With all due respect to movie cars, they can be both a blessing and a curse to their real-life counterparts, and the Eleanor Mustang is a perfect example. The star car of the 2000 remake of Gone in 60 Seconds, a '67 Mustang, became an instant phenomenon, spawning an entire cottage industry of Bondo-drenched and kitted knockoff's built by guys looking to make a quick profit. That is unfortunate because, amid the clutter, there were several really good builders turning out quality '67 Mustangs. You have to look a little closer, but the differences are there.
Jason Engel is the owner of Classic Recreations, a company that specializes in custom-built, Shelby-licensed GT500 Mustangs, and we've been looking for the opportunity to shoot one of his cars for a few months now. We finally caught up with him at last year's Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational where he was wringing out the car you see here, a car that left the event in a semi on its way to the owner.
Jason grew up working on cars, so it was a natural fit to create a business doing what he loves. He builds Shelby GT500 CRs (Classic Recreations) to order for individual buyers according to their specs."Each car is tailored to what the customer wants. Some people want fingerprint-ID touch start instead of a key start, and some want different color welt cords in the seats. I'm working on a stripe-delete car right now," he says. This particular car was built for a guy who wanted to be able to perform well on a road course but be quiet and comfortable enough to go on trips with his wife. To accomplish that, Jason said he put three levels of sound deadening throughout theinterior, poly-fill inside the quarter-panels, and four pairs of mufflers in the exhaust. That's the quiet stuff. The loud stuff consists of a 427ci Windsor-style Dart block that makes more than 500 hp. Backed by a TKO trans and riding on a completely revamped suspension, the car more than held its own on the track at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch.
Comparisons to a certain movie car are inevitable, but Google "Eleanor Mustang" and look at these two cars side by side. The differences will be obvious. Jason uses real GT500 hoods, headlights, side scoops, decklids, and endcaps for his cars. The rocker panels and front fascia are his own creations and intended to be aerodynamically functional. The designs received Carroll Shelby's blessing, and Classic Recreations is a fully licensed Shelby builder. Don't think we're shilling for Jason's company. He told us he wants to limit production to between 15 and 20 cars per year. At those numbers, he doesn't need any help from us.