Have you ever heard someone refer to a car as an Eleanor car? You might have been wondering what on Earth that person was talking about. However, there's a better than average chance that you knew exactly what they were talking about if you’ve seen either the original or the remake of the movie “Gone in 60 Seconds.” As it turns out, an Eleanor car is a Mustang that was named ‘Eleanor’ in the film. Regardless of which version of the film you are talking about, the car is probably more popular than the lead role, as evidenced by the fact that people are still willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to get one of their own. As it turns out, it's a very interesting story that has a lot of twists and turns, maybe even enough to create a Hollywood story of its own.
The First ‘Eleanor’
The first ‘Eleanor' appeared in the 1974 version of the film. The car itself was a 1971 Mustang GT500 fastback. Ford built relatively few Mustang fastbacks, so that fact alone made the car stand out. As a matter of fact, the car became so popular that it actually ended up being listed in the end credits for the film. Almost immediately, people wanted to get their hands on a car exactly like this, even down to the color of paint. It wasn't easy to do, because there weren't that many cars like this to go around in the first place. Furthermore, a number of modifications had been made to the film car, meaning that people had to make those same modifications if they wanted an exact copy. Believe it or not, this led to a lot of companies cropping up that we're willing to do those modifications. The problem was, not all of them were on the up-and-up and it was almost impossible to tell the ones that were from the ones that weren't.
This time, things were a bit different. Although the car is basically similar in its design, the Mustang used for this version of ‘Eleanor’ was a 1967 Mustang GT. It was still a Fastback, but it was one of only a handful of cars like it that were produced between 1967 and 1968. Again, there were tons of modifications done to the car, all of them by a professional who had a bona fide car customization business. Again, more businesses cropped up that claimed to remake Mustangs from that era to look exactly like the version of ‘Eleanor' that was in the film. Not surprisingly, many of these companies were once again found to be anything but legitimate. In fact, a couple of them were actually raided by American authorities and subsequently shut down after it was discovered that they were placing false VIN numbers on the cars that they were retrofitting. Eventually, the very car that was used in the remake became available for sale. The sale was handled by Chrome Cars, but the sale price was kept discreet. However, it is worth noting that a company called Fusion Cars does custom builds for exactly this type of design and they charge anywhere from $180,000 all the way up to $300,000 per car. Obviously, getting the exact car that was actually used in the film is going to add a great deal of worth, so it wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility to see that price double.
Too Much Drama
As it turns out, there are loads of kits available that supposedly let you build your own ‘Eleanor’ clone from virtually any 1967- era Mustang body, even if you have to marry that body to a modern-day Mustang chassis. However, there also seems to be a lot of drama surrounding these kits and everything else that involves the ‘Eleanor’ name. It wasn't that long ago that a leading YouTube channel which routinely documented building different types of cars had their car taken away from them by authorities because they supposedly infringed on the copyright of the name. That's because they were building an ‘Eleanor’ clone and in their monetized videos, they mentioned that name several times. It wasn't long before they found themselves in hot water with lawyers breathing down their neck. Between that and the fact that so many companies that were supposedly licensed to build these cars have been raided by American authorities, it may be best to have a thorough understanding of what an ‘Eleanor’ car is, yet refrain from owning one, even if you build it yourself.
Unless you happen to be the extremely fortunate individual who ended up with the original car that was in the remake of the film, it may be best to look at pictures of the ‘Eleanor’ car and let it go at that. Of course, nothing is stopping you from getting a 1967 Mustang GT and making a few modifications to it so that it looks more like the car in the film. By the same token, nothing is stopping you from painting it the same color. However, it would be a good idea to refrain from calling it ‘Eleanor' around anybody unless you want to find yourself in your own legal hot water. That's especially true if you decide to document any of your activities. It just goes to prove that there are some things that are better left to the imagination. Despite that fact, there are still plenty of companies making kits for an ‘Eleanor’ clone, something that seems a bit confusing concerning its current legal standing. If you are really dying to have a car like this, it's probably okay to go ahead and purchase the kit, but keep it to yourself as opposed to flaunting that information to anyone and everyone who will listen.
Written by Benjamin Smith
Read more posts by Benjamin Smith