Hooniverse Asks- What's Your Eleanor?

You all remember Eleanor- the GT500 that vexed Nick Cage so in the mind-numbingly banal Gone in Sixty Seconds remake? While that film had little going for it other than a passel of great cars and Angelina Jolie’s throw-pillow sized lips, it did bring a new term into automotivedom’s lexicon- that of Eleanor, a mythical white whale sought-after by a fixated seeker.

We all have that one car that we’ve loved since we were a kid. It might be completely irrational, it might be because dad had one and he let you pretend to drive it while sitting on his lap, it might be because of the poster you had in your room, or it might be because Angelina drove one in a movie and you’re in love with her throw-pillow-sized lips.
What’s the car that you have always had an irrational love for, that still, when you see it, makes you revert back to being five years old? What car makes time stand still when you see one, with springtime puppy-love music playing from the orchestra between your ears?
Keep an eye on Hooniverse today for some of our Eleanors.
[Image source: DoogiePage]

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  1. Maymar Avatar

    Jags – even (or especially) ratty Series IIIs and XJ40s – have a fairly powerful hold on me.

  2. MEGATURBO Avatar

    GNX. Ever since I first discovered them, I've had it in my head that it was the single most bad ass car you could own. I've always felt like the GNX was basically anger car-ified. I don't know what it says about me that my dream garage is basically a GNX and a Lancia Fulvia

    1. Maymar Avatar

      It says you're in the right place.

  3. engineerd Avatar

    A Mk. II Austin-Healey Sprite (or an MG Midget). Sure, they're underpowered, fairly unreliable, and can only be driven when it's not raining or snowing (I live in Michigan), but I would trade nearly anything for one. I blame the Sprite for my obsession with British roadsters and sports cars.

    1. BigRed Avatar

      I've always wanted to take a Mk. I Bugeye/Frogeye Sprite and drop in one of these: http://thekneeslider.com/archives/2005/11/01/haya… Along with a couple of these: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6

      1. engineerd Avatar

        I read a build log on somebody's website where the guy dropped a 2.0L Zetec from a Focus into one. He used a kit for a Se7en to get it mounted longitudinally and driving the proper set of wheels. Considering the aftermarket support for this engine, it could be made way more powerful than necessary.
        I'm torn, though, about whether it would be better to drop in a more powerful mill or stick with the stock A-Series and do a replica rally car.

        1. Sparky_Pete Avatar

          I was hell bent for years on converting my MGBGT into a V8/5 speed, with a fiberglass Sebring kit, coilover front suspension, independent rear, custom interior and new EVERYTHING. A Cobra killer!
          I spent years amassing huge stacks of new parts, stripped the car down to a bare shell and patted myself on the back. Then one day I looked at the pile of parts that came off what was my favorite car (basically the whole damn thing), and thought "Just how much can I actually change on an MG, yet still have it remain an "MG"?"
          I realized most of what I loved about the car in the first place was on the way out the door. The soul of my old friend was fading fast.
          I think that day I discovered who I really was. The hot rod parts slowly went on Craigslist and I have been putting it back together ever since. Beating the snot out of the old 4-banger, SU carbs, electrical faults and all was suddenly way more important to me than 5 minutes of fame at the local donut gathering.
          You can swap the soul out of a Spridget, but then you just end up with something that looks like it used to be a quirky old Sprite/Midget. I marvel over the impressive engine swaps, yet nothing speaks to me like the symphony of noises in the old mechanicals and the Siamesed exhaust note.
          Only your own wrench can tell you which way to go. Either way though, it will be awesome.

    2. Robert Emslie Avatar
      Robert Emslie

      Dude, next time you're in Cali, you need to stop by my garage. I have a '62 sprite, as well as enough parts to build another tucked in there.

      1. engineerd Avatar

        Consider this me accepting your invitation!

    1. engineerd Avatar

      Simple and to the point. And oh so right.

  4. Smells_Homeless Avatar

    78 Indy Pace Car 'Vette. My family went car shopping in winter of 78 and right there in the the showroom were two cars, the aforementioned Vette and a 79 Bonneville Safari in metallic brown with woodgrain. I did everything I could. I pleaded and begged and promised to ride in the hatch with my little brother, but Pops just wasn't being swayed from that damn station wagon.

