One of the appeals of The Fast and Furious movies that audiences can count on in each installment are the cars. It’s always a surprise what rides they’ll feature, whether it’s an insane Mazda RX-7 or ones out of left field like the Yenko Camaro. Regardless of the car’s quality, they all end up piquing the viewer’s interest and are the true stars of the films.
Astute viewers though will note slight changes to their beloved vehicles as they’re presented on the silver screen. Their eyes aren’t deceiving them because the filmmakers build most of the cars throughout the Fast and Furious franchise.
It may look like a Supra Turbo on the outside when really it’s a fusion of several cars. That’s the way the film industry works, making it all about appearances. Read cars built for the Fast and Furious movies for some examples.
In a video by Wired, the builder behind them had this to say about his cars: “The biggest compliment I can pay them is reminding them that there was more than a few times that I had to use my alarm remote to figure out which car in the lineup of replicas was my actual car.” It says a lot about the fake cars that they were able to trick owners.
As the site Fast and Furious Facts points out though, there’s always what’s called a “hero,” or principle, car. Since there are often many versions of one car made, the hero car looks the best and is the one in which all others copy.
We’re going to look at a handful of real or hero cars from throughout the franchise, along with a number that were all fake and surprised us.
20 Real: Nissan Skyline
It pays to have an actual car enthusiast like Paul Walker on a film set. He ended up driving on his very own while filming Fast and Furious 4. According to Top Gear, while there were many versions of the Skyline to show up in the film, Walker’s is the only real deal. The same source notes that the other eight Skylines the filmmakers used had VW Beetle chassis’ and plastic bodies.
It’s worth mentioning that Walker’s car had lots of mods. After Walker’s passing, they put the car up for sale and as expected, still looked like it was in perfect condition.
19 Real: Dodge Challenger Demon
It may not be as impressive as some of the other real cars to appear in Fast and Furious, but the Dodge Challenger Demon was real. The first time viewers got to see this car was in a silver version on the trailer for The Fate of the Furious. One has to remember that this was back before the Dodge Challenger Demon came out.
According to Autoblog, there was even a video with Vin Diesel on what appears to be the set of the eighth film standing next to two Dodge Challenger Demons. It makes sense considering Diesel drives a 1970 Dodge Challenger in the films.
18 Real: 1963 Chevy Corvette Grand Sport
In the fifth film of the franchise, Fast Five, Dominic Toretto drives a 1963 Chevy Corvette Grand Sport. This car’s beautiful silver exterior looks incredible in the desert with sand kicking up behind it. SAYS Entertainment reports that the car is worth between $5-$10 million since there are only so many left today.
This number might worry those who remember what happens to the car in the film when it plunges into a river. The good news is that the real version, according to the same source, survived filming. They only used the real one to shoot actors driving around in and not for action sequences.
17 Real: 2017 Subaru BRZ
Aside from a few mods, this car for all intents and purposes is stock. Featured in The Fate of the Furious, this slick and pretty car has an appealing aesthetic. According to YouTube user Gjeebs, the one in the movie had Toyota tires with a custom mesh front. The most obvious mod is the widebody kit. Other than that, it’s safe to say all the internal parts are stock.
Although Dennis McCarthy, the man behind the film’s cars, said he would’ve added a turbocharger if they had had time, according to Autoblog. That would have only made this car more appealing.
16 Real: Nissan IDx
Every once in a while, these movies show off a car that really drops jaws. The Nissan IDx was not only one such car but the real deal as well. It’s a concept car that was noteworthy enough to even catch the Rock’s attention. In a video made while shooting The Fate of the Furious, the Rock pointed out this car, adding that it’s worth $2 million (Motor Trend).
He went on to note that he doesn’t fit in any of them though. The car’s exterior is what stands out the most. It actually only appeared in the final cut of the movie briefly though.
15 Real: 2016 Mercedes AMG GT S
The 2016 Mercedes AMG GT S is a thing of beauty. Dennis McCarthy, who managed all the cars on the Fast and Furious films put it best: “Amazing performance, yet each comes with every amenity needed for a romantic road trip to Santa Barbara with the wife.”
