“Eleanor,” the custom Mustang from the 2000 remake of Gone in 60 Seconds, has comfortably overshadowed the popularity of the actual movie. Something about the gray 1967 GT500 seems to work, making it an instant classic with many, many imitators. Gone in 60 Seconds creator H. B. Halicki’s widow Denice Shakarian Halicki has fought such projects, once going as far as to
shut down individual builds in progress. One of the more famous “Eleanor” lawsuits involved Carroll Shelby, whose Shelby American was involved in creating the original 1967 GT500s that the modern “Eleanor” was built around. That lawsuit, finally, has been decided in the Shelby Trust’s favor.
According to a press release from the Shelby Trust, Halicki’s case was based around the concept that “Eleanor” was a character in its own right, one with defined traits reflected across multiple movies that would make any build inspired by the car a commercial copy of the character. The courts disagreed, calling those characterizations “an invention of overzealous advocacy.” It ends a saga that has extended long past the legacy of the remake itself, a Nicolas Cage vehicle that by complicated accounting practices is considered to have lost $212 million.
This greatly opens up the Shelby Trust’s freedom to license GT500-style cars resembling the “Eleanor” build. Shelby Trust trustee Neil Cummings says the company “can finally tell all our important licensees and Shelby GT 500 owners that Mrs. Halicki has absolutely no right to complain about or file a lawsuit based upon the looks of any car licensed by the Shelby Trust,” eliminating a longstanding legal concern.
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