For many muscle car aficionados out there, perhaps there are few other cars that fit the epic description as being the best of the best. The Ford Mustang belongs at the top of that list, as does the Challenger and of course the Camaro—in a few of its forms. But also on that prestigious list is no doubt the Dodge Charger. The car has been impressing motor heads for generations and for good reason. Essentially, it’s a beast inside and out, and performs at a level that few cars can. And of course at the same time, it looks great in any situation.
This is why the car has been favoured time and time again to be featured on screen, in TV or the big screen. It was chosen to be the main vehicle for one of the most iconic characters in cinematic history, Dominic Toretto, played by Vin Diesel. Back in 2001, the character came to life on the big screen and the sub-culture movement that would follow would become monstrous, creating a whole generation of race-culture and motor head enthusiasts like never before. And just as much as the actors who played in the film, the cars spoke for themselves and shone through just as well, especially the Charger.
This article is dedicated to the beast known as Toretto’s ride and we’ve got some interesting facts and even some trivia from the film you may not have known. So read on and test your Dodge Charger and Fast and Furious knowledge with this article.
20 A Drag Race For The History Books
Probably one of the most famous scenes in the first instalment of the film comes at the last eight minutes or so of the film. The character of Brian O'Connor has been chasing Dominic Toretto the whole time, infiltrating his gang of street racers and thieves in order to gain evidence of his wrong-doings. But Toretto just won't go back to prison. At the end of the film, Toretto challenges O'Connor to a drag and the results are nothing short of epic. I won't give away the ending, but stuff gets real and the scene directed by Rob Cohen delivers in action and emotion for any fan feeling the need for speed.
19 An Iconic Character's Main Ride
So it wasn't any wonder that the car would make not one but many repeat performances in the film franchise that would garner itself the title of greatest car film of the era. That's right, The Fast and The Furious franchise of films (we're up to eight now, and plans to make two more are in the works, including a spin-off series), created a huge subculture of street racers and motor heads like the world really hadn't yet seen.
We can also say that it sort of became a movement, as almost any neighbourhood in the free world was suddenly starting to see souped up cars racing down a quarter mile drag.
Well, it was Dominic Toretto, the leading character of the film that would favour the Charger.
18 A Fake Blower
Movie magic. What can we say, it's been that way since the motion picture industry began. It's almost like to be a performer, you've gotta have a knack for sleights of hand. Making the viewing public believe that something they see on screen is real is something that Hollywood has perfected over the years--just think of the horror movie genre as a whole, they've made us believe that Freddy Krueger is in fact real and can haunt us in our dreams. So, it didn't come as a shock, or it shouldn't have, to find out that the blower in the original RT featured in the Furious franchise was indeed fake. That's right, sorry to disappoint, but it wasn't real; just a prop.
17 Toretto's Nightmare Vehicle
In the script, Toretto built the charger with his father when he was a younger kid. However after his father passed on, he was reluctant to drive it, out of fear that it would bring him bad luck. He reveals this to Brian O'Connor, as the two get close over the course of the film, not knowing he's an undercover cop. Toretto has kept the car in the garage next to his house and under a tarp.
In the scene, the car looks almost as if it can breath, like some monster lying in wait.
The scene is quite effective, and when it's finally unleashed in the film's climactic scenes, it definitely has got a lot to say after being locked away for such a long time.
16 The First Ever Charger Was A Show Car
It makes perfect sense, as the body of the Charger, both past and present is indeed something to marvel at. It made the scene in 1964 and was designed by the Dodge brand to be a car that would garner attention for their name, and gather attention it did. In fact, it stole the show. Enough buzz was built around the vehicle, that Dodge decided to mass produces them and so was born the first generation of a car that would dominate the muscle car category and for years and years. To tell the truth, the model hasn't slowed down a bit, and many different models would be released by a company that definitely knows how to make a beast of a car.
