Fast fast cars
Top 20 Cars of “The Fast and the Furious” Series
Love them or hate them, the movies in “The Fast and the Furious” franchise deliver on what they promise: gratuitous action and lots of cars. The plots may only hold water until you start to think about them, but each film seems to outdo the last in terms of physics-defying stunts and the rarity and quality of the sheetmetal on screen. With hundreds of cars featured over the years, it’s tough to choose just a handful. Nevertheless, here are our top 20 cars from the first six films.
1970 Dodge Charger
At the end of the first film, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) races Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) in his father’s 1970 Dodge Charger, which is said to have 900 hp. After just missing being hit by a freight train, the Charger hits a truck and flips through the air. Although it looks like the Dodge muscle car’s racing days are over, the car returns for films 4 and 5 to break Toretto out of a prison transport bus.
Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R
Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R
At the beginning of 2003’s “2 Fast 2 Furious,” Brian O’Conner drives an R34-generation Nissan Skyline GT-R. He enters the car in a four-way street race, where he jumps the twin-turbo, all-wheel-drive coupe off a bridge before getting car-tasered by the cops. The R34 returns in the fourth installment, though it’s unclear if O’Conner installed a “Gallo 12” or “Gallo 24” engine this time around.
No, the bright green Mitsubishi Eclipse from the first film hasn’t aged well. But despite the tacky graphics, over-the-top body kit, and neon underbody lighting, the car has become one of the most iconic of the series. Although it’s never made clear exactly which model is featured in the film, a 210-hp, turbocharged, 2.0-liter inline-four and all-wheel drive came standard on the second-gen Eclipse GSX. The “danger to manifold” warning and drop-away floor pan, however, did not.
The original Acura NSX made appearances in several films in the series, but it was most prominently featured in films 4 and 5. Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) drives a black late-model NSX-T with parts from the Japanese-market NSX-R. The mid-engine sports car’s total screen time is brief, but its presence is definitely welcome.
The Honda S2000 probably isn’t the first car that comes to mind when you think of drag racing, but in the world of “The Fast and the Furious,” it’s apparently a top choice. Johnny Tran (Rick Yune) drives an S2000 with an estimated “hundred grand under the hood” at Race Wars, where he wins thanks to a strategically timed nitrous shot. In the second film, Suki (Devon Aoki) jumps a hot pink S2000 off a drawbridge and lands with only minor cosmetic damage.
Toyota Supra Mark IV
Toyota Supra Mark IV
The Supra was one of the star cars of the first film, rescued by O’Conner from a junkyard and brought back to life in Toretto’s garage. Despite not being a twin-turbo model (revealed when the hood is opened), the crew is impressed with O’Conner’s find. It’s at this point that one of the most quotable lines of the movie is uttered: “You know what? This will decimate all, after you put about 15 grand in it or more. If we have to, overnight parts from Japan.” On the car’s maiden drive, O’Conner and Toretto race and beat a Ferrari F355 Spider that they’re told is “more than [they] can afford, pal.”
Mazda RX-7 FD
The FD-generation Mazda RX-7 appears several times throughout the series. In the first film, it’s the car Toretto uses to win O’Conner’s ride. In “2 Fast 2 Furious,” an FD RX-7 participates in the opening four-way street race. Then in “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,” Han (Sung Kang) drives an RX-7 with a custom VeilSide wide-body kit — one of the most memorable cars of that film. Not long ago, Motor Trend had the opportunity to drive an RX-7 Spirit R. With the FD’s sequential twin-turbo engine and near-50/50 weight distribution, we can see why the rotary-powered sports car would be a top choice for the illegal street-racing crowd.
RB-Swapped 1967 Ford Mustang
1967 Ford Mustang
In the final scenes of “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,” Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) drives a 1967 Ford Mustang formerly owned by his father. The twist is that this pony needs a new engine, and being that the movie takes place in Japan, the natural choice is the twin-turbo, 2.6-liter RB26 inline-six out of the Nissan Skyline GT-R. Forget for a moment the amount of fabrication such a swap would require, and you can accept that the Nissan engine is the only choice for the Mustang’s new beating heart. Whether you call it blasphemy or car pornography, there’s no denying that this Mustang is one unique build.
1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
At the start of “Tokyo Drift,” Boswell drives a 1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Despite winning a race against a first-gen Dodge Viper, the Monte Carlo loses control and rolls until it’s nothing but a twisted pile of metal. That’s too bad because the car was quite the looker even with its primered hood and patchwork paint job. The original Monte Carlo was available with a big-block 454-cubic-inch V-8 making 360 hp.
1969 Chevrolet Yenko Camaro
© Universal Pictures 1969 Chevrolet Yenko Camaro
One of the bad guys in “2 Fast 2 Furious” drives a ’69 Yenko Camaro. The muscle car is won by Brian O’Conner after a race for pink slips, and it’s used in the second half of the movie to evade cops and jump onto a boat. The car used in the film was a replica, which is good considering genuine Camaros prepared by famed dealership Yenko Chevrolet are some of the most sought-after collector cars in all of autodom.
