Shelby wins 10-year legal battle over use of ‘Eleanor’ car in ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ | Taza Khabre

Key findings

  • The dispute over the name “Eleanor” between Shelby American and Denice Halicki has finally been resolved, with the court ruling in favor of the Shelby Trust.
  • The court ruled that the vehicles codenamed Eleanor from Gone in 60 Seconds were not copyrightable for the characters.
  • Ms. Halicki’s misleading statements and factual inaccuracies led the court to sharply criticize her in a 41-page opinion. Shelby now has full control over the Eleonor Mustang name.

The American brand Shelby has been fighting a legal dispute over the rights to use the name “Eleanor” for more than a decade. The cult year 1967 received this name Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 from the movie Gone in 60 seconds and the company fell out with Denise Halicky, the widow of Tony Halicky, the director of the film.

however, the court has now ruled that the Shelby Trust has rights to the name of Eleanor on muscle cars, giving him complete control over the trademarks and merchandise design that are essential to the image of the Shelby brand. Shelby went to court to protect its valued licensees and owners Ford Shelby GT500s.

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Eleanor’s original court case began over 10 years ago

1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Engine Specifications



Years of production

1966-1969 years


428 ci Naturally Aspirated V8


7.0 liter


355 hp

A turning point

420 lb-ft



Known applications

1968 Shelby GT500, 1966–1970 Ford Police Interceptor

(technical characteristics are provided Motor Trend)

A variety of yellow and black Mustangs with the code name “Eleanor” appeared in Gone in 60 seconds movies as well Autojacking deadline. One of the battered yellow and black prop cars even appeared Scavenger. In the 2000 remake Gone in 60 seconds, the name Eleanor was used to refer to rare Shelby GT500s, one of which was gray and black. It was this GT500 that became synonymous with the name Eleonora. It spawned numerous replicas, restomods and recreations of the original cars in the film.

Mrs. Denise Khaliki, however, claimed that all these cars, which were referred to as Eleanor, represented the only copyrightable character that belonged to her. She claimed that the copyright in her alleged character prohibited the Shelby Trust from granting licenses to other people and companies to manufacture and even sell or auction the Shelby GT500.

Mrs. Haliki went further and even sued and/or threatened to sue Shelby GT500 vintage manufacturers, auction houses, and even customers. She claimed that the cars infringed on her alleged copyright. That’s because whatever Shelby GT500 was supposedly the “Eleanor” character looked like the gray and black car from the 2000 Hollywood Pictures remake. However, the car is repeatedly identified as a Shelby GT500 in the film.

To protect their licensees and GT500 owners, Shelby stated in their press release announcing their victory that they had no choice but to sue. In November 2022, the courts rejected Ms. Haliki’s years-long practice of trying to extract money from vintage car manufacturers and Shelby GT500 owners. The courts argued that it was a non-existent copyright. The court also strongly ruled that the vehicles codenamed Eleanor shown in the Gone in 60 seconds, Scavengerand Autojacking deadline films do not deserve copyright protection of “characters”.

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The court criticized Ms. Halicki in a 41-page document

Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang Eleanor disappeared in 60 seconds
Mecum Auctions

Highlights of the Eleanor Mustang Shelby Court Case

  • Mrs. Haliki claimed that all of Eleanor’s Mustangs were one character that belonged to her
  • The courts said that Ms. Halicki had misled the courts during the trials
  • Ms. Khaliki and her attorney committed “factual inaccuracies” to the Ninth Circuit’s opinion
  • Ms Haliki’s company has already sued and seized the assets of the Eleanor Mustang projects
  • Shelby now has full control over the Eleonor Mustang name

The court published a 41-page opinion based on the results of the trial. In it, they lashed out at Ms Halicki, saying she and her lawyer had misled the courts by quoting the report, which said the “unfortunate practice . . . embellish (embellish) the facts in your briefing.” The report also said that Mrs. Halicki and the attorney made “factual inaccuracies” to get into the Ninth Circuit’s opinion “which likely assumed the facts were true” when they were not.

After independently viewing the films in question, the court found that various statements made by Ms. Haliki and her attorney about the films were “manifestly false” or “an embellishment, to say the least.” The 41-page opinion contains an incriminating verdict on Mrs. Haliki and her attempts to take the Eleanor and Shelby GT500 names.

The court also rejected Ms. Haliki’s fallback argument after the 2023 trial. She argued that the 2007 settlement agreement prevented the Shelby Trust and its licensees from selling new Shelby GT500s built under Carroll Shelby Licensing. The court rejected this, making a decisive argument against her, stating that her theories were “not tied to the text of the contract.”

In a press release, Shelby M. Neal Cummings, Esq., CEO of Carroll Shelby Licensing, Inc. and co-trustee of the Shelby Trust said: “Shelby was forced to take these measures to protect our valued Shelby GT500 licensees and owners.” He said: “We can finally tell them that Mrs. Khaliki has absolutely no right to complain or file a lawsuit based on the appearance of any car licensed by the Shelby Trust. The true value of all vintage Shelby GT500s is now safe with this news.” Mr. Cummings oversaw the entire process for Shelby.

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Many Mustang Eleanor projects were closed by Mrs. Haliki

Screenshot from Gone In 60 Seconds of gray 1967 Eleanor Ford Shelby GT 500 chase
YouTube/Touchstone Pictures

A win for Shelby will be a huge relief not only for the company, but also for those involved in the Mustang Eleanor projects. This is reported in the Ford Authority report from June 2020 Mrs. Haliki closed the Eleanor Mustang Tribute Project, using his company Eleanor Licensing LLC. This was the project of Chris Steinbacher, the author of the YouTube channel “B is for Build”. He was almost finished with his Eleanor Mustang project, built from a salvaged 2015 S550, when Mrs. Khaliki called.

Not only did Haliki get Steinbach to remove all traces of the car from his YouTube channel, she also got the law to impound the Mustang. The move sparked outrage among many Steinbacher fans and viewers, as well as the Mustang and Shelby communities. A similar fate befell other projects. The court ruling means that projects like Steinbacher’s and projects like Classic Recreations can continue to build examples of the Eleanor Shelby GT500 without any repercussions.

RELATED: Here’s What Happened to Eleanor’s Last Million Dollar Ford Mustang That Disappeared in 60 Seconds

A gray 1967 Eleanor Ford Shelby GT 500 is parked
Via: car collecting

The court’s decision in Shelby’s favor is a huge relief, and a press release from Shelby underscores just how bitter the fight has become. This makes it clear that they and the court believed that Mrs. Haliki had no reason to claim either the Eleanor name or the Shelby and GT500 Mustang names.

Seizing people’s assets and preventing the sale of the Shelby GT500 shows the lengths to which Ms. Haliki went to prove her case. The court had little doubt that Eleanor’s Mustangs did not deserve any form of character copyright protection.

Sources: Shelby American, Ford Authority

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