It is perhaps the most iconic Ford Mustang in cinema history, with the green GT from Bullitt being the only real competition.
It is, of course, the 1967 Shelby GT 500 Mustang from the 2000 action movie Gone In 60 Seconds.
The movie itself is a reimagining of the 1974 film of the same name, which also features a Mustang named Eleanor.
But the design-tweaked Shelby version from the Nicolas Cage movie has become an icon unto itself. Eleanor – as she is code named in the movie – became a character in her own right. One vehicle restoration business even started resto-building Eleanor-spec Mustangs that were built to such a high standard they were tagged as genuine Shelby vehicles.
The design changes were minor; largely headlight and body kit treatments. But the vehicle remained instantly recognisable as a Mustang.
The popularity of Eleanor was helped by the fact it wore the GT 500 badge. The 1967 Shelby GT 500 is revered as one of the greatest muscle cars ever produced and the on-screen version displayed power and performance worth of the title, even if the jump over the tow truck was complete BS with poor CGI.
Eleanor feels like a living creature in Gone In 60 Seconds. Cage talks to her, even apologising to her when her mirror is damaged. Her behaviour is somewhat temperamental, giving a sense of life and personality to what is in reality just a machine. She’s a character, not a prop.
Most importantly, the sound guys nailed the old school V8 burble and the full-throttle snarl befitting of a sixties muscle car. Eleanor sounds tough and drives fast, even outrunning a helicopter after a little dose of nitrous oxide. That’s Hollywood for you.
As a car guy who loves old muscle cars, seeing Eleanor getting crushed at the end was a painful sight. Her resurrection shortly after was a welcome relief, despite the state she was in. With Robert Duvall promising to bring her back to her best, even as the credits rolled Up knew she was in good hands. I hoped for a sequel just too see what restored Eleanor would look like.
Whether she was idling while Nicolas Cage looked cool behind the wheel or leading a bunch of cop cars on a merry chase through the docks, Eleanor was the real star of Gone In 60 Seconds. There are lots of cool cars in the movie but none come close to Eleanor.
Hence why whenever I watch the movie I turn on the subwoofer, crank up the volume and let the sound of Eleanor delight me.
She is a cinematic and pop culture icon, known simply by just one name. Instantly recognisable. An aspirational beast.
A great movie car? Great is an understatement. Eleanor is a timeless classic.