  5. Alff Avatar

    A "lumped" (repowered with a small block V8) Jaguar XJ-C.
    Oh, and a maintenance-free Alfa Spider.

  6. thomasmac Avatar

    I would have to go with a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 with the 360hp LS-5. For some strange reason I am more interesting in the lower horsepower variant LS-5 then the LS-6.
    Oh and does anyone else think all those Eleanor clones are a waste of a Ford Mustang?

    1. SSurfer321 Avatar

      I think the Eleanor package is attractive but now that any Tom, Dick or Harry can order one, it loses its luster and originality.
      Though my opinion may be jaded as I am tired of all things Mustang. I used to love them…

    2. Jo_Schmo Avatar

      Very nice choice. I get weak in the knees over the 66 Malibu for some reason.

      1. thomasmac Avatar

        Agreed, gotta love a `66 Malibu, ideally a post car with the L79 350hp 327 and a 4 speed. Bonus points for the mag wheels
        <img src="http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s4/Chevelle300fan/Chevelle%20300%20Series%20Cars/66Chevelle300Deluxe21.jpg?t=1196376084&quot; style="width: 640px; height: 480px; border: 0" alt="imgTag" />

        1. Jo_Schmo Avatar

          You nailed it! That is even the color I would choose.

  7. CptSevere Avatar

    Probably a Dodge M37 Power Wagon. Wanted one since I was a kid. It's just the gnarliest truck ever built. Who cares if it only has a 230 c.i. straight six and won't go more than 45 MPH. I want one.

    1. engineerd Avatar

      How about an M43 — the ambulance version! All the fun of the M37 plus a siren.
      <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2510/4106719824_0d77c95046.jpg"&gt;

    2. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

      Definately lustworthy. Plus it will go through anything, at speeds up to 45 MPH.

  8. muthalovin Avatar

    My completely unrealistic fantasy Eleanor would be a Porsche 959. I had a 959 Hot Wheels, and I loved that thing.
    My somewhat realistic fantasy Eleanor would have to be a 2007 Triumph Speed Triple in Roulette Green.

  9. BGW Avatar

    DeTomaso Pantera. I had a Matchbox version as a kid and thought it was roughly The Most Awesome Thing Ever. Repeated screenings of Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo and the original Gone in 60 Seconds did little to change that train of thought. Saw one while vacationing at the beach as an older kid and was quite sure I was having a burst aneurysm. When I found out that Vince Neil's infamous crash was in a Pantera, I thought he was a Total Douchenozzle, not for simply being Vince Neil, nor for driving drunk and killing his friend so much as for trashing a Pantera (Hey, I was 15- Hormones had my moral compass in a perpetual spin).
    At some point in my later teens, I realized the full magnitude of an American V8 shoved into a Euro sportscar chassis. Common sense has kept me from acting irrationally thus far in life, but should a cheap-ish example ever present itself within reasonable geographic proximity, well, Project Divorce Hell might just ensue.

    1. Goingincirclez Avatar

      An inspired choice. I probably had (and still have) that same Matchbox: Blue, with white and black stripes, #17? 'Twas one of my favorites as well!

      1. BGW Avatar

        Probably the very same. Mine was a hand-me down from my older brother, so it was mostly chipped & flaked blue by the time it was mine, but it was enough to leave an impression.

  10. Tripl3fast Avatar

    Aston Martin. Not that I could have one or almost had one, but man do I want one. I even have my wife ready to say if ever asked by someone "what dream car can we give you? " Aston Martin DB9 convertable in black. Who knows, I never saw Ed McMahon in my neighborhood with a big ass check either but that doesn't mean it never happened.

  11. Froggmann_ Avatar

    RX-7 Had one loved it, but couldn't keep it running too long without having to swap in another engine every 6 months.

  12. soo΄pәr-bādd75 Avatar

    I have 2, sort of. Is that possible?
    Volkswagen Type 3 Notchback. The single most handsome VDub ever produced, and with a proper (for Volkswagen, IMO) rear mounted, air-cooled flat 4. I'd love to have 2 actually, one bone stock, and one slammed over a set of black Fuchs wheels or BRMs. It gives me warm fuzzies just thinking of that car.
    The other, a 356 coupe in light blue. The humble beginnings of Porsche were when the marque was at its best, IMO. The cars were just pure and simple, and what made them great wasn't what they were, but what they weren't. They weren't big, they weren't heavy, they weren't complicated. The 356 was where Porsche began, and it is the epitome of what a sports car should be.

