As the Fast and Furious franchise gears up for its big screen return with the fourth instalment, its creators have released a few interesting details from behind the scenes of what we can expect from its high-octane co-stars.
Unlike previous movies, the new film will concentrate on old-school American muscle with several cameos made by headlining imports from previous instalments together with a few new models.
From the old-school variety, Fast and Furious car coordinator Dennis McCarthy chose iconic models from the past such as the “Big Red” 1969 Camaro, a 354km/h open-road racer with almost 600kW of grunt, and the “Burt Reynolds Bandit” Trans Am.
These will join prominent muscle cars from the series such as the 1970 Dodge Charger from the first film, and the 1970 “Hammer” Plymouth Road Runner driven by Vin Diesel during his cameo at the end of the third movie.
Of course with none of these cars still in production, it has been a major task assembling a fleet of Fast and Furious vehicles which includes countless duplicates for filming.
“Reading the script, it was obvious this was going to be bigger than Tokyo Drift,” said McCarthy, who had the same job on that third Fast/Furious film. “And a lot more of them were going to be ‘specialty cars’ that we’d have to build ourselves.”
In total, there were six separate Dodge Chargers built to portray the hero car belonging to Vin Diesel’s character, ranging from small-block crate V8-powered stunt cars to a fully-restored Charger with a blown 528-cubic-inch Hemi sticking up through its hood for close-ups.
While these Frankenstein creations were used to keep costs down, some were also modified for practicality such as one of seven Buick Grand National GNX replicas which was built with its body placed on backwards so it could appear to be driving quickly in reverse.
For other cars flamboyance was key, with one of eight 1970 Chevelle SS coupes – built with a GM 502 big-block V8 and a spool rear end stuffed with 4.88:1 gears – had its rear end stuffed with over 300kgs of lead weights so that it would appear to ‘wheelie’ off the mark.
Although unlike previous instalments, very few manufacturers opted to supply vehicles for the film with the notable exception of Subaru who provided a small fleet of Impreza WRX STI’s to play one of Paul Walker’s rides.
In case you are reading this in the US, you may want to hunt down the post-production facilities for this film, with its creators apparently overwhelmed with carcasses of cars which were built to be wrecked – including five BMW 5 Series sedans which were dressed up to look like an M5.
The fourth Fast and Furious film is due to open in Australian on April 16.