Netflix has been leading the way in the streaming wars. While Hulu and Amazon are providing plenty of original shows online, Netflix were the ones who paved the way. They’ve increased their power in the last few years, from award-winning TV shows all the way to an Oscar-winning movie. They’ve also become popular for car buffs thanks to the scores of automotive shows they broadcast. Most are ones that already aired on cable to allow people to catch up but the service is also showcasing some originals shows.
A major one is Fastest Car. The title is self-explanatory as each episode has three sleeper cars take on a supercar to see which is fastest. While Netflix doesn’t release ratings, the series has obviously done well enough to earn a second season. While only eight episodes long, it packs a lot in with its detail to cars and a focus on the people behind them. The drag races of the cars going at it at a huge strip are pretty impressive.
The show does have some faults because the merits of the cars can be argued and it definitely manages to pack in some melodrama. But it also has some intriguing stuff for gearheads and it is impressive seeing how fast some of these older cars can go. Here are 20 things to know about this series and showcase why this is one of the more notable car shows to catch on Netflix.
20 Paul Walker Plays a Role
The late star of the Fast and Furious movies was always known as a serious gearhead. Yet it’s a bit surprising that he merits a big mention in the series. Erik Davis is a focused player in the first episode of the show and is known as a popular car racer and mechanic. He was also a good friend to Walker and discusses how they would work together on cars and race as well. Davis is emotional as he talks of how it felt to hear of Walker’s wreck in 2013 and how it affected him emotionally. He uses it as inspiration for his race and makes his car a tribute to his friend.
19 It Comes Down to the Driver
The series puts the focus on the cars a lot. It’s right there in the title; the desire to figure out which car is the fastest. Yet more than once, the owners point out how important the driver is to the equation. It’s openly stated that the fastest car in the world does no good when the person behind the wheel can’t handle it right. After the races, it’s speculated how the results might have been different if someone else had been behind the wheel of a losing car. The series may focus on the cars yet it also illustrates that the human element can be the most critical of all.
18 Many Drivers Are Home Schooled
The drivers are presented as an intriguing lot. Skip Reagan claims he was bullied by “bros” in high school so he became one out of revenge. He even has the license plate “REVENGE” on his Viper despite how his three competitors hardly fit the “bro” model. One man boasts of being homeschooled and doing the same for his children. When it comes to car building, almost all of them learned on their own or from their parents (who also learned on their own). Almost none of them have any real auto experience; it’s all been self-taught. Judging by the cars showcased on the series, they learned their lessons well.
17 The Strips Are Impressive
The drag races need a lot of room and thankfully, the show is able to have them. Episodes 1, 2, 5 and 7 utilize the Barstow-Daggett Airport in San Bernardino. Episode 4 takes place at the Calverton Executive Airport in New York. Episode 6 uses a runway at the Coleman A. Young International Airport just outside of Detroit. It’s noted how some different environments can affect the driving yet all boast some serious massive roadways to make the races work out. The final episode has the cars going at it on the El Mirage dry lake bed in the Mojave Desert. It’s pretty impressive watching these cars cut loose on the huge runways, which make the races look even better.
16 No Censors
The reason Netflix is becoming so popular for so many creators is the freedom it offers. The lack of censors is a major one. While it’s at the levels of HBO, Netflix doesn’t bleep out words like so many other reality TV shows. Thus, the sparks can fly a lot on this show. For the most part, it’s lighthearted and usually comes from a wild description of a car. A few can be more serious when the races are underway or other issues the driver reacts to. It really pops up in Episode 6, when a bad race altercation leads to a massive row. It shows a lot more freedom than other car shows on TV and helps Fastest Car stand out from the pack.
15 It Pushes the Underdog a Lot
The show really goes into how the “sleeper” owners are serious underdogs. It presents the owners of the supercars as rather pretentious and smug rich folks. True, Bryan Salamone seems to go out of his way to be the epitome of some rich guy who flaunts his wealth in outrageous ways. But the series goes a bit overboard on so many “underdog” stories. From a driver in a wheelchair to the various talks on how they’ve lost loved ones, the sleeper owners get the main focus of the show. They even openly claim to be more “real” car lovers than “someone who just bought one: of the cars, which ignores how the supercar owners pour work into them, too.
14 The Rules Can Shift
One annoyance of the show is that the rules for the races seem to shift about. It’s not clear how much time passed for the filming and thus how some races may have influenced later ones. It’s stated that each car gets only one false start and will be disqualified if they have two. However, a later episode has two drivers disqualified for just one false start. It also seems to shift in the introductions as to just how much speed can put in for the driving and who gets a certain spot at the starting line. There’s also how the final race takes place on a dirt road yet holds to the same rules as on the regular strips. This ignores how a dirt road will change things up.
13 It Boasts Batgirl
Episode 7 focuses on Debbie Foreman, who’s become rather popular on car-related social media. Foreman is famous for taking her 2016 Lamborghini Aventador SV and making it look like the Batmobile. She adds to it by donning a Batgirl costume and posing with it online. "I always loved Batman,” Foreman says. “Just what he represented. You don’t have to have superpowers to be a superhero. I just kinda related to that.” Foreman goes around providing charity rides to ill children in costume. It’s a fun thing for a little kid to get a ride in this car and Foreman loves it. Even the other racers had to give her props and note how her passion for racing is matched by her great heart.
12 The Car Details Are Great
The majority of every episode focuses on the cars being put together and the detail is amazing. The sleeper owners go very in depth on how they got these cars and showcase how they’re put together. More than a few are literally taken apart to add in new engines and other parts to spark up their power and the series showcases how it’s done nicely. Even the supercar owners can go into detail on the power of their cars and how they truly put some good work into them. Whether a serious gearhead or a casual viewer, anyone can enjoy the show’s car details.
