apparently, when preparing to re-make Gone in 60 Seconds checking with H.T. Halicki’s wife slipped through the cracks. It seems that although Mr. Halicki himself is no longer with us, his wife still held the rights to the use of the name Eleanor in movies and television. It doesn’t take a movie mogul to figure she wanted to get paid for people making money on her deceased husband’s hard work. Cue the lawyers.

17 They broke Eleanor!

via classic cars

During the filming of the movie, whileEleanordoesn’t appear in every scene involving a sweet ride, they managed to make an impact when she did.

Even though they didn’t come anywhere near the twelve Trans Ams Burt Reynolds and the crew of Smokey and the Bandit destroyed in the mid-70s (that would be 12 for those keeping score at home), they did manage to destroy five Shelby GT500s.

While a few were due to stunts gone wrong, having the villains crush one in the film’s climax is probably the worst death scene ever filmed featuring a car star.

16 SOLD! To the man with $1,000,000

via barrett-jackson.com

If you happened to be at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in scenic Scottsdale Arizona, in 2009, you would have been able to bid on an actual Eleanor from the movie. The silver GT350 streaked across the stage and went home with the lucky bidder, after leaving them $216,700.00 light in the wallet.

Fast forward a few years to 2013 and a bidder at a Mecum Auction paid a cool million.

While the car itself is amazing, and having one that was actually in the film is certainly a crown jewel of anyone’s car collection, the monthly payment on a $75,000 Corvette is insane. Imagine paying the note on a $1,000,000 car – especially one that’s prone to breaking down every time it “Raines”.

15 Two Out of Four Ain’t Bad

via pic2.me

While ripping through the gears and shooting well past the 100mph mark in the Los Angeles river basin is certainly a memorable scene, the jump on the Vincent Thomas bridge in downtown Long Beach was the money shot. It took four cars to pull off this scene in order to get the correct footage for the final cut. Of those, only two survived with one being utterly destroyed. Having the ability to go sailing over gridlock traffic is probably a daydream more than a few of us have had at one time or another. Doing so in a car you might be able to sell at a Mecum Auction later on for a million bucks is a whole other thing.

14 Own a brand-new old Shelby…

via drivingline.com

If you’re left out in the dark on the “I want an Eleanor” bidding sweepstakes at the nearest high-dollar auto auction, it might seem like you’re never going to draw a line through the “Own Eleanor” part of your bucket list. However, thanks to the fine folks at Fusion Motorsports, you can own a brand-new old car!

To make these even more exciting, your brand-new old car will cost a fraction of what Mecum collected when they rolled one across the stage in 2013.

The folks at Fusion hunt through the fields, barns and back alleys of America, looking for late 1960s vintage mustang husks they can transform into brand new Eleanors.

13 The Devil in the Details

via maxim.com

Performing a detail on Eleanor after a sale at the Barrett-Jackson auction once took a team of professional car auction detailers over 120 hours. From wet-sanding out the orange peel effect in the paint of the hood and trunk lid (inside and outside), to hand polishing every exposed piece of the 427 cubic inch small block engine (which took nine steps at every level), this wasn’t your ordinary Saturday morning “detail” the local car wash tries to upsell you on for $159.99. But, you can bet that when they were done, this ride looked better than it ever had, or probably has since.

12 AutoBlog on loan

via aolcdn.com

When the gearheads at Classic Recreations called the fine folks at AutoBlog and asked them if they wanted to borrow Eleanor for the weekend, you can bet they said yes.

Then they peeled rubber all the way to pick her up, like a high school boy who just finally landed a date with the cute girl he’d been crushing on since Kindergarten.

The folks at Classic Recreations will gladly let you borrow one also, after you’ve handed over $109,000 so they can take your run of the mill late 60s Mustang and give it the extreme garage makeover of a lifetime.

11 Original Wasn’t a Shelby GT500

via curbside classic

Most people don’t realize that the original Eleanor wasn’t a GT500, but a 1973 Mustang fastback. Thankfully, the folks in charge of the rem-make got Steve Standford and Chip Foose involved and the modern day Eleanor is far better looking. Another thing many may not realize is the original film holds a place in movie making infamy by destroying 93 cars in a 40- plus minute car chase scene. Based on that information, we can see why Burt Reynolds did his best to kill as many Trans Ams as he could while racing away from Jackie Gleason a few years later. Apparently killing cars was a “thing” in the 1970s.

10 Have 1,000 hours to spare?

via conserativedesk.com

While the car can be stolen in under 60 seconds, as detailed in the title of the flick, building one takes a lot more. In fact, it takes over 3,600,000 seconds to build Eleanor, give or take a minute or two.

For those who don’t want to do the math, that’s 1,000 hours, or just under 125 days of hard work.

There’s a special word that describes the level of anger one might achieve knowing you spent 1,000 hours working on something and someone stole it in under 60 seconds. We can’t print that word here… this is a family place, come on.

