Jerry Heasley
August 14, 2003
On the Vegas strip, Rick and Randy, in town for a tile and carpetingconvention, came down from the escalators above our heads when theyheard Eleanor.

On the Las Vegas strip, Eleanor faced rugged competition for looks. Whenwe turned onto Las Vegas Boulevard, in front of us was a red Viper withwhite stripes. The driver, a young man with his hat on backwards, revvedthe V-10 at the light. We only wished we could have been side by side ona strip for racing and not just for casinos--we'd have shown him a realsnake!

To our surprise, the attraction to Eleanor on the strip proved much morethan cosmetic. You light the V-8 and the air crackles. Side exitingexhausts are a trait of big-block Cobras and Trans Am race cars. Two mencame running from the escalators from the walkway surrounding theBellagio Hotel.

"My Charger used to sound like that," Randy Martinson from Tucson toldus. He and his friend Rick were in town for a tile and carpetconvention. That they had chosen our site--or should we say sound--was atestament to the magnetism of a Shelby. Fire up this baby and windowsrattle, the ground shakes, babies cry, people run for their lives.

Fernando Quaintania, Yosu Aranguena, Eugenio Aranguena, and FernandoBosada, all from Mexico City, were quick to pose for a picture withEleanor in Las Vegas.

We were in for more laughs in front of the Bellagio. There, GeorgePappas, the valet parking supervisor, welcomed us with open arms. A20-something, he told us he had rebuilt '65 and '66 Mustangs for his ownuse. He recognized Mustang Monthly--he was one of us.

The Las Vegas strip is a humongous traffic jam, and we had to get offthe strip to find a place to park. As people ambled by, they recognizedthe car. One married couple, not into cars, stopped and deliveredplayful banter.

"It's a Dodge," the husband said.

"No, it's a Mustang," she rolled her eyes.

"Oh yeah, wait. The movie, with Nicolas Cage, where he stole all thosecars."

Eleanor is a pretty picture in the Nevada desert.

Most people identified Eleanor with the movie, not with Shelby, and theydidn't realize Eleanor was based on a GT500. Also, we're willing to betthey didn't know the latest movie was a remake--hotter and faster thanthe original but using the same formula. Several people questioned,"Fast and Furious?"

The funniest comments came from four men from Mexico City who oohed andawed over the silver fastback with black stripes and a bulging hood.

"It's a GTO!" said the first.

"No, a Shelby Cobra," a second man said with certainty.

"Yes, I remember, Gone In 60 Seconds," a third announced.

In front of the Bellagio, Eleanor created quite a stir among tourists.

We got their names--Fernando Quaintania, Yosu Aranguena, EugenioAranguena, and Fernando Bosada--as they posed for a picture with the"E."

"What do you think?" we asked.

Bosada was serious: "It is a car that all the men, we want to have."

Yosu cautioned, "Oh, it's a beautiful car. But you couldn't have thiscar in Mexico City because, uh, too dangerous. You can't drive this onthe street. You're going to be having lots of criminals behind you."

Our cruiser Shelby GT500E was powered by the base 325hp 302, but aperformance package is available with a stroker small-block with over400 hp. The Super Snake version adds a supercharged 427 with 750 hp.

Quaintania kept it simple: "I want it." Next, Sherman Davis from Bostonadmitted he drove a Porsche Boxster, but he liked the "nice lines" ofEleanor and thought the car "could be European." When he said, "I wishit was European," his friend Justin Grosfelt joked, "I wish it wasmine."

Apparently, Eleanor is back-ordered at this writing. The success isphenomenal. Our friend Owen Kelly spoke with Bobby Mikus while we talkedwith the people passing by on the strip. He learned Kobe Bryant of theLos Angeles Lakers has ordered a car, as have two members of the DenverAvalanche.

The Eleanor GT500E is marketed by Sanderson Sales. For more information,contact them at: 400 Chisholm Place, Suite 114, Plano, Texas 75075;972/234-2882; www.sandersonsales.com.