Ever wondered how The Fast and the Furious managed to make a fleet of crazy tuner cars on a movie budget of peanuts?
There’s no denying that The Fast and the Furious was a genre-defining movie. What began as a simple action film about the import tuner scene in California in the early 2000s has since gone to spawn a franchise 8 sequels long, with 2 more movies currently in development and the first spin-off film, Hobbs & Shaw, set to debut in August of this year.
While later movies have blockbuster budgets and crazy special effects, the very first Fast and Furious film had a budget about as large as most romcoms, which is next to nothing. The entire film had a budget of $39.2 million, and only $2 million of that could go towards the cars themselves. That includes all stunt cars, transportation, modifications, and repairs.
So how did the movie’s producers manage to get a fleet of 40 tuner cars for almost nothing? Technical director Craig Liberman is here to tell us the story of how everything was done. He’s been posting videos to his YouTube account with behind-the-scenes looks at how The Fast and the Furious was made since he had a hand in pretty much anything car-related in the film, which was most of it.
Liberman reveals in his video that most production companies would have simply bought and modified however many cars they needed for the film, but on Fast and Furious’ tight budget that just wasn’t possible. Instead, they rented the main “hero” cars from private owners and then made 4-5 replicas of that car with cheaply-purchased used versions.
A tuner car from the era might have cost $100,000 or more including the cost of the original vehicle, but the replicas used as stunt cars or backups were all created for just $30,000 or less. Sometimes a lot less; stunt cars were often just made close enough to fool the camera and were missing many of the technical and interior cosmetics of the real car.
Check out Liberman’s video for even more detail and his reasoning on why the selected the cars that they did. You can see even more behind-the-scenes stuff on his YouTube channel.