Helleanor: A Wicked ’68 Mustang Build Influenced by "Gone in 60 Seconds"
Any time a customized vehicle hits the silver screen or gets airplay on TV, it’s guaranteed that someone watching will become inspired. For Ricky Quintero and his father Ricardo, they along with a large chunk of automotive enthusiasts were amazed to see the ’67 Ford Mustang Fastback that was in the "Gone in 60 Seconds" movie released in the year 2000. Designed by the infamous Chip Foose, the “Eleanor” Mustang was made to simulate a Shelby GT500 and was the absolute star of the hit film.
The journey to creating his own version of the “unicorn” started when one of his uncle's was selling this ’68 Ford Mustang. Of course, it looked nothing like this as it was a total project vehicle that needed some major love. Ricky and his father were ready to create their own custom Mustang and scooped up the car before anyone else had the chance to even check it out.
The New Artillery
From there, Ricky turned to his cousin Jorge to make suggestions for some of the upgrades including the engine—the original 302ci motor was not going to cut it. Looking to start new, they purchased a 550-horsepower 427ci stroker version of Ford’s Windsor small block engine from Proformance Unlimited in Melbourne, FL. It was equipped with Eagle 4340 forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods along with SRP pistons to make for a solid unit.
Up top is a Comp Cams custom street performance camshaft and aluminum cylinder heads for maximum power. Fuel delivery is handled by an Inglese EFI stacked injection that works as beautiful as it looks. Elevating the rest of it is a March Performance serpentine kit and a set of mid-length Hedman Hedders that release gases to a custom Magnaflow exhaust system. With installation help from the crew at MC Garage, power is transferred to the rearend by way of a TREMEC TKO600 manual transmission that is equipped with a McLeod clutch.
Getting the Full Potential
Dropping in all this power with a stock suspension would be a complete wasted effort. To maximize the capabilities of this slick machine, a coil-over suspension from Total Control Products was ordered up. On the front is a set of replacement control arms and strut bars that work in combination to not only lower the car, but make it handle better than ever. In the rear is a g-Bar Canted-4-Bar system that replaces the original leaf springs and eliminates any unwanted suspension deflection.
Making It Stick
The suspension was then topped off with a set of 13-inch Wilwood disc brakes at each corner with 6-pistion calipers up front and 4-piston calipers in the rear. Allowing to fit the large brakes and improve styling is the 19-inch BC Forged HBR10 wheels purchased from PK Auto Designs. They were covered in 235/40R19 and 275/40R19 Nitto NT05 to help keep this car glued to the pavement. The tread design of these tires is not only stylish, but the large center rib and outer blocks provide a large contact patch for improved traction.
Wardrobe for a New Star
Like other cars as old as this Mustang, rust repair is commonly needed in order to bring it to a show-quality shine. Furthermore, this Mustang was meant to resemble the car in the movie and to do so, fiberglass pieces like the grille, hood, rocker panels, fender flares, side scoops and rear spoiler were sourced from Mustangs to Fear. At this point Customs by Lopez of Compton, CA took over the build and worked the body straight. Changing things up from the real Eleanor, this car was painted in Jet Black with yellow stripes before getting buffed to a high-gloss finish fit for the silver screen.
Upgrading the inside is a full interior panel kit from Mustangs to Fear along with their door panels and a set of ProCar seats. Customs by Lopez installed everything along with a custom center console and black leather upholstery. To keep track of the engine vitals a set of gauges from Classic instruments were mounted to the dash. Thumping the tunes is a JL Audio speaker system that features two VXI amps in the trunk and two W7 subwoofers in the rear interior panel.
The Final Act
All the loose ends were buttoned up for this car's completion in October of 2020, which would have been a few weeks before the annual SEMA Show if this was a normal year. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the virtual SEMA 360 event took its place, and this car was entered into the Battle of the Builders competition. It made it to the Top 10 in the Hot Rod category, which is a huge feat considering that the list consisted of the best builders from around the globe.
The Grand Finale
Though the car has received its accolades, the road to get there was not easy. The first shop that worked on the car couldn’t measure up to expectations and the deal wound up in several lawsuits. Despite all the legal issues, the Quintero family prevailed and completed the build after it was put on pause for roughly 6-years. Now that this Mustang is complete, it is a testament to never giving up on a build.