Eleanor (automobile)

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1967 Ford Fastback Mustang (customized)
1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT-500 Eleanor.jpg
The 1967 fastback Mustang from the 2000 Gone in 60 Seconds film.
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1964-2014
Body and chassis
Class Pony car/Muscle car
Body style 2-door fastback

"Eleanor" is the star car character as a customized 1971 Ford Mustang Sportsroof (redressed as a 1973[1][2]) for its starring role in independent filmmaker H.B. "Toby" Halicki's 1974 film Gone in 60 Seconds. "Eleanor" is the only Ford Mustang in history to receive star title credit in a movie.[citation needed]

The "Eleanor" reprises her role as a customized 1967 Mustang fastback in the 2000 Gone in 60 Seconds remake.

Eleanor - 1974 film[edit]

1971 (as 1973) Ford Mustang Sportsroof from the 1974 film Gone in Sixty Seconds

Though four Mustangs are portrayed in the film as "Eleanor" targets, only two cars were used for filming the movie, with license plates and tires alternated as necessary. Of these two, one car was modified for the stunt driving necessitated by the final chase and wrecked in said process, while the other was kept intact for all external "beauty shots." The latter car was also used for all but two interior shots.[3]

Prepping 1971 Mustangs for the film[edit]

Both 1971 Mustang Sportsroofs used in the film (neither car carried Mach 1 trim, as often assumed) were bought in 1971, but - as it was three years before Halicki could raise sufficient funds to start filming - each car was facelifted with 1973 grilles for the film. Both cars retain their 1971 front bumper and valance panels, as retrofitting the 1973 parts to the car would have required swapping the fenders as well.[4]

As with the liberties taken with the body modifications, Halicki's paint scheme on both cars were similar - but not identical - to Ford factory offerings. Both cars received blackout treatment to the lower bodyside - resembling Mach 1's and base models equipped with the Decor Group - and a unique blackout treatment to the standard hood not seen on any factory 1971-1973 Mustang. Additionally, neither car wears any identifiable badging spelling the "Mustang" name in type, though the pony badge and "Ford Motor Company" hubcaps are visible in the film.[5]

Despite suggestions that both cars were painted in Ford's Medium Yellow Gold, Halicki - in a 1974 interview - stated that the cars were painted "generic school bus yellow" to save money.[6]

Stunt Eleanor[edit]

The modified car required 250 hours of labor before it was ready for the film.[7] All body panels were removed[8] in order to install a roll cage throughout the Mustang's stock unibody. The transmission was also chained in for safety. An adjustable camera rig was mounted in the back seat to capture footage from the internal “driver's point of view.”

The wrecked Eleanor was equipped with a base interior and no instrumentation package, but utilized seats from the Mustang's deluxe interior package; sourced from the beauty car. Unsurprisingly, the beauty car had deluxe interior, with the standard seats from the stunt car swapped into it.

Other safety modifications included:[9]

  • Heavy duty Simpson shoulder harness
  • Deadbolt door locks
  • Aftermarket hood pins
  • 24-volt electrical system
  • On-board first-aid kit
  • Electrical kill switches
  • Individual locking rear brakes
  • Fish plating of the undercarriage - 3” x 3/8” steel

The interior of the stunt car is seen only once in the film, when Halicki - as Maindrian Pace - places his hands against the windshield when cornered by the Long Beach police. The rollcage is clearly visible against the A-pillar. All other interior shots are executed with the "beauty" car.

Denice Halicki owns the Number 1 Eleanor.

Beauty Eleanor[edit]

The second car was left absolutely stock - as noted by cinematographer Jack Vacek in the film's DVD commentary - and was not modified extensively other than the obligatory matching paint job, grill change, and seat swap with the stunt car.

