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eleanor gone in 60 seconds Flickr: German Medeot
Flickr: German Medeot

Both versions of Gone in 60 Seconds have one thing in common: Eleanor. The muscle car Eleanor is one of the most memorable movie cars in film history. The original film was written and directed by Henry Blight Halicki. Halicki also starred in the film as its protagonist Maindrian Pace. The movie focused on a group of car thieves and their quest to steal a large number of cars in record time.

In the film, Maindrian runs a chop shop in California by day and a car theft ring by night. He is enlisted by a drug lord to steal 48 cars within a small window of time. If he completes the mission he will receive $400,00. The overconfident Pace agrees to the drug lord’s strict terms and begins to plan the operation with his team. They give each vehicle they intend to steal code names when developing a strategy to steal all of the cars. The list included cars from Porsche, Ferrari, Mercedes Benz, Lexus, and more. But, the best of the cars on the list is a 1973 yellow Ford Mustang, code name Eleanor.

The Original Eleanor Mustang

The original Eleanor was a 1971 Ford Mustang made to look like a ’73 Mach 1 using a little Hollywood movie magic. The stunt version of the Mustang took over 10 days to prepare. The vehicle featured a roll cage, shoulder harness, deadbolts for the doors, an on-board first-aid kit, and many other safety features. Multiple versions of the vehicle were built for stunts and close-ups. Henry did his own stunts for the film and boy, were there stunts. One of the most dangerous being a 128-foot jump.

The original Eleanor Mustang still exists today, despite multiple accidents during filming. Henry suffered a concussion and various other injuries while performing the many stunts that made the movie so great. The most famous scenes from the film were all part of the legendary 40-minute car chase. This would become the longest car chase in film history.

Eleanor From the Gone in 60 Seconds Remake

Thanks to Henry’s widow Denice Haliki, Disney was granted the rights to remake the original film after Henry’s passing. The remake starred esteemed actor Nicolas Cage, playing Memphis Raines, and Academy Award winner Angelina Jolie. This time, Eleanor was a manual transmission Mustang Shelby GT500 fastback built by legendary hot rod experts Steve Stanford and Chip Foose. It was silver with a gunmetal interior.

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The 5.8-liter V8 commanded a mind-blowing 400 horsepower. It may not have been the original, but the 2000 remake features a Mustang fastback hero car for the books. In the movie, the car even had nitrous. Mecum Auctions held an auction for the muscle car, pricing it as over half a million dollars in Kissimmee, Florida. Many of the other vehicles featured in the film were made by Cinema Vehicle Services.

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Gone in 60 Seconds is a classic car movie. The remake did the original justice, thanks to an iconic car of its own. If you like stunts, crazy jumps, and expert driving, either version of the film should suffice, but I suggest you watch both. Either way, after any version of this film you’ll want an Eleanor of your own.

WATCH: 6 of the Fastest American Muscle Cars From the ’60s

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