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About The Cars
Cohen's casting needs extended beyond finding principal actors for The Fast and the Furious. He also had to choose cars that would deliver the right look, attitude and performance. "Those vehicles are really the co-stars of this movie," he explains. "this 'rice rocket' technology is a new thing. American muscle cars are based on the V-8 carburetor-based engine, but the import street racers use computer-controlled fuel injection.

"These are 21st century cars," Cohen continued, "and a five billion dollar industry has developed around the import add-on business, with the spoilers, bumpers, tires, rims, intercoolers, megaflows and other high performances parts that can be added. Out of this has come a new subculture which just keeps growing. Because now you can take your mom's Honda Civic, add $10,000 worth of parts to it, and wind up with a high performance racing car."

For up-to-the-minute authenticity, Cohen, Claybourne and Moritz tapped into the heart of the import car community. "When I did Dragon, I tied in with the martial arts community so that we could make a movie that was true to the narrowest target audience," Cohen revealed. "For The Fast and the Furious, we gave the script to Craig Lieberman, who heads NIRA (National Import Racing Association), and RJ De Vera, a former street racer and living legend, who is now an import car website entrepreneur and still involved in sanctioned racing. they corrected details which they felt were off-base, although we do take some dramatic liberties." Lieberman and De Vera participated in the film throughout production, as advisers and on-screen talent.

Assisting the filmmakers every step of the highway was David Marder, one of the industry's most respected transportation coordinators, who had already devoted his talents to such huge cinematic/automotive endeavors as Days of Thunder. "Rob had a very definitive picture in his mind of what this film should be," Marder recalled. "The cars he wanted to film were all show cars rather than street cars - vehicles you see at the car shows and on magazine covers. With massive help from Craig Lieberman, we organized automobile show-and-tells for Rob at Universal Studios with all different types of cars.

"We couldn't afford to do what we needed to do in the movie with cars worth $100,000, so once we chose a vehicle we then replicated it, sometimes in multiple versions. For example, we built seven different versions of our Mitsubishi Eclipse, which is the first car driven in the movie by Brian, the character Paul Walker plays."

The cars driven by the Toretto crew are some of the most spectacular that Marder could find, as was Brian's second car, a legendary Supra actually owned by Craig Lieberman. It's outfitted with turbochargers, NOS (Nitrous oxide) injection and over 600 horsepower. The Toretto cars include Dominic's sleek red RX7; Letty's (Michelle Rodriguez) purple 240SX; Jesse's (Chad Lindberg) white Jetta, a privately-owned show car that's been featured on three different magazine covers; Vince's (Matt Schulze) blue Nissan Maxima; and Leon's (Johnny Strong) yellow Skyline, a Japanese car not usually imported to the United States (there are fewer than 30 in the entire country), outfitted with right-hand drive, twin overhead cam, twin turbochargers and 450-500 horsepower. Johnny Tran (Rick Yune) drives a black Honda S2000, a factory rod in the mid-200 horsepower range, although this one revs through 9000 RPM.

The graphics that adorn the Toretto cars were designed by Troy Lee, another hot name in the import car field, but conceptualized and overseen by production designer Waldemar Kalinowski.

In addition to the hero cars, Dave Marder secured a number of "crotch rockets," thunderously fast Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki motorcycles driven<


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