Jeff Ford
March 23, 2003

There has never been, to our knowledge, a movie that stirred as much imagination across the whole Mustang hobby as the 2000 "newmake" of Gone in 60 Seconds. We say newmake because the only likenesses between Gone in Sixty Seconds and Gone in 60 Seconds are these facts: A. In both movies, the characters are car thieves; B. A Mustang is used in the climactic chase scenes of both. Aside from that, the movies bare little else in common. But that chase scene . . . man. That scene made every red-blooded Mustang nut weep for a GT500--and not just any GT500, but that GT500.

Carroll Shelby and Sanderson Sales and Marketing are making the best attempt we've seen in a while to give you the chance to own that car--or one very much like the GT500 that Randall "Memphis" Rains clipped in the movie. The new GT500E (the "E" stands for Eleanor) is based on the GT500 that Nick Cage and the wizards at Cinema Vehicle Services (CVS) made famous--sort of. Actually, the new Eleanor is more like what CVS proposed to New Line before the movie was shot. So lets take a peek at what Sanderson Sales and Marketing and Carroll Shelby have cooked up for you, the buying public.

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Total Control is used extensively on the Performance Upgrade cars.
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The big brakes from the Performance upgrade will carry the Shelby name.
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These wheels from Edelbrock bear a close resemblance to the Schmidt wheels on the movie car.
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Those 100 fastbacks a year have to come from somewhere. We wonder where Unique will get them and what the cost will go to.
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The fuel system will use the same cap as the Series One cars, and unlike the movie cars, the filler will be completely functional.
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The 351, stroked to 392 cubes, is an option on the Performance Upgraded GT500E.
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Base cars will include the same Nitrous Oxide Systems spray kit as the Performance Upgrade cars.
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The interior will feature the unique Shelby seating and deluxe interior appointments as well as a full brace of gauges.
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The prototype rear suspension for the Performance Upgrade package and Super Snake.

Is it Real?
In all respects, this car is real. The specific fiberglass Eleanor parts all hail from CVS, and the car is as real a Shelby as you can get in a modern-day remake. What this means is that, like the '66 convertibles that Shelby built in the '80s, these are continuation cars. The serial numbers will be CSE numbers signed off by Carroll Shelby himself. The numbering for the new Shelby GT500E will begin with 001 and go to 400. Sanderson Sales and Marketing will be the sole sales outlet for these vehicles.So, the serial numbers for the GT500E, be that base or upgraded, will fall in the numeric range stated above, and will appear as follows: CSE-001 through CSE-400. There isn't much more real than that.

What's in a Name?
All the new Shelbys will be GT500Es--even though a carbureted 325 horse 302 will power the base car. Although some may be troubled by Carroll's use of the GT500E name for a car with no standard big-block, we have no problem with this. After all, Carroll himself signed off on it. And just like Shelby has always maintained, "If it's a good car, the name won't matter. And if it's a bad car, the name won't save it." That isn't to say you can't get real big-block power from your Eleanor. You can order it with a 427 if you wish--more on that later.

Totals and Rumors.
Shelby and Sanderson Sales and Marketing plan to produce a maximum of 100 GT500Es a year over the next four years. The Super Snakes will be limited to a 75-model production run period.There is talk of taking the idea of continuation cars into other areas. One that we thought about was a '65 GT350 with updated engine components and suspension.

How Does it Drive?
We had the opportunity to pilot the GT500E prototype car in the vicinity of the Shelby American facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. To say that the beast--this one powered by a 430 horse 351 Windsor, stroked out to 392 cubes--is awesome is an understatement. This powerplant, coupled with the Total Control suspension and the fairly aggressive T56 six-speed gearbox, made the GT500E a strong and capable performer--both in the corners and on a straight-line launch.

Even with the 3.89 posi get-lost gears, the six-speed allows the car to get happy-loose at the rear wheels at any flick of the ankle and keeps it happily tooling along on the interstate. The bellow from the Flowmaster exhaust is enough to melt the heart of any red-blooded American who loves the smell of burning rubber and spent fuel.

Driving the GT500E is also a thrill for the looks it gets. As we left the Shelby American parking lot, we spied several folks craning their necks to take in the snarling animal. As we were using Speedway Boulevard to get acquainted with the Shelby, two track workers at the Las Vegas Speedway nearly cracked up their Chevy work truck watching us. This wasn't the last time we were gawked at by passersby, both automotive and pedestrian.

As we became better acquainted with the car, we felt more like Rains from the movie. This was a dangerous thing to feel behind the wheel of such a Mustang, especially since it didn't belong to us. But then again, the car that "Memphis" drove was one that he pinched from some hapless owner. That feeling of being Mr. Rains does get under your skin, especially when you look down at the Nitrous toggle switch and thumb the "Go Baby Go" button on the shift knob, both of which are functional. While clicking through the gearbox, taking in the stark landscape of the Vegas area, you don't even notice that you're cresting 80 mph on a stretch of federal real estate slated for only 55.

When the minivan with three teenage girls and one adult pulled alongside (after we'd slowed down to the posted limit), we smiled, nailed it, and sprinted away in true "Memphis" fashion. This car may not be a ticket magnet due to its color, but it is a car that, by the very nature of its association, will make you do things--bad things. After some seat time, all we can say is that we want one, and also that, like Memphis, Eleanor will make you think, "I'm a Baaaad man."

The Last Word
What will the future hold for these "new" Shelbys? Only time and finance will tell. For now, though, these have to be the largest and most exciting movie promos we've ever seen. We're still searching for a way to make one of these happen for ourselves. If you're interested in buying into the new legend, give Sanderson Sales and Marketing a call at 972/234-2882.