56 years of Mustang, we all have a story

The year was 2000 and I was all but 12 years of age. My friends and I decided to go to the movies one Friday after school to watch a new car movie, Gone in 60 seconds.

There was just one problem though, the movie had an age restriction of 13. We were all a year to young but, this did not stop us. We bought our popcorn and slush-puppies, went to the ticket counter and lied…

Walking into the cinema I felt as if I had just committed the biggest crime ever, lying about my age to watch a movie. Unfortunately for one of our friends who couldn’t do math ended up not making it into the cinema. All of our guilt was quickly forgotten when the movie started Nicholas Cage and Angelina Jolie, as well as a few other actors who played car thieves, but not your average car thief, these car thieves had role models. They also had high tech equipment.

Due to a failed attempt by the main protagonists younger brother the crew now has 24 hours to steel sixty cars or face the consequences of a ruthless crime boss. One of the cars that needed to be stolen was a 1967 Shelby GT500, Nicholas Cage called it Elanor in the movie, his unicorn, you know the fabled horse with the horn on its head.   Anyways, the movie builds to this high point where the plan has stumbled to the finish line, the cops are hot on their heels and the Mustang is the last car that needs to be stolen, time is running out and the Cage’s kid brother has a target on his back.

A fantastic car chase ensues with Cage behind the wheel of the Mustang, one of the most iconic scenes is when the car is being pursued by a police helicopter, Cage pushes a button that says ‘Go baby Go’. Nitros gets injected into the fuel system and the car rockets of, the helicopter unable to keep up.

The pursuit, however, took it out of the car as it limped through the streets, smoking and struggling. Cage at one point interacts with the car as if it’s an actual living character, he talks to it, pleads with it to get going. The car responds and the two race to the scrapyard where the crime boss is located. Unfortunately, they missed the deadline and Cage finds himself at the wrong end of a gun, the car, just about crushed.

Thankfully his crew come to his aid and he ends up fighting the crime boss, they saved the car and at the end of the movie Cage and Jolie go for a drive in an unpainted car busy being repaired.

Now as good a what the movie was, at the time it was overshadowed by the Mustang which to this day is one of the most iconic movie cars of all time. I remember talking to people in recent years and when I ask them what would be in their garage you can most definitely expect Elanor to be in the list.  Seven Elanor replicas were created for production, with five being written off during stunt sequences. The two remaining at the end of filming went to the film’s lead star and executive producer, respectively. Even people who have no interest in cars will recognise the Elanor Mustang from the 2000 rendition of Gone in 60 seconds.

One of the other iconic films that the Mustang appeared in is undoubtedly Bullitt, the 1968 film that starred Steve McQueen as well as a Highland Green Mustang which took part in one of, if not the best car chase scene in movie history. McQueen did most of the driving and insisted that the window of the car be down so that the audience would see that it is indeed him behind the wheel. Ford celebrated the movie by releasing a limited-edition Mustang Bullitt which we at Autodealer got to drive. The naturally aspirated V8 and a 6-speed manual gearbox as well as the same Highland Green paint and black wheels all pay homage to the original.

There have been many movies which featured a Mustang, one of the most recent being 2014 Need for Speed which sees the main character’s race across America in a modified Mustang, seeking revenge for the death of their friend.

Despite its movie roles, the Mustang is a poster car, it is a car that attracts attention. Having driven a few new models over the past few years I can confidently say that a Mustang attracts more attention than many a German sportscar. No matter where you go, people will look, wave, ask for a rev, request to take a photo and in some cases as I experienced tell you about their first Mustang experience.

Long live the Pony car and here is to another 56 years of American Muscle.

Related Articles

Back to top button