Gone in 60 Seconds (1974) - observations, did Halicki really steal Eleanor, etc

cudak888

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EDIT: See page #2 for pictures and detail breakdowns (plus Eleanor's front end clip and VIN swap!), and page #3 for Ron Moore's damning interview.

I'll post screenshots once I have the time, but after viewing Halicki's film tonight, I have a few observations I'd like to share:

Expanding on some interior comments made in the past:

1. The damaged Eleanor has the standard '71/72/73 Mustang interior, dash and door panels. The standard door panel is visible as Halicki exits the damaged Eleanor at the car wash, and the closeup of the dash on the highway - a standard dash - shows us that the car has no tachometer (and therefore no instrumentation group).

Yet, as the damaged Eleanor exits the car wash - amongst a number of other scenes - we see Clarion Knit seats from a Deluxe interior installed in this car. The "Eleanor Raceway 2000" segment at the end of the film shows that the wrecked Eleanor has Deluxe Clarion Knit seats, but they've been re-upholstered, and not factory correct either: The vertical vinyl accent stripes are black; they should be dark silver (as seen in the film, when visible).

2. The "beauty" Eleanor has a Deluxe interior (deluxe dash bezel, woodgrain center, deluxe door panels), but carries the standard Ruffino/Corinthian Vinyl seats. The standard seats are also seen as Halicki pries the door latch on Eleanor #2.

The closeup of Halicki buckling up at the International Towers shows a bare driveshaft hump paired with the standard seats, indicating that this deluxe interior car was ordered without the full center console.

However, a scene just after the Moran Cadillac segment - plus those at the car wash - show a tachometer in the dash and gauges on the center dash panel. This car has the instrumentation group.

Final conclusiosn?

Wrecked Eleanor is a factory standard-interior car without the instrumentation group, wearing the deluxe seats from Beauty Eleanor.

Beauty Eleanor is a factory deluxe-interior car w/the instrumentation group, wearing the standard seats from Wrecked Eleanor. This car, despite the deluxe interior, was ordered with a shortie console (or had the original removed).

Why were the seats swapped? Who knows. Beauty Eleanor has a pair of aftermarket speakers installed in the interior quarter panels, so I have a hunch that Halicki did not buy these cars new.

-Kurt

 
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JimNiki

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As the film came out in 74, they didn't want the car to look dated, but needed a big block, so used a 71 and made it look like a 73.

 
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cudak888

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The '71-with-a-'73 grille is old news (though Mustang Monthly succeeded in screwing this bit of information up - and despite an email to Mr. Farr prior to leaving MM, nobody fixed it), though we still don't know whether it is a 02 Sportsroof or an 05 Mach 1, nor do we know whether it is a '71, or a '72 with the flip-down cap installed.

Someone from this group should make a beeline for the car the next time that Denise Halicki brings it out for an independent showing of the film. Get the VIN and pull a Marti for once.

As the film came out in 74, they didn't want the car to look dated, but needed a big block, so used a 71 and made it look like a 73.
Not what I've heard. Halicki's poorly written website claims a 351, to which some people have assumed a 351W, and others a 351C. Seeing that Halicki pulled every last thing off of Wrecked Eleanor to build it, anything is possible:

1305-gone-in-60-seconds-h-b-halicki-stripped-sportsroof.jpg


I wouldn't suspect or suppose anything - short of what is obvious in the film - until I see that VIN.

-Kurt

 
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luxstang

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Even so, one would need the VIN off a frame part. I would not assume that the dash pad is original with all this tearing apart and rebuilding.

Just like the seats seem to have been swapped they could easily have mismatched the dash pads. I don't think they really cared about which part belonged to which car when they put them together. .

 

cudak888

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Even so, one would need the VIN off a frame part. I would not assume that the dash pad is original with all this tearing apart and rebuilding.

Just like the seats seem to have been swapped they could easily have mismatched the dash pads. I don't think they really cared about which part belonged to which car when they put them together. .
If they had put them together that sloppily, we wouldn't have seen otherwise correct interiors with only the seats swapped.

Remember, the beauty car really didn't need to be torn apart.

Speaking of which, does anyone have information whether the beauty Eleanor was sold off in Denise Halicki's auction, or was it kept with the wrecked Eleanor (which is noted in multiple interviews as still in her possession)?

-Kurt

 
K

Kit Sullivan

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I knew Toby somewhat, having met him in '74 at a premier for the movie, and had business dealings with him in the late 80's.

Straight from the horses mouth: "Eleanor" was in fact 2 separate vehicles. Both used 71's with 351 Clevelands bought used prior to production of the movie. Each was completely dissassembled and rebuilt by him and his body shop employees with his own design full-perimeter roll-cages.

The suspension was beefed up as much as possible and supplementary leaf-springs were installed in the front on one for anticipated jumps.

