Shaun Hopper has taken a movie icon and made it his own. Like it or Hate it, you have got to admit – that takes Balls!
So, what are we looking at here?
Well, first of all, let’s go back to the year 2000 when Nicolas Cage was cast to make a reboot of then lesser well-known 1974 Gone In 60 Seconds, where a guy at the mercy of a drug lord must steal 48 cars in one day. But this time they had a massive ace up their sleeves, this time they had a new Eleanor, a 1967 Shelby GT500 finished in fleet pepper grey with a gnarly set of thick black racing stripes that take you from bumper to bumper and MY GOD what a thing of beauty it was…proper teenage boy car poster on the wall stuff!!
However, Shaun shares his Gone In 60 movie love with another car film, the epic Mad Max, that of course starred Mel Gibson driving like a maniac in a heavily modified Ford Falcon XB GT with you guessed it a monstrous supercharger blower erupting from the ‘hood’….so why not combine both? Why not smash two great car influences together? Take the slick styling from Eleanor and add the bonkers supercharger from the Falcon and thus spawning one of the meanest Mustang’s I’ve ever seen
This is the part where I expect all the Ford purists to sit there furiously bashing away at their keyboards, leaving me angry comments such as “This is not a real Eleanor replica I’ll have you know”, “where’s the square chin spoiler with the twin spot lamps?”, “Where’s the side skirts with integrated exhaust pipes?” and not forgetting “but where’s my Go Baby Go shifter button for the Nitrous injection?” The answer; GONE!..in short replaced, binned and altered that’s where! #sorrynotsorry
“But why?” I hear some of you yell
Well, why make just another Gone In 60 Seconds Eleanor replica when you can make something different, a car that says something about the person who built it rather than just a car bought by the highest bidder
There’s even a place in the states that will build you the very replica we’re talking about, saving you the hard work. All you’ll need to do is just sell your first-born child, one kidney and your least favourite dog, then write them a big fat cheque and await the “cars all done for you” phone call. Then you can drive off into the sunset eating an XXXL cheeseburger with extra cheese….but tell me, where’s the fun in that?
Oh, and for those in mass-panic about the lack of nitrous, FEAR NOT. As mentioned, this GT500 is supercharged and I must add running a pretty healthy 582bhp with 632lb/ft; take a moment for that to sink in. We’re not talking a single spurt of nitrous to make the yank tank hurtle its way up to top speed fast and furious style, with 55 gear changes, in-between aggressive poor use of CGI engine internals. This power is there every time you need it, every time you fancy stamping on throttle it’s there waiting to kill you (a bit)
So, onto the build then!
All 12 years of it! Why so long? Well, let’s start with the exterior and why Shaun opted out of the extended bumper and side skirts. Fiberglass is a huge, no, no for him. Therefore, not a single part of this car was to be fitted with it. From stock the car would have been fitted with fibreglass side intakes and bonnet so what do you use instead? You must painstakingly shape, bend, cut and hammer metal into the correct shapes and weld them to the car replicating the original parts exactly so that’s what Shaun did!
With the help of skilled professionals, such as Alan Ashford putting in considerable man hours and effort perfecting the panels, and then applying them by hand to the surprisingly clean, rust free, Californian shell that was sourced by Shaun
Moving onto the fun stuff; That awesome engine/supercharger combo that so defines this build! It’s a 6.0 litre, 351w block that’s been married with a Weiand 671 belt driven supercharger. Naturally it has forged pistons and rods to help with the strain of massively upping the horsepower the standard block usually produces, along with this, a 62cc edelbrock aluminium cylinder head was chosen for build. The exhaust is a 3” twin stainless steel straight pipe that ends on quadruple tail pipes (two split heads per side) that have been shaped to match the rectangle standard rear taillights
A C6 Auto gearbox was installed for ease of use along with addition of power steering this was then customised by Shaun. The alloys were created from a one-piece ally block and are finished off with the hallibrand centre spinners. Fun fact: these alloys were built by the exact same company used by the filmmakers when they were building their movie car
Interior wise, the car is mostly standard bar the additional fuel cut off switch and B&M shifter (not the bargain superstore). Oh, and the seats that have also been changed. These were taken out of a mk.2 Toyota Celica re-trimmed in black leather to keep a stock look to them. He even had the famous prancing pony stitched into the headrest. The wooden walnut steering wheel is something that just looks so right too…. I’m HUGE fan of these in classic cars
The audio system pumps out a generous 1000 watts through two pioneer speakers in the front with a further two 6×9’s in the back, along with added subwoofer’s. This may seem a bit extreme for a classic car, but trust me once fired up, this car is ridiculously loud. Even before you get the satisfying whine from the supercharger that you can’t help but grin like a moron at once engaged which is every time you push on the throttle by the way – no eco friendly compressor style clever stuff here! Just full on bitey, shouty engine noises
The future plans for the car are thus, maybe an addition of a methanol injection for the intercooler as Shaun is has a crazy idea of aiming for around 750bhp eventually!! Ultimately however when his son’s old enough to see over the dash and jab at the pedals, he plans to hand it down to him to enjoy…what a first car that’s going to be, Christ! My first car was a Peugeot 106 and I got up to all manner of stupid things in it let alone if I’d had the keys a super charged Shelby Mustang, haha!
Shaun would like to thank a few people who helped him with the build such as AB Crush, Mead Speed Autos, Dave Hammond & Steve Bromley of DHR Racing & the legend that is Alan Ashford
Also a huge thanks to the guys at A-Skip4u Hire company for allowing us to use the site as a backdrop for this photoshoot, for more info on them visit www.a-skip4u.com
For more info about this car, visit the Eleanor Mustang Hire Facebook page where you can book the car for use at Weddings & Events
Words and Photos by Nick Simmo Photograper