15 The First Generation
Probably what makes the Charger recognizable almost instantly is that front end, the tight weave on the metal grill. Some but not many cars have that design, but the Charger wears it so well, doesn't it? The first generation ran from 1966 to 1967; not a long run indeed, but as you will read in this article, Dodge liked to keep things fresh and many designs would surface over the years. It was complete with a 5.2L V8 engine and four bucket seats. It fit in very well with the muscle cars of the era, and would garner for itself the edge.
14 Many Different Chargers Were Used In The Series Of Films
The car is such a beautiful display and mish-mash of the perfect mechanics and style, it was no wonder that it would become a scene-stealer in many of the eight films produced.
It has gotten to a point that if the car doesn't make an appearance, and a lengthy and significant one at that, fans get really disappointed.
Basically, it's like having lasagna without a layer of cheese; it just doesn't work, and it gets everybody asking: what happened? Where's the cheese? Well, they better make sure that the Charger is fully present for any future instalments in the franchise.
13 Second Generation Charger
The second generation charger had a two year run from 1968 to 1970. This is the charger we'll ask you to pay close attention to, as that generation is the generation featured as Dominic Toretto's main ride, with a few alterations of course. Sales actually increased with the new designs, and apparently it was modelled on a Chrysler B Platform. However many changes were made to the original model and generation the lights were changed significantly, as was the front end, the grill now divided at the center with a chrome partition.
12 Third, Fourth & Fifth Generation Chargers
As we said earlier, the Dodge company definitely kept the car fresh, releasing new models and generations ever few years or so .. that's why so many Chargers are in fact different from one another. The third, fourth and fifth generations did not disappoint either and were in fact all very successful in their own right. The third generation ran from '71 to '74, and the front end was now considerably different, 4 headlights were now present, two on each end of the grill. The fourth generation was probably the most different, the front end not like any of the previous models it ran from '75 to '78. And finally the 1981 Charger represented the eighties pretty well, as it had the styling of the era probably its least successful run to date. The Shelby model was a definite departure from where the car had been before.
11 The Off-Road RT
So by the time we got to the seventh film in the franchise, we thought we'd seen all we would of the old Charger. Well, fans got a kick in the stomach when they saw what the filmmakers had in store for the car that had defined the franchise up until that point.
There's a very good scene, probably the best action sequence in that seventh instalment when a little off-roading seems to be in order.
Well, if you were thinking that the cast would suddenly pull up in a few Land Rovers think again. The Charger was actually remodelled and souped up for off-roading, and like any other time on screen, the car performed beautifully.
10 Eleven Off Road Chargers Were Built For The 7th Film
As it turns out, a whopping eleven off-road beasts were made by the crew in order to film those scenes up in the mountains. When filming a movie of that magnitude, anything can happen, as the stunts - especially driving stunts are extremely dangerous, and the crew can leave no stone un-turned. Just imagine, they only would have made one, and something would have happened to it in a particular scene. Well, at that point production would have shut down and that can get quite costly. Imagine that it was cheaper to have made eleven of them instead!
9 The Mini RT
Well, as the car definitely grew into its own character, there was no doubt that toys would be produced to sell merchandise, making the film even more popular with the youth. Hot Wheels even released a whole series of Fast and Furious cars for kids to play with, not to mention a few scale model cars and the such. In fact, baby Jack, Mia and Brian's son - and Dominic's nephew in the film, actually can be seen playing with his uncle's RT. A miniature version of course, but still, the influence is there.
8 Character Roman Pearce's Phone Contact Image For Toretto
Roman Pearce, played by Tyrese Gibson is no doubt the comedy relief in the film. I can't tell you how many times he's made me crack up in a plethora of his scenes in the later films. There was a time when he was very serious, and the forerunner character of the film in the second instalment of the film, along with the returning Paul Walker (Brian O'Connor). But in the later films, he has taken on more of a supportive role, infusing it with a comedic take on every line.
A little bit of trivia about the character: his cell phone display for Dominic Toretto when he calls him, is none other than a Charger RT.
Guess the myth goes hand in hand with the street legend.