They were both fitted with 73 grilles to make them seem more current as filming started. The paint ciolor used was generic school-bus yellow...not any numbers-correct Ford color

The jump car was destroyed in the jump and sent to the junk yard. The remaining car was stitched and band-aided together to travel the country and make personal appearances with Halicki (where I met him originally)

That car has been hastily and cheaply repaired several times over the years just to keep it running.

 

cudak888

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I knew Toby somewhat, having met him in '74 at a premier for the movie, and had business dealings with him in the late 80's.

Straight from the horses mouth: "Eleanor" was in fact 2 separate vehicles. Both used 71's with 351 Clevelands bought used prior to production of the movie. Each was completely dissassembled and rebuilt by him and his body shop employees with his own design full-perimeter roll-cages.

The suspension was beefed up as much as possible and supplementary leaf-springs were installed in the front on one for anticipated jumps.

They were both fitted with 73 grilles to make them seem more current as filming started. The paint ciolor used was generic school-bus yellow...not any numbers-correct Ford color

The jump car was destroyed in the jump and sent to the junk yard. The remaining car was stitched and band-aided together to travel the country and make personal appearances with Halicki (where I met him originally)
Well, that explains it - though it must have been quite a bit of work to wreck the panels on the other car to match - though I dare say those fenders did get swapped.

Mind if I reference this bit of info on the Internet Movie Car Database? It's the first hard evidence to prove that only one Eleanor exists.

-Kurt

P.S.: All the more reason to go ahead with a Eleanor replica out of that '72 Q-code. Nobody else has ever done it right.

 
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Kit Sullivan

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There might be only one official "Elanor' today, but there were tow used for filming.

Toby accidentally hit a telephone pole and mangled the front fender and drivers suspension while exiting the Hollywood freeway during filming. The car was severely damaged and undriveable. The other car was brought in immediately on the spot and beat by hand with various sledgehammers and such to replicate the damage shown on the first car, and filming resumed almost immediately.

The first damaged car was used in the drive up to the car wash, and was repaired enough to film the jump. It eventually went to the junk yard.

 

mjlan

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In the picture of him standing in the car, it looks like two cars have been grafted together just aft of the shock towers. It looks like a weld goes all the way around.

I think I remember reading some where that most of the cars in the movie (not just the Mustangs) were rebuilt wrecks as that was his business?

 
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Kit Sullivan

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He spent a couple of years acquiring cars to use in the production. He owned a salvage yard in Downey along with his cousin. They were both millionaires in thir early twenties. Between the salvage yard and local wholesale outlets he bought about a hundred various vehhcles to use as fodder for the film.

His business was always under investigatioin by the state, suspicious that it was a front for a chop-shop/ stolen vehicle business. Some feel the plot of the movie was him thumbing his nose at authorities.

His family owned salvage yards back in upstate New York, and there are stories of them being involved in illicit stuff for many years prior to this.

Who knows? he's dead...his goober wife/ widow basically has little clue how to retain the value of his remaining legacy. she was taken advantage of and lost the rights to much of the stuff she should not have.

I lost all my little-remaining repsect for Carroll Shelby when he sued for the right to own the name "Eleanor", even though that name never had ANYTHING to do with any car or image HE created.

The producers of the remake decided a "plain" Mustang would not fare well against the exotica they had planned on having in the movie, so they wanted to "update" the story to have it be a Shelby.

They then decided even an authentic Shelby GT500 would not look "tough" enough, so Shit Foose (Sorry, Chip Foose) was hired to "improve" the looks of it.

Nice car, looked great on film. Total fantasy though...that version never existed in reality.

Shelby says, "Who cares?". Started making "official" replicas of a car that never actually existed and designed by a guy he never met...with Sanderson down in Texas. (remember, Carroll Shelby never had ANYTHING to do with the name "Eleanor" or the original movie)

Somewhow, Denice Halicki LOST! How could she have lost the battle to keep the intellectual property that was 100% hers?

Oh well...I like the original movie much better. Too bad the new "improved" and remastered DVD replaced the ENTIRE soundtrack with all new effects, including the car and all engine sounds. Luckily I have the original DVD also.

 

mjlan

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That would be great if that was true about the plot....

Don't get me started on CS.

 

hyena429

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I feel like some one just scratched a chalk board every time i hear the name Eleanor name now days..Thanks to Caroll everyone calls there mustang Eleanor..lol

 

cudak888

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In the picture of him standing in the car, it looks like two cars have been grafted together just aft of the shock towers. It looks like a weld goes all the way around.
It looks like a front clip/shock tower replacement that only went up to the rear aprons, or preliminary reinforcement.

Either that...or the stories about Halicki's business were less fiction than truth, and he's replaced the entire front clip in order to change the shock tower VIN numbers in the process! Was Eleanor made out of a real stolen car? Or was it just another exercise by Halicki to piss off the authorities?

Notice that the forward aprons and both shock towers don't have the same uniform surface rust and dust as the rest of the shell.*

Makes you wonder.