    1. skitter Avatar

      I've always been drawn to sedans. Perhaps it my responsible parents limiting me to the back seat made two doors inaccessible to my young mind. Perhaps it was the result of being a dumb kid and not liking the buffeting of a convertible. Naturally, the pendulum has now swung violently in the other direction, and I dream of Atoms, Sevens, Loti and Sport Spiders with no windshield at all. But the icon remains the Lotus Carlton. I first saw one in the last issue of Performance Car. Being young and numbers obsessed, it stood head and shoulders above a decade of newer halo models that were still playing catch up. Even today, M5s and AMG Mercedes are a little bit quicker, with only the absurd Panamera Turbo defining a truly new echelon of acceleration. And the Carlton does it with less power, and the Carlton does it all with its power. Limiters need not apply, all potential is exercised. I love that.
      The 25 year rule is coming up much faster than I ever expected…

    2. Dr_Dangerously Avatar
  13. Joe Dunlap Avatar
    Joe Dunlap

    I have three Eleanors actually, two of them cars I have owned. The first is a 58 Chevy Delray sedan delivery. Ive searched the internet hi and low and found only a handful. A couple that were so pimped out to be unrecognizeable and the rest rust buckets. The second, a 72 Pinto 2L like the one I thrashed in autocrosses and rallys for 7 years. The last, and Im sure the most overall desireable, a 70 Boss 302, 4sp. PM yellow with the black/yellow color morphing stripe like the one my best friend Mike had for a while. Sigh……

  14. Target29 Avatar

    '68-'70 Cutlass 442 or a modern Challenger, even with just a V6.

  15. TheWaterCooler Avatar

    Pre-impact bumper (pre-1974) 911S. Or a 1997 993 Carrera 2S. Or a 914 with a 911 six in it.
    But who am I kidding? I already own my dream car; a 1987 924S. I told myself when I was about 10 years old that I'd own a Porsche before age 25; a 924/944 always seemed most likely, because they're the cheapest. I'm not even 18 yet, and I have my Porsche. So I need to be happy with what I have; there's always something better to tempt you on the horizon (or eBay Motors, for that matter…).

  16. postty Avatar

    1967 Shelby GT-500 super Snake, its the whole reason i started liking mustangs when i was a kid, id love to have it

  17. mtnmanxj Avatar

    69 1/2 A12 super bee in butternut yellow with a bench seat and column shift auto. yes yes i know should want a 4 speed but there's just something about column shifts in a powerful car that makes me all tingly on the inside, and i figure if i can afford one of these cars i can afford two, so i'll take both an auto and 4 speed

  18. Manic_King Avatar

    Iso Grifo Targa, had hardtop Grifo model as a kid and it was my favorite, love the nice Italian styling-bad ass American V8 combo.
    <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3251/2990363321_6fbe4160b8.jpg"&gt;

  19. vwminispeedster Avatar

    My Elanor is sitting in my Dad's shop waiting for me to finish it: 912 powered Intermeccanica Speedster. I thought I was going to get it done before I passed my professional engineering exam (5 years since college and 3 re-takes later) but that is not the case. I am glad to have passed the test but damn I really want to get my car done. Things called "excuses" are getting in the way.

  20. Sparky_Pete Avatar

    My Elenore…
    Have been obsessed with it since I was 6. Last seen in Nevada City, CA summer of 1977… when it was sold because it had gotten old and troublesome. Promises of it becoming my first car were dashed on the harsh rock of parental "Don't care, we know what's best" wisdom.
    Have never gotten over it. Engineerd's observation of the eyes bulging make me laugh, yet I still wish I could find and rescue it… someday. Someday.
    <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2663/3812725043_a1e2225b19_o.jpg&quot; width="500" height="300" alt="Find me!" />

  21. ptschett Avatar

    I've always had an irrational thing for Thunderbirds (most of them except the late-60's early-'70's) and Cougars ('67-'73 and '83-'97.) If I have to pick one model I'm going with the late Fox platform Turbo Coupe since it coincided with the peak of my childhood interest in these cars, narrowly beating out the 2nd-gen Cougar that was in the family for so long or the MN12 T-bird that I own.
    <img src="http://www.adclassix.com/images/87fordthunderbirdturbo.jpg"/&gt;