11 The “Sleepers” Can Be Unique
The sleeper cars get a lot more focus on the show. After all, it’s one thing to have a naturally fast car and another to build up an older model into a speedster. Several of these cars can be unique. There’s actually a Ford Pinto with the owner defending its terrible reputation. There’s a beautiful 1927 Dodge Hot Rod and a 1946 Plymouth Coupe. An 1984 Cutlass hits the road with a 1983 Supra, while another guy pushes a 1978 Chevy van. All of them have been reworked with some good new engine parts so a few can be amazingly fast. The series loves to show how nearly any car can be transformed into something amazing and some of these sleepers can be underrated classics.
10 It’s 3-On-1
The races are a big deal with the sleepers against the supercars. The point of it is that there are three sleepers going against one supercar. The sleepers are competitors, not allies, so as much as they want to show up the supercar, they also want bragging rights. Yet at the same time, it’s clear the sleepers are united in proving their cars are better than the faster one. As such, they’re willing to work together in the race. The supercar owner knows all three are trying to show him up and so it’s basically a three-on-one race. That sparks it up a bit and makes this series notable for how the big race has so many players facing off.
9 The Engines Get Dubbed
There’s a trope that reality is unrealistic. It pertains to how some viewers can brush off something as fake when it’s true because it’s not what they’ve seen on TV. Reality TV uses that as quite a few shows have to play around with automotive bits in order to be more entertaining. More than a few viewers will note that several of the engines on the series should be quiet, including a couple of electric ones. Instead, they all sound like massive monsters that make jet engines seem low-key. It’s jarring that a show that boasts about the realism of cars has to fudge the sounds of the engines to excite viewers.
8 It Can Get Heated
For the most part, the races are pretty sedate in terms of attitude. A few racers may take it a bit more seriously than others but they tend to get along well. However, Episode 6 is different. The drivers are told they can have just one burnout before they cut loose. Ryan Vuich was having trouble with his Sonoma, to the point where his buddy had to douse his wheels with water to keep them going. He erupted and that was before another car suffered its own burnout and was allowed to go on. This leads to a massive row with plenty of words flying. Most of the show can be good but this proves how heated the races can get.
7 The Racers Are Friends
The racers may clash a few times and that’s only natural given that there’s a lot of pride and bragging rights on the line and each wants to prove they’re the best. Yet the series showcases how they do tend to be friends. Many have raced against each other numerous times and know each other well. There’s talk about the bond these racers have and even when they compete, they respect each other. Even some of the supercar owners are treated well because they are serious about racing even if they take a different attitude toward it than their competitors.
6 The Races Are FAST
Say what else about the show but it lives up to its title in regards to the races. Indeed, it’s a bit jarring that after spending nearly forty-five minutes building to the race, the actual event is over before you know it. The entire race can take only ten seconds from start to finish. There can be complaints about how this really isn’t enough time to properly judge the cars. After all, a few automobiles can have slow starts but then finish great on a longer path while quick starters can fade out in the stretch. The races are amazing for their speed yet it can be jarring that after so long focusing on the drivers, the actual race can be somewhat anti-climactic.
5 It Addresses Safety Issues
While the point of the show is to prove which car is fastest, the owners are fully aware of the risks of such antics. A few are experienced at drag racing yet emphasize how safety is always a priority. More than one admits they were pretty reckless in their youth but have toned things down. While the show has the mechanics putting together these engines to be fast, they’re also clear on the safety factors. Everyone wears proper headgear for the races themselves and they discuss how to make these fast cars as safe as possible in case something goes wrong.
4 There’s No Host
A bit of a surprise for the show is that there is no host when a host is considered critical to so many car shows. Instead, Fastest Car uses no host and no narration at all. Viewers get voice-overs from the car owners as they relate their stories and show how they work on these automobiles. It’s very stylized and almost like a big-screen documentary. This makes the show feel more intimate and puts the focus truly on the drivers. It’s a bit different to have a racing show with no host at all but it can add an appeal that other series can’t match.
3 The “Sleepers” Can be Strong
One complaint about this show is that some of these “sleeper” cars are actually not that bad. Yes, there is a Pinto which nicely sells the “underdog” aspect. Yet others clearly aren’t that bad cars at all. The first episode boasts a rat-rod based on a 1924 Dodge pickup, a giant 1964 Chevrolet, and a slammed, 1000-hp minivan with a blow-off valve that howls like thunder. That’s not mentioning how all of them have been upgraded with some serious power. One worker boasts he never puts out a car without “at least a hundred thou under the hood” to show how much work goes into them. As much as the series pushes the “slow vs fast” car motif, a lot of the sleepers roar nicely.
2 Some “Supercars” Aren’t So Super
Just as some of the sleepers are strong, a few of these supposed “supercars” aren’t as imposing as they may appear to be. Sure, the Huracan is a powerful machine but there are some Lambos that are much better. The show boasts about the McLaren being a fantastic speed machine…only it’s a 2013 MP4 which has actually been replaced. The fact that in seven races, there are only three Lamborghinis takes away a bit from the “supercar” mentality. There are no Corvettes or other machines that could easily take the place of so many Lambos. It’s harder to take the title seriously when so many fast cars are ignored.
1 The Cars are Secondary
Some fans complain that the cars aren’t really the focus of the show. Sure, it goes in depth on the builds and how they remodel the automobiles, but for the most part, the show focuses on the racers themselves. It does push the melodrama a tad overboard.. It talks of folks who had hard lives and pulled themselves up to embrace racing. Even the supercar owners are given focus as people who worked hard to get enough money to afford these cars and enjoy them. It really does seem the show is more about the people than the cars, which may put some gearheads off. Yet the human touch of race driving grounds the series well.
Sources: Jalopnik, Reddit, and Wikipedia.