In 1964 the first Ford Mustang rolled off the production line and that same year it debuted on the silver screen as well. A gorgeous female assassin sat behind the wheel of a 1964 ½ white convertible mustang in Goldfinger as Sean Connery’s James Bond gave chase through the Swiss Alps. Although James Bond’s Aston Martin won the battle, destroying the Mustang in the process, this was the beginning of a long and illustrious career for Ford Mustangs in Hollywood. The Mustang has appeared in over 500 movies since then and has taken part in some of the most well-known car chase scenes in movie history.
The 1968 GT 390 Fastback featured in Bullitt’s nine minute car chase is almost as much of a star of the movie as Steve McQueen. The iconic chase scene between Lt. Frank Bullitt and his culprit is still considered one of the finest in movie history. Producers of Bullitt added Mustang accessories to the two cars used in the chase scene in order to better equip them for the jumps over the hills of San Francisco, the squealing turns and breakneck speeds that the cars executed. Stronger springs, shocks and braces for the inner fenders were added to prepare the Mustang for its thrilling ride.
Gone In 60 Seconds
Eleanor is the name given to the Mustangs featured in both the 1974 original movie and the 2000 re-make of Gone In 60 Seconds. H.B. Halicki wrote and directed the original movie and did some of the stunt driving as well. His “Eleanor” was a 1971 Mach 1 which was altered to make it appear as a 1973 Mach 1. In 2000, Jerry Bruckheimer remade the movie and gave the name Eleanor to a 1967 Shelby GT 500. Both movies involve heart racing chase scenes starring Eleanor and are generally found on the rankings of top movie car chase scenes.
Diamonds Are Forever
The Mustang again appeared in a James Bond film in 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever. This time the 1971 Mustang Mach 1 featured in the film was not the vehicle of the villain, but of James Bond himself. The producers of Diamonds Are Forever brought back the director of Goldfinger, Guy Hamilton for the film, and Sean Connery once again filled the shoes of James Bond. At least six Mustang Mach 1s were used in the filming of this movie. Several of them wound up on their roofs in the process of trying to film the famous scene where James Bond drives the Mustang through an alley sideways on two wheels.
The Ford Mustang has shrieked, squealed and purred across movie screens since its inception in 1964 and continues to be a popular choice in movies today. Audiences have watched Will Smith drive a Mustang down abandoned roads in I Am Legend, Tom Cruise fleeing alien invaders in War of the Worlds and have even seen it re-imagined as a futuristic vehicle of 2015 in Back to the Future Part II. The Mustang has proven that it has staying power both on the road and on screen. The style and accessibility that made this pony car popular in the 1960s continue to attract car enthusiasts today.