  22. dustin_driver Avatar

    I pick . . . the Peugeot 205 GTI.
    I went to Paris for a high school trip, in the early '90s. I saw a 205 GTI at the airport, zooming around taxis and buses. Then I saw them around town, darting in and out of traffic around the Arc de Triomphe, blasting up the narrow backstreets near our hostel. I shot at least a dozen rolls of film on that trip. Lots of spectacular architecture, beautiful art (and women), and more 205 GTIs than I can count.
    I don't know what it is about that car. Maybe it's the simplicity of its lines, the conservation of space. Maybe it's just the killer stance. Or perhaps I was just enthralled with it because there was no way, ever, I would be able to buy one in the states. It's like the cute, but not gorgeous French girl. The nerdy one. She's not like an Italian supermodel, but you're infatuated by her nonetheless. Is it the accent? Is it the pouty lips? The chic specs? A combination of it all? Probably. For me, the 205 GTI is like that. Not drop-dead gorgeous, but enchanting.
    <img src="http://dustindriver.com/images/peugeot_205gti.jpg"&gt;
    <img src="http://dustindriver.com/images/race_peugeot205gti3.jpg"&gt;

  23. SSurfer321 Avatar

    The one car that has an indelible hold on me is Aston Martin. And really any of them so long as it is British Racing Green.
    <img src="http://pictures.topspeed.com/IMG/crop/200807/2010-aston-martin-vanquis_460x0w.jpg"&gt;

    1. MEGATURBO Avatar

      The Vanquish was the first car I truly idolized. I've moved on to more…shall we say, esoteric car preferences, but that car will always have a special place in my heart.

    2. engineerd Avatar

      See my comment above. My passion stretches from the lowly Sprite to the DBS and everywhere in between. I even stopped at an Aston Martin dealership in Munich just to drool on the cars.

    3. CptSevere Avatar

      The closest I'll ever get to having one is my Corgi James Bond DB5.

  24. Møbius Avatar

    I haven't exactly built up a huge emotional connection to any car as of yet. My parents have only owned some appliance cars, and I used to be driven to school in a Toyota.
    However, my fantasy is the Lamborghini Reventon. No other car design has opened my mouth as wide as the Reventon did. It was unabashedly angry, incredibly charismatic, and endearingly crazy. For days, my car friend and I talked about nothing else in physics class. One of twenty is a long shot, but maybe one day I'll have to money to take one off a Sheikh who just found out his oil well ran dry. I WILL KILL FOR IT.

  25. lilwillie Avatar

    I missed all the fun today. Off on another cross State rescue mission. Tomorrow I make it three days straight but will finally have my E30 in the garage.
    My Eleanor would be a 1979 Ford Fairmont Wagon, calf shit yellow with a 302cid SBF…..first car I got to drive in high school. My Dads car, awesome fun, wrecked it on a bridge, awesome wreck.
    I so want another.

  26. Kogashiwa Avatar

    Had to think about this one a bit. I'd just say MR2, but in fairness that's somewhat recent.
    This is probably it though … started with a Matchbox toy, but when I learned it had a V12 – twelve! – it was all over.
    <img src="http://www.saint.org/images/jaguar-2008-cottage-400.jpg"&gt;

    1. engineerd Avatar

      Those aren't all that expensive nowadays to buy. There was one for sale at the Dream Cruise this summer for $3800. Of course, losing your job because you're always working on your car can be expensive.

      1. Kogashiwa Avatar

        Aye, they're cheap to buy, and wallet-flattening to own. I'd never buy one but it's fun to think about.

        1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

          I've got one that I picked up for $500, and while it doesn't see a lot of street duty, and I wouldn't rely on it for daily transportation, it's still fun to take out, but a bear every year when registration comes due. (Michigan charges registration based on original MSRP, so it's over $150/year to register a $500 car).
          If you have the room to keep a second or third car, I recommend picking one up. If you need it for transportation… sorry, I can't keep a straight face while typing that.
          Parts can get pricey, but ebay is your friend.
          Not as quick off the line as you might hope, but the top gear run from 70-100 is a hoot.
          <img src ="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3275/2864163694_3678908eb4_o.jpg"&gt;

  27. discontinuuity Avatar

    Toyota MR-2 Supercharged
    <img src="http://www.mr2.net/images/e393cvm/e393cvm_004.jpg"&gt;
    It's like the distilled essence of '80s sports cars.

