Thursday, February 23, 2017

AUTOS: London Motor Museum - Eleanor

Sexy Beast She Is! The car that made Nicholas Cage famous, from Gone in 60 Seconds II. (The Tomaso Collection)
The vehicle pictured above may/may not still be on display. As these pictures were taken during last Summer; August, 2016...

Year: 1967
Make: Shelby Mustang
Model: GT-500
Engine: 428-Cid Big-block V-8* (7,051cc; 7.0-liter)
Transmission: 4-Speed Manual (3-speed Automatic optional)
Layout: Front engine/Rear Wheel Drive
Horsepower: 355bhp @5,400 RPM
Top Speed: N/A

The whole Carroll Shelby lore is a complete story in itself, not to mention his automobile production business, beginning with the Cobra and bleeding over to the Ford Mustang, for which 'Ol Shel' was asked to sprinkle his Snake Oil magic upon.

History buffs know that the first Ford Mustang that got the Shelby treatment was the 1965 Fastback, built as the Spartan, bone-jarring GT-350, with no rear seat, occupied instead by a full-size spare tyre! And available only in white, with blue stripes.

As its ultra low production of 562-units was specifically created in order to go road racing, and presumably meet homologation requirements. With an 'Uber rare 34 GT-350R's built for SCCA competition, which they won the B-production title three years in-a-row.

For 1966, the public could not only buy its own GT-350 en masse, but also could rent one at Hertz Rentacar - in what ultimately became known as "Hertz Rent-a-Racers!" As the majority of these featured the optional 3-speed automatic transmission new for that year's models, as the push for "Creature Comforts" would slowly but surely make the Shelby's and their Seester' base Mustangs larger and heavier thru the next several years.

For 1967 not only did the GT-350's production increase, but it's Big-block sibling, the GT-500 was introduce, for which had a 428-Cid V-8 engine shoehorned into its engine bay.

And although Shelby was effectively out of the game in '68, arguably this was the Shelby Mustang's  zenith, as now the model range not only included the GT-350 & GT-500, but the first mass market convertible model arrived along with the ultimate GT-500, the GT-500KR, for King of the Road,.

As who'd Ah-Thunk I-T! That the Ford Mustang, the original "Pony Car" would still be goin' stong a half century later!

While fifty years ago, a lone GT-500 Shelby Mustang had its "Pedestrian" 428-Cid V-8 replaced with one of 'Ol shel's Fire Breathin' Ford GT-40 427-Cid V-8 racing lumps' to create what was called the "Super Snake," for which Carroll Shelby personally pushed up to 170mph during a Goodyear tyre publicity run!

Yep, Y'all have heard I-T here before, and Shirley; DON'T call me Shirley; Hya! Will hear I-T several more times in the future, as where does the time G-O, eh? As I cannot believe it was nearly seventeen years ago that I saw the bigger 'N better second incarnation of Gone In 60 Seconds on the silver screen, as tend to recall that it starts off with a brick being thrown thru a Porsche 911's side window!

Although I'll confess, that when I began this story, I thought it was that irrepressible Alec Baldwin who played the starring role? For which I've since learned was Nicholas Cage instead. Whilst both are reportedly B-I-G' Motorheadz', dabbling in collecting fast, BAD ARSE Rides.

Also was either unawares' or had forgotten" that Chip Foose, who's Overhaulin' Show I watched frequently was the man behind making the movie studio's artistic renderings into mock-up and the actual molds used to create the multiple Eleanor's created for the 2000 Film.

As reputedly, either eleven or twelve chassis were made for the film, with an extra, real running & driving Shelby GT-500 Eleanor built for the movie's producer, Jerry Bruckheimer.

As 'bout the only major issue I had with the movie was Nicholas Cage flipping the top of the shifter handle to reveal a Super Boost Nitro' button, enabling him to make his get away! As that's what I recall...

Whilst naturally the movies success has inspired a whole Eleanor "Cottage Industry," not to mention how many different Eleanor Clones are now lurking the streets?

As it seemed for awhile, when I could actually watch the Barrett-Jackson auction on SPEED. That quite a few Eleanor  recreations from 1967-68 "Plain Jane" Mustang Fastbacks went across the stage...
(Photo Courtesy of Clarity Pictures)