If you've ever watched The Fast & The Furious, there's a good chance you found yourself wondering where the cars came from and what happened to them during filming. We don't have to wonder anymore, because Craig Lieberman, one of the film's senior producers, lays it all out on the table in his latest series of YouTube videos—the newest which focuses on one of the franchise's most iconic cars: Dom's Dodge Charger.
Although there were eventually several classic American cars that made their way into the movies, Dom’s Dodge Charger was the first and most prominent muscle car featured in the franchise. According to Lieberman, the main Charger from the first movie was a 1970 car with a few parts from a 1969 model. He says that, while there were probably five Dodges built for the movie, the exact number is unknown because the studio worked with a separate company to gather cars for the film.
In his video, Lieberman explains that there was one main hero car and at least four stunt cars. The hero car was used for the initial garage-scene close up with Vin Diesel's Dominic Toretto and Paul Walker's Brian O'Conner. It had the instantly recognizable Hemi with a giant blower sticking out of its hood, but as Lieberman explains, it was all cinematic trickery. As good as it looks, he says the car never moved under its own power with that engine. The motor was actually borrowed from Chuck Taylor Racing Engines and was used only for that shot. The engine that actually moved the car was a 1957-1958 392 cubic-inch Hemi that had been bored and stroked to 445 ci. It’s still an impressive powerplant, but not as crazy as the film would have you believe. Interestingly, the sounds we hear from Dom’s car in the movie aren’t from a supercharged car either. They were dubbed in from another big block car but lack the classic whine that we hear from supercharged vehicles.
The stunt cars had a “dummy” blower attached to the hood, an example of which Lieberman points out in the legendary drag race scene at the end of the movie. Dom is revving the Dodge with everything he’s got, but the blower fan isn’t turning at all. Lieberman then goes on further to ruin the illusion of the rest of the scene with an explanation of how the car did a wheelie and by telling us how the stunts worked. It took an impressive bit of driving to launch the Dodge, but it’s much more fun to watch the scene without thinking too hard about how it was put together.
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