  28. Clashtastic Avatar

    I think for me the number one car that got away is the car i just sold, my mint condition factory stock super clean early build date 99 SVT Contour, in my opinion the BEST SVT Contour one can get, the more I look for another SVT the more I realize how impossible it was to find what I had, all the ones I see are beat to hell and back, riced out, or owned by some teenage kid "the old owner used synthetic but i just used regular i don't know anything about this"….
    The other car that got away is the '97 SVT Cobra I was all ready to put a deposit on pending showing up w/ a plate to take it for a quick spin… since the guy didn't have plates, I was all ready to buy the car when he decided to take it off the market…

  29. dragon951 Avatar

    Well, that is a ridiculously difficult question, far too many answers to choose from. Well I grew up riding around in a 944, so It has always held special significance for me, but its not exactly my white whale, as I caught that particular fish. I am tempted to say 959, but even though I have spent far to much time dreaming about it I don't necessarily think it gets top billing in my heart. The Jag XKSS has always evoked an immediate daydream lasting no less than 15 minutes…
    …k back, and I have an answer. While I was on my dream ride I got passed by the one and only:
    <img src="http://www.doyleperformance.com/dotnetnuke/Portals/0/james_dean_porsche_spyder.jpg"/&gt;
    So there we go, the ever elusive and always incredible 550 Spyder is my Eleanor.

  30. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    I fear that I may never see my Eleanor in real life; Only 2 are known to still be around.
    There might be more around, but there are only 2 that the professional car society knows about.
    My Eleanor is a 1959 Flxible (Buick) Hearse.
    This image is used without permission from the Northland Professional Car Society.
    <img src="http://www.northlandpcs.com/images/museum/Flxible_Premier_Combination_43.jpg"&gt;

    1. CptSevere Avatar

      That really is something else. It's gotta be the scariest, spookiest, and most gorgeous hearse ever.

  31. DeadinSideInc Avatar

    Saab 9-3 Viggen (01/02), black, 5 door, with the rescue kit, better wheels, some dp magic, and a tint job.
    Saab C900 SPG

  32. Squozen Avatar

    Sadly, it’s the Ferrari Testarossa for me. The original 1984 edition, not the later 512 TR which ruined the 80’s charm of that front end.

  33. P161911 Avatar

    I know I'm a little late to this, but for me it would be a Buick Regal T-Type (85-87). I know that I could never afford a GNX and all the Grand Nationals have either been hooned to death or are sitting around with 500 miles on the odometer, again I could never afford them. The T-type was just a couple of really simple mods away from a Grand National without the complete blackout job. My first car was a 1981 Buick Regal Sport Coupe Turbo Limited, metallic brown, complete with tan vinyl landau top, and wire wheel hubcaps (quickly swapped for chrome mags with white letter BFGs). It had that same hood bulge as the Grand Nationals and T-Types with the magic 3.8L Turbo emblems on it. I ended up upgrading to a 77 Corvette after the Regal, but I've always wanted a fuel injected 3.8L Turbo Regal too.

  34. iheartstiggie Avatar

    This is she:
    <img src="http://images.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/pix/2597905.jpg"&gt;
    I had to sell mine. And I absolutely jonzin' to get another – someday…sigh

  35. salguod Avatar

    Two cars I almost bought in HS / College.
    Senior year I nearly dropped $800 on a '75 Hurst Olds W-30. Seriously ratty, it needed $1200 of body work in the greenhouse alone. Still, I love the colonnade cars and Hurst anything, so this was just full of win. Hurst Hatch T-tops (leaking and cracked across the roof from one to the other), dual gate shifter, swivel buckets and the W-30 455. Alas, I need a practical car to take to college, not a project.
    In college I came across a '72 Z-28 with a 4 speed for $1,000. The interior was out of it and it had been hit pretty good in the quarter. '72 is my favorite year because of the strike in Norwood make them relatively rare. I think only 1,800 or something Z-28's that year. Once again the practicalities of college prevailed (I needed the money for tuition and had no place to store it) and I let it go.

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  39. […] Ferraris here – which is still a pretty long list.  At the top of that list is my personal Eleanor, the 1987 Buick Grand […]