Own a Brand-New ‘Eleanor’ Mustang From Gone in 60 Seconds for $200,000
Very few cars achieve infamy—by name—through a movie title. Possibly the most famous is the 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 fastback that Nicholas Cage drove in the 2000 movie Gone in 60 Seconds. “Eleanor” was the car Cage’s character coveted and finally nabbed in the story’s big heist.
Cage’s film was a remake of the original Gone in 60 Seconds from 1974. One of the three main cars he used in the movie sold for $1 million at a Mecum Auction in 2013; the other two took roughly $200,000 and $100,000 a few years earlier.
You don’t have to spend a million to get an impressive “Eleanor,” though. Fusion Motor Company, just north of Los Angeles, makes new versions of the old Mustang. I visited the shop last month to drive the brand’s most recent souped-up Eleanor, a pepper gray-and -black fastback with high-back Recaro leather sport seats and a manual five-speed transmission that felt as eager as the one in Cage’s movie. (Six-speed and automatic transmissions are also available.) You might even be able to pull off the same minuteslong car chases and death-defying jumps in this car, too—just don’t come running to me for bail money when you get busted.
What It Is
The bodies are original 1967 and 1968 models that Feldman and his staff find in fields and barns and back alleys; the suspension and chassis are updated at the shop near Los Angeles; all the wiring, welding, fabrication, engine and transmission work, and interior trimming are hand-done in house in L.A. Even the (disconnected) nitrous tank in the trunk of the car is made to exact historical specifications.
“These cars are meant to be driven,” sales manager Steve Feldman told me recently at the shop outside L.A. where the cars are built. The implication was that certain other vintage-look resto-mods are not. This is arguable, considering the fact that several brands—from, say, Superformance and Emory Porsche—make amazing new-old cars that are meant to be driven. But I get his point. “With the improvements that Fusion makes in every manufacturing detail (like the cooling, driveline, powertrain, braking and creature comforts), the Fusion Eleanors are worlds faster, more reliable, and handle much better than traditional fastbacks.”
He declined to specify just how much faster to 60mph these are than the originals; the official speed hasn't been officially tested yet. But expect them to significantly beat the 7-second sprint times the initial ones boasted. (I’m guessing in the low 4-second range.)
You’ll have to go through Fusion if you want anything like this: The company retains the official rights to build and distribute the old Ford Mustang cars specifically named Eleanor, since the name is a copyrighted character (like Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck) owned by the wife of the producer of the original film. Another company had done it previously but faced charges over VIN switching). The base model starts at $190,000 and comes in a handful of bright colors (red, yellow, and blue, among others) and as many personalized details as you want. You can even choose to get it in right-hand drive.
The one I tested cost just over $250,000. It came with a Roush-made 560-horsepower V8 engine, but the base model comes with a 430hp V8. If you pay more money, you can choose to have a supercharged 600hp or 750hp V8 version.
I am not a muscle-car fanatic, but the perfect welding, handsome powder coat, pristine steel, and 17-inch rims coupled on such a handsome fastback roofline would win most skeptics, and I was one of them. And that’s even before I drove it.
How It Drives
There are some modern refinements: Power steering comes standard, as are air conditioning, navigation, power windows, and power locks. You can choose to have an alarm installed, or Bluetooth, or that automatic transmission I mentioned earlier (but that would be sacrilege—don’t even think about it). You can also choose to have little bespoke additions such as personalized engraving or special colors.
“You can be at a car rally full of Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and Aston Martins—but this will be the thing that everyone flocks to,” Feldman said. “It’s different because it has the same amazing spirit of the old car but in a new body.”
I have driven many old and collectable cars; this one drives like the best of them, but more smartly and willingly. On the highway outside L.A., the clutch pushed back on my left foot with “let’s go” insistence as I let it out and pressed down the gas pedal with my right. Feeling the short shifter with the round knob and perfect Mustang gearbox under my control was like entering the 60 Seconds movie myself—and the grinning, rumbling, loud sound from that engine was like a fulfillment of the best American Pony Car fantasy you’ve ever had. The steering here is abrupt in the best sense possible—tight and precise. The brakes are hard and sudden. The whole thing feels solid, the way cars used to before they stopped being large chunks of metal.
I drove Eleanor once, and now I’m convinced any modern ’Stang I drive from here on out will feel diluted, even castrated—as though it’s not the genuine article. I expect you’ll feel the same.
Feldman can get one made every 10 months, and he’ll ship it anywhere from Buenos Aires to Japan. But the wait list is eight months and counting. (He’s only ever made a dozen.) That exclusivity means you’ll probably be the only person in your town to own one.
Expect to get a lot of attention.