Eleanor (automobile)

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1973 Ford Mustang "Eleanor"
Original 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Eleanor.jpg
Original 1971 Mustang Sportsroof (restyled as 1973) Eleanor from the original 1974 film Gone in 60 Seconds
Overview
ManufacturerFord Motor Company
Production1964-2014
Body and chassis
ClassPony car/Muscle car
Body style2-door fastback
 
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1973 Ford Mustang "Eleanor"
Original 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Eleanor.jpg
Original 1971 Mustang Sportsroof (restyled as 1973) Eleanor from the original 1974 film Gone in 60 Seconds
Overview
ManufacturerFord Motor Company
Production1964-2014
Body and chassis
ClassPony car/Muscle car
Body style2-door fastback

"Eleanor" is the trademarked name given to a 1971 Ford Mustang Sportsroof (redressed as a 1973[1][2]) for its 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.

The "Eleanor" name is also shared with the customized 1967 Mustang fastback in the 2000 Gone in 60 Seconds remake.

Eleanor - 1974 film[edit]

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 the other was used for all external "beauty shots" and for some scenes requiring an onboard camera rig.

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 new 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.[3]

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.[4]

Stunt Eleanor[edit]

The modified car required 250 hours of labor before it was ready for the film.[5] All body panels were removed[6] 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.”

Other safety modifications included:[7]

Additional history[edit]

The stunt car survives to this day,[8] 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.[9] Halicki's first words - upon regaining consciousness - were "Did we get coverage?"[10]

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.[11]

Plates worn in the film[edit]

California[edit]

New York[edit]

Eleanor - 2000 film[edit]

1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 Eleanor from the 2000 Gone in Sixty Seconds

In 1995, Denice Halicki licensed the remake rights of the 1974 film with Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer to produce an eponymous 2000 remake. Both films share plot similarities about a crew of thieves' order to steal 48/50 cars and deliver them to the Long Beach docks. Once again, the "Eleanor" name applies to the featured car, now a pewter 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 with a customized body kit.

The second film revived popularity, including the production of "Eleanor" replicas by various custom shops.

One of the actual "Eleanor" Mustangs from the 2000 film sold on May 18, 2013 at Mecum's Indianapolis auction for $1,000,000 USD.

Appearances[edit]

After the filming of the movie, "Eleanor" has 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.

Toys, models, and die-cast replicas of "Eleanor" have been produced, notably by Racing Champions ERTL and Playing Mantis Johnny Lightning.

Legacy[edit]

The one-of-kind custom 1967 Mustang Fastback from the 2000 film remake was cited in Hot Rod magazine's February 2009 issue as one of 100 most influential vehicles in the history of hot rodding, as it commanded non-car people's attention and inspired the building of numerous replicas.[12]


License plate numbers[edit]

California[edit]

New York[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]