7 Dodge Ramcharger: Branch Extension
Dodge created this beast to go alongside the Charger almost a s a branch extension. If anyone thought that this would fail, well, they were wrong about that too. The ramcharger was the perfect vehicle to sell in tandem with a product that never disappointed--even during the whole Shelby faze of its existence. The truck definitely packed a punch and was very similar to the Charger as a whole, only it was a truck rather than a muscle car. Any collector would be fortunate to have it in his garage--preferably next to an RT. Now there's a match made in Heaven.
6 Vin Diesel Has A Deep Respect For The Car
Vin Diesel doesn't produce much work. If his filmography is studied, in the last twenty years, he hasn't starred in many films when compared to other actors his age who started at the same time. But he works at his own pace and that's fine. He's made a few bad choices, but the decision to return to the role of Dominic Toretto, after a hiatus from the second instalment was probably one of the greatest career moves he could have made. His fans definitely relate to the character he brought to the screen, an as it seems, they'll flock to theatres to see what he's up to time and time again. Diesel has respect for the role that brought his super stardom, and he has respect for the car that brought him there--as you can't have Toretto without the Charger.
5 The Sixth Generation
After the eighties, the world was waiting for something considerably different. Not that the Shelby and the other models offered in the fifth generation were terrible. It's just that they didn't suggest the status of power it had carried with its name during other generations. The same thing happened to the Mustang for Ford.
The late eighties and nineties weren't that car's best years either.
So when the car returned in 2006 with a new model and complete restructure after not being present for over a decade (that's right, the Charger missed the tumultuous 90s!), it definitely came out swinging.
4 Seventh & Current Generation
To say that the sixth and seventh generations were departures from any single style the Charger had before would be understating it big time. The newer models are fresh, but at the same time, they have the power beneath the hood we've come to love and respect. Is it as powerful looking as the first to fourth generations? If you ask us, we'd have to say no, but man do we love having it around. We as a whole are lucky to have the Charger still with us. Like the Mustang, it represents the absolute best in muscle cars and we can't imagine a world without it. The seventh generation premiered in 2011 and is still being produced, but interestingly enough, this model comes with a V6 engine--quite the departure from days past.
3 Send A Fast Car To Catch A Fast Car
The sixth generation is probably most known these days for being the vehicle selected by most police forces in North America to be the official police cruiser. That's right, gone are the days of the old Crown Victoria. Police chases are definitely a lot different than they used to be, that's for sure.
Many cities and states or provinces favour the Charger - the 2006 model - Dallas, Montreal, and Chicago are among the cities that use this car to catch criminals.
It's definitely a smart move, as the Charger is no doubt a stronger vehicle and one that will only help in crime prevention. We're only left to wonder what the costs of such a fleet of cars.
2 Hence, The Epic Escape Vehicle
So, after Diesel chose not to be in the second film in the franchise: 2 Fast, 2 Furious, he decided to return in Tokyo Drift, in a small capacity role, or cameo role. This was done with a a promise to then director Justin Lin, that he would reprise the role in a fourth instalment, reviving the Toretto character and continuing the story. Well, the fourth film got made, and it remains one of the very best in the franchise. The film was well written, and this time, it features Toretto helping Brian O'Connor and authorities to catch a criminal and the murderer of his long-time girlfriend, Letty. Well, at the end, no matter what he's done to help the authorities, they still decide to put him in prison. Well, Brian, forsaking all he knows as a cop, decides to spring him loose, and he brings the old RT along for the prison break to end all prison breaks.
1 The Future Of An Icon: In Film And On The Streets
Will the car be featured in the next two instalments of the film? That's hard to say, but if I were a betting man, I'd say that it should be a no-brainer. The car belongs on the screen just as much as Diesel and Dwayne Johnson do. As we've covered in this article, it has a life of its own and it breathed a lot of character into a film about cars. As far as on the streets, the Charger will always have a special bond with motor heads everywhere, as it should, and there's no way it'll be going away any time soon. A quality car just doesn't disappear for good. What kind of world would that be after all?
Sources: Wikia.com, Yandex.com, IMDB.com