Some of the best cars out there are the ones that manage to achieve both luxury and performance. In the movie though, it’s used for totally different purposes. Tej drives it in The Fate of the Furious in New York, focusing more on the performance side than all the luxury it has to offer.
14 Real: 1971 Plymouth GTX
As far as one can tell, the 1971 Plymouth GTX looks like the real McCoy. There are theories though that it’s a 1972 instead. Whatever the case may be, the one who got to work on all these cars behind the scenes had a strong affinity for it. Dennis McCarthy picked it as one of his favorites he worked on, which appeared in The Fate of the Furious.
Dom drives it through the streets of New York. McCarthy said, as per Autoblog, “This car in black, with 16-inch wide rear tires and a stance that’s as low as we could physically accomplish, gives it a very dark and ominous presence.”
13 Real: International MXT
The character of Hobbs doesn’t settle for conventional vehicles. Instead, he opts for something more menacing, like the International MXT. We’ve touched on this vehicle before along with his others, which you can look up in 20 Facts About the Rock’s rides in the franchise.
This one has to be one of the more epic ones. According to Truck Trend, it comes with a 6.0-liter V8 that’s able to do a whopping 340 hp. For a truck that size, it’s surprising there’s that much power behind it. Like the Rock himself, the vehicle looms over everything else that dares go near it.
12 Real: 1966 Chevy Corvette
It isn’t 100% clear whether the 1966 Chevy Corvette is the real deal or not, but there’s evidence supporting it’s genuine. Autoblog interviewed Dennis McCarthy at his shop as he went through a number of cars from the movies. In it, he referred to the red Corvette, which Letty drives, as a hero car. While he may have referenced the hero car they made, the way it looks like bona fide quality.
Autoblog also notes that the cars they choose relate to the characters and their personalities. A lot goes into making these cars, many of which may only appear for a minute or less on-screen when totaled up.
11 Real: Ripsaw Tank
Out of all the awesome vehicles to appear throughout the franchise, few would imagine that the tank from The Fate of the Furious was real. What makes it so unique is how much power is behind it. According to Mashable, thanks to its V8 engine, it’s able to do 750 hp and can reach a top speed of about 100 mph.
This was a creation of Howe & Howe Technologies, who also had their own TV show. The tank ends up being a highlight of the film, so it’s a pleasant surprise to discover the tank is actually real.
10 Fake: Dodge Charger R/T
We’re sorry to break it to Fast and Furious fans—and even more so to car enthusiasts—but Dom’s Charger is a big fat faker. According to Wired, this car did some great things in Furious 7 that it would never do ordinarily, such as off-roading. That required the team behind these builds to modify the Charger.
As the man behind Dom's Charger, Dennis McCarthy, shared with Wired: “It’s obviously hard to make a Charger into an off-road car...” The same source points out that they built the seven Chargers used in the seventh movie from scratch. For more Dodge sacrilege, check out pictures of Charger mods that make no sense.
9 Fake: 1994 Toyota Supra MK IV
Say it ain’t so! Fans of the iconic Toyota Supra from the original Fast and the Furious may find it hard to accept the cold reality that it's not real. The car driven by actor Paul Walker does, however, gain value even if it’s heavily modified. According to Motor Authority, the original car ended up selling at auction in 2015 for a healthy $185,000.
Dennis McCarthy hadn’t joined the franchise yet, so Eddie Paul was the one responsible for building multiple versions of the car for the movie. Sadly, the original car didn’t even have a turbocharger and could only do 230 hp.
8 Fake: Jensen Interceptor
There’s no shortage of fake cars in the Fast and Furious franchise, for which this list is proof of. When picking which to include, we had to pick the ones that stood out the most. With that being the case, the Jensen Interceptor is a shoo-in.
The Wrap spills the beans on this car appearing in Fast & Furious 6 when Letty—played by Michelle Rodriguez—is working under the hood. Many might wonder why the film producers would showcase a fake car front and center, but they forget that most of the audience won't have a clue that it's not real.
