Court rules muscle car fans free to build Eleanor-style Mustangs

Shelby Trust, the owner of the Shelby trademark, has won a court case that the trust claims finally allows it and other builders to create Mustangs that resemble the Eleanor-named gray Mustangs in 2000’s hit movie “Gone in 60 Seconds,” as well as the yellow Eleanor Mustang that featured in the original 1974 version of the movie.

For years, the two car designs were defended under copyright protection by Denise Halicki, the wife of Henry Blight “Toby” Halicki, who made the original “Gone in 60 Seconds” movie. She won the rights in a 2008 court case against Shelby after the trust a few years prior started licensing the 2000 design to replica builders keen to offer Eleanor-style Mustangs for sale.

Halicki has arranged licensing deals with replica builders in the past, but not with Shelby. For example, Classic Recreations last year announced a carbon-fiber bodied Eleanor with an 810-hp supercharged V-8—priced at nearly $300,000. A more traditional replica for around $200,000 was offered by Brand New Muscle Car in 2019. In both those cases, the replica resembled the Eleanor from the 2000 movie starring Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie. The car in the movie was based on a 1967 Ford Shelby GT500.

According to Shelby, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California last week ruled that both Eleanor Mustang designs (2000’s gray design and 1974’s yellow) were not deserving of copyright protection, on the basis the designs weren’t representative of a character that could be considered intellectual property.

“We can finally tell all our important licensees and Shelby GT500 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,” Neil Cummings, a co-trustee of the Shelby Trust who oversaw the legal process, said in a statement. “The true value of all Shelby GT500s is now secure with this news.”

This article was originally published by Motor Authority, an editorial partner of ClassicCars.com.

The ClassicCars.com Journal

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