The Shelby Trust, which owns “Shelby” trademarks, was recently victorious in its long-running copyright battle over the muscle car, according to The Drive. The ruling frees up the shop and others of its kind to build licensed GT500s that look nearly identical to the scene-stealing speed machine from the infamous 2000 blockbuster.
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Eleanor has proved to have much more of a cultural impact than the movie in which it appeared. (The reboot somehow managed to lose $212 million.) One look at the fastback and it’s easy to see why. With a metallic gray finish and two black racing stripes, it’s without a doubt one of the best-looking Mustangs of all time, let alone GT500s. Because of that, loads of companies, including Shelby American, have tried to sell replicas of the car. But each time someone tried, they were sued by Denise Halicki, the widow of the original Gone in 60 Seconds director, H.B. “Toby” Halicki.
In each lawsuit, Halicki has argued that Eleanor isn’t just a vehicle, it’s a character. To support this, she’s pointed to the fact that a ‘Stang of the same name also appeared in the original movie, along with her husband’s films The Junkman and Deadline Auto Theft, even though they were all yellow and black. The US District Court for the Central District of California, which heard the case, did not agree. Instead, it viewed Halicki and her lawyer’s representations of the movies to be “plainly false” or “an embellishment, to say the least,” and found in the Shelby Trust’s favor.
“We can finally tell all our important licensees and Shelby GT 500 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,” co-trustee Neil Cummings said in a statement. “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 GT 500s is now secure with this news.”
As a result of the ruling, there’s little standing in the way of you commissioning a licensed GT500 Eleanor of your own. And that’s great news for Shelby and muscle car lovers alike.
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