How Much For a 1967 Eleanor Mustang? - Muscle Car

How Much For a 1967 Eleanor Mustang?

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Written by Elise

16th December 2020

How Much For a 1967 Eleanor Mustang?
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How Much For a 1967 Eleanor Mustang?

By Niamh Smith

Reasons Behind The Madness

There are not many movie cars as coveted and sought after as an Eleanor Ford Mustang, especially a 1967 Mustang fastback. It is one of the most famous and recognisable cars in cinematic history to muscle car fans all over the globe, and because of this cult fame, you can even now buy licensed replicas for a high price tag (more on Eleanor’s controversial replica and licensing history later!). 

Eleanors have collectors shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars for a rare genuine example and even for replicas. So, what are the reasons behind these extortionate prices? What makes Eleanor Mustangs such a ‘unicorn’ piece? First, like Odyssey, we’re going to zip up our boots and go back to her roots.

The Original Eleanor Mustang

Eleanor’s first incarnation (and lesser well-known of the pair) was in the 1974 film Gone in 60 Seconds, directed by car-guy and stuntman HB Halicki, also known as the Car-Crash King. The film features a record-holding car chase scene that lasts over half an hour, with one car used throughout the entire chase, despite numerous crashes and jumps.

Enter Eleanor. Known by some as the hardest Mustang ever built, it was a yellow and black 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1, redressed as a 1973 Mustang (the Mustangs were originally acquired by Halicki in 1971 but the filming didn’t commence until 1973). Halicki built the car himself with a highly modified 351ci Windsor V8, and made it strong enough to withstand numerous stunts throughout the film. 

Despite Halicki’s untimely death during a stunt during the filming of Gone in 60 Seconds 2 in 1989, amazingly the original Eleanor still exists and is owned by his widow, Denice. She also happens to own all the licensing rights to the name Eleanor (which is where things get juicy, but I’ll keep you hanging for a moment).

The Eleanor Mustang is so iconic, she even received a star title credit at the end of the film; this personification, in turn, makes her a fully licensed character.

The Eleanor Mustang’s Musclier, Older Sister

The 2000 film Gone in 60 Seconds, featuring Nicholas Cage and Angelina Jolie, features the famed 1967 Ford Mustang fastback Eleanor. In Dupont Pepper Grey, she is depicted as a 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and boasts a customised body kit designed by legendary hot rod builders Steve Stanford and Chip Foose (of Overhaulin’ fame). With the bubble hood and dramatic aerodynamic elements, this Eleanor Mustang has the most iconic and muscular look out of the pair, perhaps making it the more well-known incarnation of Eleanor. 

Depending on the source, eleven or twelve Eleanor Mustangs were built for the film by Cinema Vehicle Services, of which it is believed 9 were shells and 3 were fully functioning. 7 are said to have survived the film, and since its release 3 confirmed genuine cars have been offered for sale to the public. 

One sold at auction in 2009 for $219,700, another sold at auction in 2012 (interestingly in Birmingham, UK) for £95,000. This same Eleanor Mustang was offered at a Mecum auction in 2014, but did not meet the auction reserve of $380,000. The last one sold at another Mecum auction in 2013 for an insane $1,000,000. 

Licensed Eleanor Mustang Reproductions 

Between 2007 and 2009, Classic Recreations manufactured reproduction Eleanor cars under license by Halicki Films/ Eleanor Licensing LLC. However, after two years, Classic Recreations terminated the licensing contract.

Nowadays, Fusion Motor Co has been granted permission by Denice Halicki to produce 1967 Eleanor Mustang replicas. These Mustang replicas are constructed from original ‘67 and ‘68 Ford Mustangs with VIN numbers authenticated by the California Highway Patrol. 

Starting from a mere $250,000 (detect the sarcasm?), your money will buy you a car built with a custom carbon fibre body kit, 5 options of Roush V8 motors ranging in output from 430hp to 750hp, and a host of body colour options. They even come with a Nitrous Oxide canister in the boot that is hooked up to a gear shift button emblazoned with the signature ‘Go Baby Go’. 

If deployed, however, this nullifies the Roush warranty. I’m not a particularly NOS kinda person (as they say, bottles are for babies) but if I had spent upwards of $250,000 on a practically brand new Mustang, you can bet your boots I’d be pressing that button and praying the engine doesn’t obliterate itself!

The Juicy Bit: Licensing Drama

Since the 2000 Gone in 60 Seconds film, Denice Halicki has pursued a number of lawsuits against anyone who attempts copyright infringement over the licensed Eleanor Mustang character. Because Eleanor has been 2 different types of Mustangs (‘71/’73 and ‘67), the Eleanor copyright now encompasses ANY Mustang model that is being called Eleanor.

Earlier this year, a YouTube channel called ‘B for Build’ was documenting an eagerly anticipated restomod build of a Mustang which used a ‘67 Mustang body on a 2013 Mustang chassis. They had the misfortune to call it Eleanor, and Eleanor Licensing LLC seized their unfinished Mustang and ordered them to take down all the videos and documentation of the build due to claims of copyright infringement. 

The controversial seizing of the car has faced a huge backlash from the classic car community and YouTubers alike, leaving many questions unanswered. Does Denice Halicki have a compound somewhere full of half-built Mustangs? That is going to be one interesting episode of Storage Wars.

How many Herbie Beetles, Mystery Machine T25s, General Lee Dodge Chargers and Back To the Future Deloreans do you see out and about? 

As pointed out in a Doughnut Media video on YouTube, because the Back To the Future Delorean was never given a name (simply being referred to as the Delorean or the ‘time machine’) it never became a character. Universal has actually used the amount of time machine Deloreans that have been built to their advantage, promoting the Back To the Future franchise even more. 

It seems Denice Helicki and Eleanor Licensing LLC doesn’t discriminate on who they sue, however, even taking legal action against the legendary racing driver and car builder Carroll Shelby in 2014. It seems developing the Shelby GT500 Eleanor (the very make that the 2000 Eleanor was based on) wasn’t enough to protect him from the wrath of LLC! 

Eleanor Licensing LLC attempted to sue Shelby American for copyright infringement due to the manufacturing and marketing copies of the ‘67 Eleanor Shelby Mustang, and the promotion of the sale of three priced between $90,000 and $150,000. 

So, Is It Worth Owning an Eleanor Mustang?

If we ignore the fact that the three genuine Eleanor Mustangs are only going to pop up for sale a handful of times in our lifetimes, let alone in the UK, if you’re a serious collector and have big money to spend and maintain them, then yes, they make a great investment, all the while fetching a cool million bucks. If you’re not, you’re better off leaving it to the big guns.

As such a rare car, their value is only going to go up. It may be worth, therefore, investing in a replica Eleanor, or have fun getting creative and modifying another Mustang model to make it look like an Eleanor. This exclusivity is part of what gives Eleanor its mysticism and legendary status as a mythical beast, a unicorn. 

If you can’t wait that long, however, Muscle Car UK have in stock some iconic 1967 model year that the Eleanor Mustangs are based on.

Author: Niamh Smith

Muscle Car UK and Pilgrim Motorsports are leading UK classic car specialists for sports cars. We build, service and upgrade all classic cars, specialising in Mustangs, V8 engines, Carroll Shelby Cobras and Corvettes.

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