'Going, going, gone!' In 60 seconds?

2012-01-09 07:35

One of the most famous movie cars in the world is to be auctioned at the Autosport International show in Birmingham, England, on Saturday January 14. It could go for as much as £100 000 - about R1.28-million.
The mechanical star of the original 1974 film 'Gone in 60 Seconds' was undoubtedly the 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1 named Eleanor. When the producers of the 2000 remake starring human Nicholas Cage were looking for a car to feature in a wild chase sequence (see video below), another Mustang was the natural choice. To stand out among the exotic sports cars also featured in the movie it had to be something special.

Famed Hot Rod illustrator Steve Stanford was enlisted to create a 1967 Mustang GT500 and former Boyd Coddington designer Chip Foose was hired by the production company to turn Stanford's work into reality.

Working from Stanford’s drawings with Ray Claridge of Cinema Vehicle Services in North Hollywood, wings with new wider wheel arches, a bonnet with a prominent bulge, a deep front valance and side skirts and a spoiler incorporated into the boot lid were designed.

PIAA lights were installed in the nose and tail and a distinctive billet grille was specified. The Schmidt 17x8" wheels that finish off the car's external appearance were sourced while the cabin was kept as a standard Shelby interior with a monster tachometer and a subtle rollover protection hoop.

COMFORT WAGON: 'Eleanor' might be been a hot Mustang but Nicholas Cage deserved to be nicely seated while working.

Twelve cars were built, five of them stunt cars that didn’t survive the filming. The car being sold is one of the very small number that remain.
More specifically, this is one of the three "hero" cars built not just to be functional but also to be used for scenes involving the actors themselves. Designated No.7, this auction car would have been used for driving shots or, with a camera mounted, for dialogue or interior action shots featuring the actors.
According to the supplied copy of the build sheet, in addition to the bodywork modifications, the preparation of this particular 1967 Mustang fastback involved replacing the 289 cubic inch V8 with a 351 cubic inch Ford Racing crate motor fitted with a "big" camshaft and 700cfm Holley four-barrel carburettor.

Total Control Products lowered the suspension and Willwood disc brakes all round with six-piston callipers on the front were added. Though not functional in the movie, the side exhausts were made functional by Cinema Vehicle Services when filming was completed. The Fuel Safe tank is filled through a Mach 1 cap on the C pillar.
'Eleanor' is essentially unchanged today from when she completed her starring role. Instantly recognisable whether a movie aficionado or not, the Mustang is in very good condition overall. The paintwork, metallic grey with black stripes, is in excellent condition. The interior is equally fine with carpets and seats clean and free from significant wear or damage.

GREY CAR BUT... not for the average grey man. 'Eleanor' had a special paint 'n body job for 'Gone in 60 Seconds'.

To say the engine sounds healthy would be an understatement. The side-exit exhausts make a satisfying and potent rumble, which sets hairs on end. As seen in the movie, the switch to arm the nitrous oxide system and "go baby, go" switch on the gear shifter are present and correct.
Chris Routledge MD of auctioneer Coys, said: "We have a reputation for selling some of the most famous movie cars in the world - including the Batmobile. The Eleanor Mustang is one of only two original cars in private hands. We are offering an unrepeatable opportunity to acquire one of the cars that actually appeared in the movie and which will undoubtedly increase in value in years to come."