7 Fake: Chevy Fleetline
It’s the infamous car that bursts into flames, forcing Dom to switch into reverse and guns it down the street. The 1950 Chevy Fleetline has an old-school look and looks raw with its entire front clip missing. They wanted to make the car look unfinished, like a work in progress, and they certainly succeeded. They couldn’t go about doing that to a real one though, could they?
Wired made a video with Dennis McCarthy, the one behind the cars, who included the Fleetline in his list of cars that he built. Perhaps the movie’s title should change to “The Fake of the Furious.”
6 Fake: 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse
Ever since this car made an appearance in the original film, it left an impression on gearheads. There were many versions of this car for the original film, but we’ve yet to track down a real one. It would seem that they’ve all gotten major mods. Apparently, a bunch of the vehicles from the movies went up for sale and the Mitsubishi Eclipse of the lot had some work done to it.
Drive Tribe reports that the car got so modded, it’s not even street legal. They go on to note that it's typical for the cars featured in the movie that went up for sale though.
5 Fake: Lamborghini Murcielago LP640
It may look convincing on the outside, but the insides tell a different story. YouTube user Tavarish ended up landing the actual Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 used in The Fate of the Furious. In the video, Tavarish gets a call from a friend about whether he’s interested in buying the hero version of the Murcielago from the movie. The video title even dubs it the “cheapest in the world.”
According to GT Planet, some of the alterations include a Jaguar V6 engine instead of the 6.5-liter V12. They also used a Porsche Boxster transaxle instead. Some purists would never give this hero car the time of day, but others would bite at the opportunity to own a hero car.
4 Fake: Ferrari FXX
Previously featured in our photos of people that broke Ferrari’s regulations and used a fake car is this Ferrari FXX. Showing up first in a trailer for Fast & Furious 6 during the Super Bowl, Motor1 serves as evidence that it didn’t take long for the internet to catch on. They look at the headlights and fenders as the giveaways, revealing it’s nothing but a replica.
It makes sense from a filmmaking standpoint considering how expensive these cars are. At the same time, the producers know they have to show off incredible cars throughout the roughly 120 minutes of movie runtime.
3 Fake: 1993 Mazda RX-7
It all seems to point to the fact that the 1993 Mazda RX-7 isn’t authentic. For one thing, Dennis McCarthy—the guy who built the cars—talked about it in a video by Wired. It helps that the scene where Dom drives it is at night where the details are more masked and harder to see. McCarthy shares his favorite part about the scene:
“My favorite aspect of that was when Dom lifts up the seat cushion and it has the multiple miniature nitrous bottles. I thought that was just a great moment in the very first one.” Maybe it would’ve been better if the originals had come with this cushion lid.
2 Fake: 1994 Acura Integra GS-R
We know at least one of the 1996 Acura Integra GS-Rs used in the film was fake. The replica even went up for sale online. Motor Authority reports that Bill Kohl and Samko Racing Enterprises worked on the car, decking it out with a Wings West RS Racing body kit.
There’s a 1.8-liter engine that’s supposed to do 170 hp too. There’s also a clue into the other Integra GS-Rs being fake from the first film. According to the same source, this is the only one remaining. Now, if one of them was the real deal, wouldn’t they have kept it around?
1 Fake: 1997 Nissan 240SX
There’s something suspicious going on with the 1997 Nissan 240SX from The Fast and the Furious. Gearheads don’t have to do too much guessing though since Wired included it on a video with Dennis McCarthy running through his favorite cars he worked on in the franchise. It belongs to Letty, which she steers to victory over an overconfident Mazda driver.
More than likely we’re seeing the hero car when Michelle Rodriguez sits behind the wheel while talking to her competition. When it takes off though, it’s got to be something else entirely, or the filmmakers just have too much money to burn through.
Sources: Fast and Furious Facts, YouTube, Top Gear, GT Planet, Autoblog, Mashable, SAYS Entertainment, Motor Trend, Motor1, Wired, The Wrap, Truck Trend, Motor Authority, Drive Tribe