9 Million Dollar Pony Plus

via digitaltrends.com

When the aforementioned Mecum purchase occurred, rocketing the sticker price of Eleanor to $1,000,000.00, it also set a record for most expensive pony car in the history of the muscle car subgenre. While shelling out a million in cool cash for a car that, odds are you’re never going to drive, seems insane, what came next sounds even crazier. A 1967 Ford Mustang GT500 Super Snake landed a $1.3 million final bid. Why on earth anyone would pay that much for a Mustang is debatable, but the real question is: what do they do to earn that kind of disposable income and where can I apply for the same gig?

8 Build Your Own Grand Theft Auto

via dealeraccelerate.com

Not super satisfied with all the fine details of Chip Foose’s team put in the newest Eleanor incarnation? Well, instead of sitting around dreaming up how you would have done it differently, the fine folks at Fusion Motorsports, (you know, those cats that will build you a brand new old car), have a long list of customized options you can have installed on your very own Eleanor. From six different “stock” paint job choices to five engine variations, three transmission choices, a variety of mechanical exterior and interior choices, complemented by a sea of creature comfort options will ensure this Eleanor is all you.

7 Replicas cost more than the average house

via youtube.com

While it might be a great idea to go turn your beat-up old Mustang into a brand new Eleanor, as with any endeavor you’d be wise to count the cost before diving into it.

CNBC did a piece on Fusion Luxury Motors in Los Angeles and discovered the final products sell for $270,000.

CNBC also reported recently that the average home in the United States sells for $200,000. Conclusion: if you’re ok treating your Eleanor like the tiny house equivalent of an RV, you can cover two major payments with one purchase when you buy your GT500 and decide to live in it.

6 Even the toy versions are expensive

via youtube

If you happen to have a kid in the age range between 5 and 15, chances are you’ve seen a remote-controlled car or two. The basic toy versions tend to sell at places like Target and Walmart for roughly $15-20. That is, unless you have the shell of Eleanor on it, in which case the toy rockets up to $40. Apparently, this version used to be a plain old remote-controlled Mustang that the fine folks at Fusion Motors transformed into a streaking silver screen sensation that all the neighborhood kids are falling over each other to own. Just watch out, because just like the real Eleanor, if you leave it outside this one could be gone in way less than 60 seconds.

5 Car and Driver knew this day would come

via hearstapps.com

The folks at Car & Driver are always on the cutting edge of cool. Even as far back as the late 1960s, when they wrote a piece on the Shelby GT500, anointing it a “supercar!” after exclaiming, “The GT 500 is not a racing car, although but for a few subtle differences its engine is the same as the one that propelled Shelby’s Fords to victory at Le Mans. Seven liters in a Mustang! The early GT 500 engineering prototype was the fastest car ever to lap Ford’s twisty handling loop, except for the GT 40s, of course. And the same car cut a quarter-mile in 13.6 seconds at 106 mph.”

4 Replica builder is really a Camaro guy

via autoweek.com

The guy responsible for putting Fusion Luxury Cars in the LA spotlight while selling scads of late 60s silver Mustangs to anyone with the cash to pay for one is obviously best known as the Eleanor dealer, you may not know he’s actually a Chevy guy.

According to Auto Week, “When Yoel Wazana was in high school in Palmdale, Calif. he had a Camaro Z/28 that did 11.80 in the quarter mile at Palmdale’s L.A. County Raceway.

That may be all you need to know about Yoel Wazana. That resume certainly ticks all of the necessary food groups for a successful childhood, if you ask us.”

3 Simulated Car Chase Scene Damage Now Included

via kinja-img.com

Over at Live and Let Diecast, a site dedicated to die-cast toys, they decided that everyone needed a vintage 1973 Eleanor complete with simulated crash damage.

So, as any enterprising toy enthusiast would do, they cringingly unpackaged a mint condition Mustang and began to damage it in a way that would make Burt Reynolds proud.

While it’s hard to know exactly what the value of an obscure toy from an obscure movie made in the early 1970s really is, placing a price tag on the only “simulated crash damage” version known to anyone who frequents Live and Let Diecast’s website will require far better financials minds than we have writing this entry.

2 Eleanor’s cousin found in a junkyard in Mexico

via fordmustangus.blogspot

While Eleanor might not quite be the most famous Hollywood Mustang of the 1970s (since late 70s sex symbol Farrah Fawcett drove a Mustang Cobra II, odds are that one might be slightly more popular among gearheads of the day), there’s no disputing Steve McQueen’s Bullitt Mustang as the undisputed champion of pop culture Mustang fandom in the 1960s. Sadly, one of the cars driving during the movie by legend Steve McQueen went missing not long after the film wrapped up. As these things go, a man searching for Mustangs he could transform into Eleanors found the missing Bullitt in a junkyard in Baja, Mexico.

1 DIY Retro-Revival

via squir

The folks at American Muscle are doing everything they can to keep the Bullitt and Eleanor Mustangs firmly entrenched in pop culture. They’ve even gone so far as to introduce modernized concept Mustangs based on the original pony cars.

Featuring the sleek styling and modern technology found in contemporary Mustangs, American Muscle wraps them in body kits and paint, stitching, and accent guaranteed to flip the nostalgia switch for anyone reminiscing about the good old days of Pony Wars long gone.

If you jump on over to American Muscle, you might just get a chance to take one of these stallions for a ride, presumably for far less than it costs to buy a new old car.

Sources: autoweek.com, autoblog.com, mecum.com

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