Though this car was not damaged during filming, Halicki stated (in 1974, at the film's premiere) that the car was crushed.[10]

Additional history[edit]

The stunt car survives to this day,[11] despite two serious incidents during filming:

The first occurred during a stunt wherein "Eleanor" cuts across multiple lanes of freeway traffic. The stunt driver leading the "traffic" overshot his mark during the take, clipping the Mustang and causing it to careen into a nearby light pole. Halicki was rendered unconscious from the impact, but filming resumed the following week - utilizing this accident as part of the final film.[12] Halicki's first words - upon regaining consciousness - were "Did we get coverage?"[13]

Following the incident with the light pole, Halicki compressed multiple vertibrae after performing the impressive 128-foot jump in the closing minutes of the film. The modified Mustang survived, despite the rough nose landing.[14]

Plates worn in the film[edit]

California[edit]

  • 869 FLA
  • 613 HSO (Airport Eleanor)
  • 614 HSO (Hal McClain[15] Eleanor)
  • 359 JRA
  • 820 FUA (Eleanor at car wash)

New York[edit]

  • RMH 100 (Fake plates affixed to car wash Eleanor)


Eleanor Officially Licensed Merchandise[edit]

In 2001 Denice Halicki Officially Licensed Eleanor die-cast cars with Racing Champions.

Denice Halicki Officially Licensed Eleanor die-cast cars with GreenLight Toys to be release this year 2014.

Remake Gone in 60 Seconds 2000[edit]

1967 custom Fastback Mustang Eleanor from the 2000 Gone in Sixty Seconds

In 1995, Denice Shakarian Halicki kept her husband's legacy alive by licensing the remake and producing a 2000 remake of Halicki's original 1974 movie, along with Disney/Touchstone Pictures, and Jerry Bruckheimer. "Eleanor" reprised her role as a 1967 Customized Ford Mustang, appearing with master car thief Randall "Memphis" Raines (Nicolas Cage). The 2000 remake and 1974 films share the same plot about a crew of thieves attempting to steal 48/50 cars and deliver them to the Long Beach docks.

In its opening weekend, Gone in 60 Seconds grossed $25,336,048 from 3,006 US theaters, leading all films that weekend. By the end of the film's theatrical run, it had grossed $101,648,571 domestically and $135,553,728 internationally, comprising a total gross revenue for the film of $237,202,299 worldwide.[16]

Denice Halicki Official Licensed 1967 Eleanor Mustang die-cast with GreenLight Toys that will come out this year (2014).

An 1967 "Eleanor" Mustang sold on May 18, 2013 at Mecum's Indianapolis auction for $1,000,000 USD. Denice Halicki Official Licensed 1967 Eleanor Mustang Limited edition 1:64 die-cast for Mecum Action to be released this year (2014)

Appearances[edit]

After the filming of the movie, "Eleanor" Mustangs have been on display in theater lobbies, car shows, fairs, auto races, and shopping centers, and has been featured on television news shows across the country. The car was included in the "Greatest Cars of the Movies" event at the Petersen Automobile Museum, the "California Classic Car Rally" on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, and "Cars Are the Stars," among others.

Eleanor Copyright Image and Trademark Lawsuits[edit]

The popularity of the 2000 remake Gone in 60 Seconds Movie star car character Eleanor, as a custom 1967 Mustang. A number of car shops started to produce the Copyrighted Character "Eleanor" image & trademark name and Denice Halicki again had to resort to legal action to protect the trademark and the copyrighted Eleanor's image. In 2008, Halicki won a case against Carroll Shelby, who had been selling "Eleanor" using Eleanor's Trademark name and Copyrighted image.[17][18][19]

2008 Appeal court states that remake Eleanor is copyrighted Character and that includes her image.

In 2010 Denice Shakarian Halicki won Eleanor's Trademark Name and Copyrighted Image court judgment CV08-0351(JTLx) against Edward Monfort/Roneale LLC for copyright and trademark infringement the copyrighted Eleanor's character's image. The Eleanor replicas were call Roneale, Eleanor spelled backwards. In the appeal case and this case the courts deemed that Eleanor's image and not just Eleanor's name is protected under the law.

License plate numbers[edit]

California[edit]

  • LYN 274

References[edit]

External links[edit]