All things considered, it wouldn't surprise me at all if someone were to tell me that he DID steal the Mustangs for the film. That front clip replacement reeks of an illegal VIN swap to me - regardless of how long ago it happened. Think about it. If someone were to post photos tomorrow of an identical "repair" on a potential '71-73 purchase, we'd all be screaming "stolen car with shock tower swap."

I call shenanigans here.

*Speaking of which, isn't that steering wheel down to a frame? Between that and the odd surface rust, I'm beginning to wonder if Halicki bought that unibody as a salvage car from a fire.

Toby accidentally hit a telephone pole and mangled the front fender and drivers suspension while exiting the Hollywood freeway during filming. The car was severely damaged and undriveable. The other car was brought in immediately on the spot and beat by hand with various sledgehammers and such to replicate the damage shown on the first car, and filming resumed almost immediately.

The first damaged car was used in the drive up to the car wash, and was repaired enough to film the jump. It eventually went to the junk yard.
NOTE: I have significantly edited my comment below (as of 5/2) due to a re-watch of the film.

Kit, I do not buy Halicki's story for one minute. Consider the logical flow of events as follows:

  1. In exactly ONE scene, both cars are seen at the car wash in their polar opposite forms. One mint, one wrecked.
  2. The wrecked car in said scene has the requisite LH fender damage from its encounter with the telephone pole.
  3. To have one car wrecked in that manner would have required the telephone pole encounter (and every other crash) to have already happened.
  4. Given #4, it would have been impossible for Halicki to wreck the second car for the telephone pole crash and resume filming immediately, unless he shot the car wash scenes beforehand.
  5. Yet, there is no way he shot the car wash scenes beforehand, because the wrecked Eleanor shows ALL of the damage it received from the pole and the film. Unless this guy was clairvoyant, it is impossible.

Additionally, the front end and LH quarter damage on the car that spins out on the highway is a virtually perfect match for the car that drives away from the pole.

However, the one shot of the car from the left (just after hitting the pole) does show more RH quarter damage than it had when it spun out - but the rest of the car appears the same.

The following sounds more probable:

  • The car hitting the pole is the same as the one leaving.
  • Some additional scenes were shot with this car (after repairing it) before the crew returned to the off-ramp to capture the remaining, post-crash insert shots.
  • ^ Hence the additional RH quarter damage.


Even though I don't quite trust anything from a Halicki anymore, Mustang Monthly's interview with Denice Halicki and Michael Leone correlates this theory:

Michael: When he hit the telephone pole' date=' he had to load Eleanor on a truck and take the pole too because they needed it for the next frame. They came back the next Sunday, dropped the pole off in its spot, and started filming again. They had to take the pole because if they didn't, the city would pick it up and they wouldn't be able to shoot the next scene.[/quote']
Given the time needed to film - and Halicki's penchant for using Sundays as a method to close off large roadways to himself without permits, this version of the story isn't too far fetched - and it doesn't have the issue of temporal paradox.

Oh well...I like the original movie much better. Too bad the new "improved" and remastered DVD replaced the ENTIRE soundtrack with all new effects, including the car and all engine sounds. Luckily I have the original DVD also.
From what I've heard, Phillip Kachaturian's original master for the "Gone in 60 Seconds" instrumental track was missing; hence the entire music replacement. Others say that Halicki's brother had a hand in writing some of the tracks and won't release the rights, etc, etc...

As with most stuff Halicki, the truth is lost somewhere between fact, fiction, and a bit of both on the side.

Any decent LA movie soundtrack company could have executed an accurate recreation/cover using period microphones to make up for the loss of the original. Makes you wonder why they didn't.

-Kurt

P.S.: The Deluxe-interior car started out as a manual-trans car. Watch as Halicki floors it to bash through the "ROAD CLOSED" barriers. Deluxe floor mat, narrow brake pedal, and a big void where the clutch pedal once was. Amusing, to say the least.
 
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cudak888

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Since I didn't mention it above, let me add my theory about why the beauty car disappeared:

Someone probably came too close to discovering that Halicki DID steal it and swap the front clip and dash VIN's; so Halicki let the "fairy godmother" take care of Eleanor the same way as Jill (The "000 GAL" Challenger from the start of the film) - dump the car into the shredder at the scrapyard.

-Kurt

 
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Kit Sullivan

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I think the pristine Eleanor shown at the car wash was a third car used only for the closing scenes of the movie, filmed long after Toby got out of the hospital and well enough to complete the film.

 

marks73

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I think the pristine Eleanor shown at the car wash was a third car used only for the closing scenes of the movie, filmed long after Toby got out of the hospital and well enough to complete the film.
So Kit, Who really killed Kennedy?

 
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Kit Sullivan

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Just a hypothesis based on a couple of conversations with him, thats all.

And Kennedy was shot by Lee harvey Oswald, but killed by George Hickey.

 
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