Eleanor Mustang: New Eleanors Could Be Coming After Shelby Wins Lawsuit

The name “Eleanor” means something to fans of the Ford Mustang and films alike, especially with regards to a 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and a 1973 Ford Mustang. However, for years, the name was the subject of a series of lawsuits and legal actions, preventing Shelby from playing with the famous moniker. However, the Shelby Estate recently won the copyright lawsuit against Denice Halicki, meaning we could see Eleanor-style GT500s, Shelby Mustangs, or other vehicles in the near future. 

Is the Eleanor Mustang a Shelby?

The “Eleanor” Mustang that most car enthusiasts are familiar with is the 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 from the 2000 film Gone in 60 Seconds. In the movie, notorious car thief Randall “Memphis” Raines, played by Nicolas Cage, has just one car he can’t seem to steal without some cosmic issue intervening. That car is the so-called Eleanor Mustang, the Shelby GT500. However, the Eleanor from the original 1974 film by the same name was not a gray GT500 but rather a yellow 1973 Mustang Fastback. 

The 1967 Ford Mustang from Gone in 60 Seconds is one of the Eleanor Mustang namesakes that Denice Halicki fought Shelby with a lawsuit over.
1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 | Dean Mouhtaropoulos, Getty Images

However, Eleanor served as more than just a mythical Hollywood name for a Mustang; it was a valuable commodity for the widow of H.B. Halicki, the director and stunt driver from the original 1974 film. His widow, Denice Halicki, armed with her media outfit, “Eleanor Licensing LLC,” has engaged in many legal battles over the years. Moreover, Halicki asserted that Eleanor was more than a car; she claimed it was a movie character to which she had a claim. The most recent lawsuit over the namesake took Halicki’s claim to the Eleanor Mustang back up against Shelby. 

Who owns the rights to Eleanor Mustang?

While Halicki owned the rights for many years, the latest lawsuit changes that. Specifically, the Shelby Estate won the most recent copyright lawsuit. Car and Driver says that the Shelby Trust’s “ability to produce ‘Eleanor’-like Mustangs has opened up significantly.” That means we could see a tribute Mustang on the upcoming S650 platform. A special edition could be akin to Ford’s three generations of Bullitt Mustangs, which pay homage to the 1968 film Bullitt and its immortal dark green Ford Mustang GT390. 

Moreover, Shelby American told Ford Authority that “the true value of all Shelby GT500s is now secure with this news.” The decision might change some allowances for licensed reproductions of the Eleanor Mustang. No matter the impact, we’re excited to see what Shelby does with the namesake. 

What kind of car was in Gone in 60 Seconds?

The 1974 and 2000 versions of Gone in 60 Seconds feature a Ford Mustang. Specifically, the 1974 film starred a 1973 Ford Mustang Fastback, and the 2000 film showcased a gray and black 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. Both cars carried the Eleanor name, but the 1973 Fastback had much more screen time than the GT500. In addition to the GT500, the 2000 film involved dozens of cars, from a pack of Ferraris to a purple Lamborghini Diablo.  

A Lamborghini Diablo is a car that channels Halicki's original film akin to the 1967 Ford Mustang Eleanor.
Angelina Jolie and Nicolas Cage with a Lamborghini Diablo | Buena Vista, Getty Images
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How much is an Eleanor Mustang?

Eleanor Mustangs aren’t cheap. For instance, Hagerty says a 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 in good condition has a value of around $175,000. However, a 1973 Ford Mustang could be a much cheaper get; the 302-equipped coupe in good condition has an average value of about $13,800. After all, one is a sculpted Shelby, and the other is a big-body Mustang from the era of the first oil crisis. 

Which Eleanor Mustang is your favorite? Tell us below with a comment!