The original Eleanor from the 1974 film Gone In 60 Seconds was not a 1967 Mustang, it was actually a 1973 Mach 1 Mustang. The film had the potential to go down in film history as one of the greatest car-chase movies, but it was overshadowed by a film that had come out in 1968, Bullitt. In 2000, though, a remake came out, and the film started getting the attention it deserved. Although, there was one role in the movie that stole the spotlight: Eleanor.
A number of companies have made Eleanor Mustangs in the past, but they've been hit with lawsuits from Denice Halicki, widow of HB Halicki, the man who created the original and came up with the "Eleanor" idea. In November of 2007, Ms. Halicki gave licensing rights to Classic Recreations, LLC, an Oklahoma-based company with a name that tells you exactly what they do. They've started rolling out new Eleanor's, and the process they go through to maintain the quality of the original car is incredible.
First of all, these cars are expensive, the base 535-horsepower model has an initial starting cost of $139,900 and the 750-horsepower model starts out at $189,000. The process all begins with an original 1967 Fastback Mustang. Depending on the condition of the car, it might be either reshelled with a new body (which is licensed by Ford), it may get a complete overhaul with brand new high-grade steel body panels.
Under the hood is where classic meets modern. The engine is a 410 CID V8 behemoth (the 750 horsepower model is a 427 CID supercharged variant) from Keith Craft mated to a five-speen manual transmission. That engine is hooked up to a Nitrous system, and, just like in the movie, there's button on top of the shifter for "Go, Baby, Go." The speedometer hits 180 mph. Each wheel has a fully adjustable coilover suspension and a responsive rack-and-pinion steering system keeps you connected to the road.
The Eleanor from Classic Recreations strikes a perfect balance: the style and feel of a classic pony car that has been updated with another four decades of engineering knowledge. Is it expensive? You bet, but unlike a brand new luxury sports car with a similar price tag, the Eleanor won't depreciate in value once you drive it off the lot. Each Eleanor takes 3 months to build, and it is constructed entirely by hand. The fact that so few will be on the road, and the car's rabid following, will insure that your investment will never lose value.
Photos courtesy of Classic Reproductions, LLC