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Shelby Trust Prevails In Mustang Eleanor Copyright Lawsuit

The Ford Mustang known as “Eleanor” skyrocketed to fame thanks to its starring role in the Gone in 60 Seconds movie remake back in 2000, which inspired quite a few folks to build their own recreation of the Shelby Mustang GT500-inspired build. Problem is, the Mustang Eleanor trademark actually belongs to Denice Shakarian Halicki, the widow of H.B. Halicki, who created the original 1974 film and died in an accident while filming what was supposed to be the sequel in 1989. Via her company, Eleanor Licensing LLC, Halicki has since shut down numerous Mustang Eleanor projects, had cars seized, and even won a lawsuit against Carroll Shelby, who attempted to copyright and license the customer version of the Eleanor Mustang he created for the Gone in 60 Seconds reboot. Now, however, the Shelby Trust has prevailed in its ongoing legal battle over this matter.

Following this long legal battle, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has ruled in Shelby’s favor, noting that the Eleanor code-named vehicles shown in Gone in 60 Seconds – as well as The Junkman and Deadline Auto Theft movies – are not deserving of any character copyright protection, as Halicki and her legal team argued.

Halicki said that the Shelby models appearing in those movies comprised a single copyrightable character that belonged to her, and that this character copyright prohibited Shelby from licensing other people and companies to manufacture, sell, or auction Shelby GT500 models. Halicki has since sued or threatened to sue a number of companies and individuals that allegedly violated that copyright.

“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. That is exactly why we had to go to the extreme time and expense of pursuing our claims against Mrs. Halicki in court. The true value of all Shelby GT500s is now secure with this news.”

We’ll have more on this soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford lawsuit news, Ford Mustang news, and around-the-clock Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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Comments

  1. Mark B

    It is certainly interesting to see how this has played out in the courts. Personally, I’ve always thought that there wouldn’t have been an Eleanor without the Shelby GT 500…unless of course the GT 500 never existed then maybe the Eleanor would’ve been tagged to another vehicle, in which case some sort of modifications would have again spawned another variant.

    The premise that one has to exist for there to be the other seems obvious, but I guess naming rights also weigh into this as well.

    Reply
  2. GaryB

    what about the cars that were seized? do the owners get those back or compensated? really curious how they can take someones car because they custom built it to look like a make-believe car from a movie

    Reply
    1. Luke

      I sure hope they get them back or get compensation for that. I knew all along she had no merit to her claims.

      Reply
  3. hot toddy

    If Halicki was smart back when the Movie took off she should have licensed her own body kit and cahsed in. With the availibility of the body shells beginning to be maunfactured my Dynacorn back then she might have made a lot of money and improving the hobby instead of making enemies out of people like Shelby Trust. The origional movie was good, but the choice of Mustang used in it didn’t have the same popularity as the 2000 movie did and never will.

    Reply
  4. Adamsallycat

    Agreed the Shelby gt500 belongs to Shelby and their partner Ford. The original 67 Shelby gt500 plus the Chip Foose Body kit made Eleanor. I believe the name “Eleanor” was Edsel Ford wife name. This woman was looking for a bird on the ground as a pay day. Honestly, I never heard of the “Gone In 60 Seconds” original from 1974. That vehicle Mustang looked to be a 71 to 74 Mustang. No resemblance to the 67 Shelby Mustang Eleanor. I absolutely love this car. At 250k plus it’s not possible. We can always dream I guess. The judgement was correct on this matter.

    Reply
  5. Randy

    Never understood the appeal of the “Eleanor”. The hood? The whole car looks like an over done kit car, wait……. it IS an over done kit car!

    Reply

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