1987 Buick GNX
© Universal Pictures 1987 Buick GNX
Dominic Toretto inexplicably chooses an ultra-rare 1987 Buick GNX for a tanker truck heist in the fourth film. The GNX was the last of the turbo Buicks. Based on the Grand National, it it came stock with a turbocharged, 3.8-liter V-6 rated at 245 hp and 355 lb-ft of torque. However, many reports of the day suggest those numbers were underrated. Just over more than 1000 GNX coupes were made. AltThough no GNXs were hurt during the making of “Fast & Furious,” seven Grand Nationals disguised as GNXs were sacrificed.
1970 Ford Escort RS1600 Mk 1
This rally-bred classic was a welcome sight in “Fast & Furious 6.” The original European-market Ford Escort was a force to be reckoned with in the late ’60s through the mid-’70s, especially in RS1600 and RS2000 guise. The car used in the film, driven by Brian O’Conner, is a 1970 Ford Escort RS1600. The original car was powered by a 16-valve, twin-cam, 1.6-liter Cosworth BDA four-cylinder engine that made roughly 113 hp. That may not sound like much, but consider that the Escort weighs less than 2,000 pounds. The small but mighty coupe faces off against a tank in the sixth film.
F-Bomb Chevrolet Camaro
© Universal Pictures F-Bomb Chevrolet Camaro
David Freiburger, Roadkill host, built the F-Bomb 1973 Camaro as an experiment to see how far you could take a car while still maintaining its street-legal status. The result was the twin-turbo, 1,500-hp, olive drab-finished beast that “Fast & Furious” director Justin Lin just had to include in his film. Dominic Toretto drives a replica of the F-Bomb toward the end of the film and uses it to ram into the bad guy in one of the final scenes.
© Universal Pictures Ramp Car
Looking more like something out of the “Mad Max” universe, the ramp car was purpose-built to flip other vehicles, and its low profile and wedge-like front end make it perfectly suited for that job. The car is custom-built, though it resembles an open-wheel race car. Despite its Formula 1 look, the vehicle relies on a pushrod V-8 engine and three-speed automatic transmission for propulsion.
Corvette Grand Sport
This beauty is featured in the fifth installment of the series. The Grand Sport is driven off a speeding train before careening off a cliff and into a watery grave. Luckily, the car that meets its doom in the film is a replica, as only a handful of original cars exist today. The Corvette Grand Sport was a homologation special built so Chevrolet could take the lighter, more powerful ‘Vette racing in the 1960s. Replica or not, the car used in the film looks stunning.
Another ultra-rare car from the fifth movie’s train heist is the Ford GT40, which plays a much bigger role in the film than the Corvette. The Ford GT40 is retrofitted with a navigation system that has stored all the locations where the bad guy hides his ill-gotten riches. The car is a replica of a road-going Ford GT40, a sports car that was produced in very limited quantities in order to make the GT40 race car eligible for competition. That car dominated sports car racing in the mid- to late-’60s, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans four consecutive times between 1966 and 1969.
In the sixth movie, Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) drives a matte-gray Jensen Interceptor. Small British sports car maker Jensen Motors built the Interceptor between 1966 and 1976. Although you might expect the Interceptor to be powered by a British inline-six, under the hood is a 383- or 440-cubic-inch Chrysler V-8. The car in the movie is pitted against a Dodge Charger Daytona in a race through the streets of London.
1969 Dodge Charger Daytona
1969 Dodge Charger Daytona
As the sequels progress, the cars become increasingly rare and more exotic. The Charger Daytona is definitely up there in terms of rarity. A legend in NASCAR racing, the Charger Daytona and its twin, the Plymouth Superbird, are distinguished by their elongated “nose cone” and huge decklid-mounted wing. The car seen in the film is actually a regular ’68 Charger dressed up to look like a Daytona.
1971 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R
© Universal Pictures 1971 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R
In “Fast Five,” Brian O’Conner buys a 1971 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R, the first car to ever wear the storied GT-R badge. The KPGC10 GT-R sported a twin-cam, 2.0-liter inline-six and was successful in racing throughout the early ’70s. Unlike later iterations of Godzilla, the first GT-R was rear-drive. The car is only used in a few scenes but is a welcome sight nonetheless.
1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS
© Universal Pictures 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS
Although “The Fast and the Furious” franchise’s original focus was mainly on the import scene, many subsets of car culture have been included over the years. The muscle car set was well represented in the fourth film, and the 1970 Chevelle SS was a prime example. The car is driven by Dominic Toretto, who races it against an E39-chassis BMW M5 before self-destructing it in a bid to take out the bad guy.