The first Canadian built “Eleanor”
Don’s first car build started with the remake of Gone in 60 Seconds and the infamous “Eleanor” Shelby GT500.
“I just saw all the attention that car was getting,” Gasiunas says. “After I saw the movie in 2000, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and build one,” he smiles.
Not the typical build for the first timer, fortunately Don’s mechanical engineering background and large Rolodex meant that he could source the right people for his own Eleanor.
“That was the biggest challenge for me,” Gasiunas says. “Thankfully, I’m a pretty good judge of character. Actually, everyone’s been with me now for 16 years. They’ve been with me all of my builds, which is pretty amazing.”
After Gasiunas and crew found their car, they stripped it, sourced the required parts, and rebuilt it from the ground up, giving his the unique honour of being the first Canadian-built Shelby GT500 Eleanor.
The critical reception? “I won – oh jeeze – 50 to 60 awards within the first summer,” he says. “Everyone from kids to businessmen flocked to it. This was 2002, so it was the first time most people had seen the car in person.”
After seeing the fanfare around the car, Don decided to test the market.
“I build all my cars for myself,” he says “but if someone comes by and is interested, I’ll listen. And there was a lot of interest in this car right away.”
“I put it up on eBay just to see what kind of response it would get, and it just blew up,” he smiled.
One offer that stood out was a vague inquiry from a representative “for a major entertainer” who wanted to buy the car. After agreeing to terms, Gasiunas learned that his flawless (and first) build would be going into the garages of Jon Bon Jovi.
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His success and attention to detail brought his name to the forefront of Mustang resto-mod circles, but Don quickly showed that his vision could translate across multiple genres, as he moved into Camaros, rat rods, and a trio of trucks that includes a dropped 1963 Chevrolet C-10 with a beautifully-worn blue patina that is a sight for sore eyes.