John Pearley Huffman
November 14, 2000
Photos By: Randy Lorentzen

Whatever its merits as a film, last summer's Gone In Sixty Seconds wasrequired viewing for Mustang lovers. After all, it's not often thatHollywood makes a movie starring a car, much less a Mustang. And theMustang in Gone was definitely the star. What's with that Mustang? Andthe movie? Those are questions substantial enough to build a story upon.And despite the fact that not everything makes sense in the movie (suchas hitting the nitrous when the engine is already turning 7,000 rpm), weknow you're going to buy the video.

The Movie

While the 2000 version of Gone In Sixty Seconds is obviously inspired by1974's Gone In 60 Seconds, it's really not a remake. Although bothtitles are pronounced the same, technically, they're not identicalbecause the title of the newer movie spells out the word sixty and theold title uses the number (even though the poster for the new movie usesthe number). That's not bad, though, since (except for the 40-minutechase within its 97-minute running time) the first movie was practicallyincomprehensible. "The major appeal of Gone In 60 Seconds--and it isconsiderable--is that it is a genuine primitive work of art," says theLos Angeles Times, upon the original's release.

Art or not, the idea for the remake germinated at Disney and wound up inthe hands of producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Bruckheimer produced Flashdance(probably not a top pick for the guys in the audience), Top Gun, andDays of Thunder with his late partner, Don Simpson, and such recent hitsas Armageddon, The Rock, and Con Air on his own. With a script fromScott Rosenberg, who penned Con Air, Bruckheimer recruited Nicolas Cageto star and TV commercial director Dominic Sena to direct. Throw in asupporting cast that included Oscar winners Robert Duvall and AngelinaJolie and hopefully the result would be a hit.

The story is similar to the original in that a group of car thievesneeds to steal 50 cars in a 24-hour period. The makers of the new moviethrew in a threat to the life of lead character Memphis Raines' (Cage)brother, Kip (Giovanni Ribisi), to add some emotional wallop to thefilm, but people were going to see this movie based on the quality ofthe action. And the action would include a big car chase featuring, asin the original movie, a Mustang named Eleanor.

Creating Eleanor

When the movie started production, Eleanor wasn't necessarily going tobe a Mustang at all. "We really wanted to see a GT40 blowing throughdowntown L.A., flying down the L.A. River, doing all that [expletivedeleted]," says production designer Jeff Mann. But even for a movie thatcost a reported $90 million to make, a fleet of GT40s was prohibitivelyexpensive. So it was back to Mustangs.

"We were looking at a '67 GT500. It's a bitchin' car, no doubt,"continues Mann, "but does it really stack up against these othervehicles?" This is a pertinent concern in a film that would beoverstuffed with Ferraris. "In the context of all these other cars, it'snot necessarily going to be the hottest thing going down the road (Thatdepends on who you are--Ed.). That's when Jerry kind of opened the doorsfor me to come up with a variation on it . . . ." Building thatvariation that didn't suck started with famed Hot Rod illustrator SteveStanford, who drew up an illustration of an over-the-top '67 GT500.

Former Boyd Coddington designer Chip Foose was hired by the productioncompany to turn Stanford's work into a reality. Foose fitted the carwith PIAA lights in both the nose and rear backup areas. He alsoprototyped the hood, the front valance, the side skirts, the scoops, andother fiberglass parts that would be used for the car. That billetgrille is based on aftermarket pieces originally developed for ChevyAstro vans and Foose found the Schmidt 17x8-inch wheels that would besheathed in P245/40ZR17 Goodyear Eagle F1 tires.

Neither the side-exit exhausts nor the C-pillar-mounted fuel fillers('71 Mach fuel doors) were functional on the cars seen in the movie.Why? First, because actually making the side exhausts work is tough,considering how the '67 Mustang is built. And second, because theydidn't need to be functional.

173_0011_1s 1967_Ford_Mustang_GT500 Passenger_Side0173_0011_17z 1967_Ford_Mustang_GT500 Front_Driver_Side173_0011_4z 1967_Ford_Mustang_GT500 Rear_Driver_Side
Eleven Eleanors were used in the making of the film. This one was piecedtogether after the movie's completion for photography purposes. Thoughit looks good, it's one used-up '67 Mustang.
173_0011_8z 1967_Ford_Mustang_GT500 Front_Passenger_Side
Although it's supposed to be the roughest in the film, this Mustang wasprobably the nicest in real life. It was presented as a gift from thecharacter Kip in the movie to his brother Memphis.
173_0011_9z 1967_Ford_Mustang_GT500 Engine
Though it's covered in dust, the engine in Kip's gift Mustang was themost powerful (a Ford Motorsport 351 crate motor) of all the motors inthe other Eleanors.
173_0011_10z 1967_Ford_Mustang_GT500 Interior
The interior of the gift Mustang may look wasted, but it's supposed tolook that way. Note that the doorjambs have been painted silver,indicating that they painted over a paint job, like all the otherEleanors.
173_0011_6z 1967_Ford_Mustang_GT500 Fuel_Cell
For stunt work, some of the cars were fitted with low-capacity,high-safety fuel cells. Note the battery mounted into a box for betterweight distribution.