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Vehicles of the Action-Thriller
The Fast and the Furious introduced the world to the underground world of street racing and underscored the differences among American muscle cars and Japanese and European imports. Throughout the franchise's history, each installment has tipped its hat to one without slighting the other. 2 Fast 2 Furious introduced the ultrasexy, NOS-fueled neon rainbow of vibrantly colored tuner toys of Miami, and they were replete with eye-popping graphics and unique designs. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift took audiences to the cradle of drifting with Tokyo's focus on modified tuner imports. Still, it couldn't resist a deserved nod to good old American heavy metal, with a rebuilt Mustang ready to do battle with tuner cars. Fast & Furious began the journey back to the core of push-the-limit street racing—with muscle cars leading the charge.

Most notable is the 1970 Dodge Charger, the supercharged monster that killed Dom's father and sealed Dom's fate as it became the heavy-metal icon of the series. Truly, it's the one car in the series with staying power. Despite being totaled twice (T-boned by a semitruck in The Fast and the Furious and barreling into an underground tunnel wall in Fast & Furious), it's the one vehicle that Morgan keeps resurrecting…to the chagrin of picture car coordinator DENNIS MCCARTHY (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and Fast & Furious).

Understandably, the Charger is an extension of Dom, so for the street racer to be without his Dodge is unthinkable. Beyond this symbolism in the series, McCarthy was happy to breathe new life into the workhorse. The picture car coordinator explains: "We made some changes to the Charger—bigger wheels and tires, better suspension, better steering—a lot of stuff that you'll never really see on screen. The blower was removed but we actually have a brand new Chrysler Hemi with a cross ram on it. The Charger gets to go do some racing, and it prevails every time.”

For Fast Five, McCarthy had five versions of the vintage Charger built and modified…albeit as more of a pared-down road warrior that is finally showing signs of wear and tear from its life on the run.

The automotive needs for this film were a bit different than on previous undertakings. As well, the casting call took on a different tenor for both the Puerto Rico and Brazil portions of filming. Considering the tastes of South America, a mix of European brands including Porsche, Volkswagen and BMW—as well as old-school U.S. classics like the Ford Maverick and Chevrolet Impala—McCarthy was able to find the cars he needed. A few well-placed calls to car connoisseurs in Atlanta, where the "Tuner Baile” party was filmed, delivered just the right amount of flash to the party.

The newest incarnation of the Charger, the high performance Dodge, closed the circle and took center stage as the car of choice to pull off the vault heist. When our heroes fail to find a car with both the speed and the heft to pull off the heist they've planned, they turn to the fastest cars in town: police interceptor vehicles. The newest Dodge Chargers were cast in the role of police Chargers and that of their evil twins. These modified, sweat-inducing, matte-black versions are known as the Vault Chargers, which were actually Charger SRT8s that housed bigger brakes and more horsepower to pull off the stunts.

The filmmakers were able to secure dozens of the popular model and, much to their delight, three of the highly coveted and, at the time, never-before-seen newly redesigned 2011 models. The Charger has fast become the car of choice for law enforcement around the world and served the script perfectly as a powerful, beefy car that has the muscle to get the job done. It was a coup that satisfied both the practical and aesthetic demands of filming for the filmmakers and McCarthy.

"When Dodge showed us the new Charger, we immediately knew it was going to work,” states Moritz. "Rarely do we collaborate so closely with one car manufacturer, but in this case it was an organic fit. Over the years, we've been able to tap into all of the American car brands and import tuner cars for a great mix of both cultures. I'm so proud to be able to showcase the best of those in this movie, and the franchise as a whole.”

"Dodge gave us more than 20 cars to use, and they sent a couple of the technicians down to modify the cars, along with our picture car fabricators and mechanics,” adds Fottrell. "They were so cordial and just willing to get in there and make it happen.”

Even if Walker didn't star in four Fast films, he would still be a gearhead. The actor, who now races competitively as a weekend warrior, is one of the true car aficionados who has worked in the franchise, with McCarthy and Moritz on his heels. When given the opportunity to talk cars, Walker displays a vast knowledge of this world.

He was enthusiastic with what McCarthy brought to the table for Fast Five. Walker offers: "The cars we're featuring are cars that have credibility and are the most viable, given the circumstances and what we're putting them through. We have the Nissan 370Z [2009] and brought back the Toyota Supra [1993], one of the best Japanese cars ever built, and the Nissan Skyline GT-R. We've done really well with car casting.”

The filmmakers brought in a legendary trio of target cars for the train heist—a 1972 De Tomaso Pantera, a 2007 Corvette GS Roadster and a Ford GT40. Because of the rigors of the shoot, the filmmakers went with replica models so they wouldn't have to put the $2-million GT40s through the paces. Says McCarthy: "When you get into the quantities of cars that we're destroying through that train heist sequence, I'd burn through the entire picture car budget with one vehicle. It was more feasible to find cars we could duplicate.”

Despite McCarthy's attempts at restraint, the destruction of close to 200 vehicles ensued by the final sequence of the film, which had an 8,000-pound vault littering the streets of Hato Rey, with the crushed metal of every car imaginable splayed about the roads.

Lin recalls the experience: "The train heist was a challenge. The logistics of doing a train heist were much greater than the land train that we had in the fourth one. On this film, we had to get permission to basically own a piece of a working railroad. Then we had to buy trains and build these trucks that were able to go up against the trains. I wanted a car to be jumping out of the train at full speed, and then there were trestles that become an obstacle for our characters. It was costly, and it took precise execution.”

Also cast for their beauty and speed were the 1999 Porsche GT3, the Lexus LFA and the 2011 Dodge Challenger. Gisele's Ducati Streetfighter is the lone motorcycle in the film and rounds out the fleet of "picture cars.” The Subaru STI, seen on screen in previous Fast films, took a behind-the-scenes role as a souped-up stunt camera car nicknamed the "Subie-cam,” to capture fast-driving action at lower-placed angles.

As the characters are faced with a fearsome opponent known as Hobbs, the filmmakers looked for a military vehicle that would mirror the menacing focus of the hard-as-nails FBI agent on the hunt for Dom and his crew. A 9.5-ton armored behemoth, known as the Gurkha F5 from Armet, fit the bill.

Even though McCarthy and his team of mechanics started building cars as soon as Fast Five was greenlit, they were still on a tight schedule to corral everything they needed as the script was fine-tuned. McCarthy and his mechanics began a tricky juggling act as they commissioned a four-pronged squad to build a multitude of vehicles at


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