Thursday, April 4, 2013

Fast and Furious Muscle

With the sixth entry to the Fast & Furious franchise hitting theaters next month, I thought I'd take a look at some of the great cars to have appeared in the films. Specifically, I'm looking at the muscle cars, which stand out against the predominantly Japanese cars that dominate the series, like the Skylines and Evos. I've divided the cars into their respective films, and photo credit goes to IMCDb.

The Fast and The Furious
The first film was based on the street racing scene in Los Angeles, California. Paul Walker starred as an undercover cop named Brian O'Conner, and Vin Diesel played street racer Dominic Toretto. The story integrated a motorcycle gang, as well as a truck hijacking crime ring.

Toretto drives a modified RX-7 early in the film, but later gets behind the wheel of an awesome 1970 Dodge Charger. Painted all-black with a giant blower, it was a sweet ride, but it gets wrecked in the film's climactic last race. Despite its destruction, the Charger would be Dom's trademark car in later iterations of the franchise.

The only other muscle car in the film was also Dom's, and only appeared briefly in an extra scene after the credits. The car is a 1970 Chevelle SS, and it too returned for a later film.

2 Fast 2 Furious
The second film ditched Toretto's character altogether, focusing on Brian's undercover lifestyle. This time around, he's teamed up with an old pal named Roman Pearce, played by Tyrese Gibson. The two of them are tasked with stopping a drug smuggling operation by infiltrating it. Somehow this involves street racing.

One scene involves a street race to determine who will get the job of transporting the illegal merchandise. One of the competitors drives this Saleen S281 Mustang, but it gets obliterated under the wheels of a semi truck.

Brian and Roman eventually need new cars, and so they race for pinks against a set of muscle cars, beating them in a tag-team style showdown. O'Conner trades his Evo for this 1969 Yenko Camaro Replica. The Camaro plays a large role in the film's climax, which involves a ridiculous jump into a yacht.

While Brian is driving the Camaro, Roman gets this 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T to replace his Mitsubishi Eclipse. It gets outfitted with a custom ejector seat, and eventually sacrifices itself to stop the bad guys. A hero's death, you could say. Thankfully, this car was later rebuilt and repaired on Spike TV's Powerblock.

The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift
The third film is considered the oddball of the series, focusing on an entirely new character named Sean. Set in Tokyo, muscle cars are few and far between, but a select few make the cut.

The opening race, set in an unfinished neighborhood, involves a race between Sean and a high school jock. The football player drives this Dodge Viper SRT-10 against Sean, but it ultimately gets destroyed when the jock realizes he's going to lose.

Sean's car in the race is a souped-up Chevy Monte Carlo. It's a bit of a beater, with the paint being yellow with plenty of primer. Beefy NASCAR wheels and a big block V8 round out the car's no-nonsense appearance. It also gets wrecked very severely, flipping multiple times.

Atthe film's end, Sean has learned to drift, and needs a car to beat a rival drifter. Him and his pals build this 1967 Mustang Fastback using parts cannibalized off of local drift cars. It takes a severe beating, but he wins the race and gets the girl.

At the end of the film is a cameo by Dominic Toretto, driving a 1970 Plymouth GTX. It's a brief scene, but seeing Dom for the first time since the first film's ending was a treat for fans of the series.

Fast & Furious
In the fourth film, Toretto and O'Conner return to the spotlight, and try to stop a cartel that's smuggling drugs across the border in high performance cars. O'Conner is trying to stop them, while Toretto is motivated to find the gang's leader, the man responsible for killing his girlfriend. This movie offered a large amount of muscle compared to the other films.

For the opening scene, Dom and his crew are hijacking fuel trailers from a moving truck. Dom's car is a modified 1987 Buick Grand National. He uses it to distract the trucker while his cargo is captured. The sinister-looking Buick takes a bruising, but is thankfully not destroyed.
To steal the cargo, Dom's crew uses these two trucks. Both are heavily-modified Chevrolets, the top one being an 80s model crew cab and the bottom one being a 1969 model. Both trucks have been repurposed to carry semi trailers, which they attach by pulling a 180 and hitching up the trailer, an impressive automotive feat.

When we see Dom next, he's driving this 1970 Chevelle SS, which is supposedly the car from the ending of the first movie. He uses it repeatedly before it winds up getting blown-up. There are some pretty good street race scenes with this car before it gets axed, though.

The film's antagonist, a jerk named Fenix, drives this sweet 1972 Ford Gran Torino. Custom wheels, side exhaust and side stripes make for a pretty awesome car. However, since it belongs to the bad guy it obviously isn't going to survive the film.

Having lost his Chevelle, Dom needs a new car. To the rejoice of many fans, he opts to rebuild (mostly) his Charger from the first movie. It's lost the chrome, but it still carries the huge blower and black paint. Sadly, the Charger is killed off a second time during a chase through an underground tunnel.

In a hurry, Dom ditches the totaled Charger for a henchman's Camaro. It's not just any Camaro, though. This is the Hot Rod Magazine F-Bomb Camaro, which has about 700 horsepower. It's technically a replica, and it's only used for a brief scene where it plows into another car, namely the green Torino shown above. But that doesn't affect how awesome it is.

In the closing scenes of the movie, we see a couple of Dom's crew members bust him out of prison by wrecking a prison bus. One of the cars is a Pontiac Trans Am, which thankfully receives no harm whatsoever.

Fast Five
The fifth film was a huge reboot for the series, and it featured all of the previous stars, including Dom, Brian, Roman, and Han. Dwayne Johnson also joined the cast as Luke Hobbs, a government marshal. Set in Rio de Janeiro, there are enough muscle cars to make a gearhead happy.

One of the first scenes involves hijacking cars from a moving train. One is this Detomaso Pantera, which counts as a muscle car on behalf of the Ford 351 V8 powerplant. This one suffers no harm, and is only used briefly.

Another hijacked car is this Ford GT40. Like the Pantera, it is used briefly and suffers no damage, but it has a more important role in the story. Naturally, this GT40 is a replica, as nobody would drive a real one at speed through a desert.

The third car, piloted by Dom, is this Corvette Grand Sport Convertible replica. It's used more heavily in the hijack scene, and is also used to rescue Brian. However, it does end up plummeting off a cliff into a river. The main characters managed to somehow not die in that scene.

When the team is assembled, each character arrives in a different car. Han drives this beaten but cool Ford Maverick. It's used very briefly and suffers no damage.

Tej, one of the characters from the second film, arrives in this 1963 Ford Galaxie. Like the Maverick, it is used briefly and doesn't get damaged by cliffs or explosions and such.

Dom arrives having yet again pieced together his Charger, although this time it's grey and lacks the iconic blower. The more discreet look represents the fact that he's a wanted fugitive. The Charger sees very little action in the movie, but manages to get totalled anyway when Hobbs plows into it with an APC.

For the main action scene of the movie, Dom and Brian steal a safe by pulling it behind a set of black SRT8 Chargers. The cars have custom winches attached to the rear and receive excessive usage. One gets obliterated, but the other lives to drive another day. Chargers also appear as the vehicle of choice for the Rio Police.

Last but not least, in the ending scene we see Dom has acquired a new Dodge Challenger that's been mildy modified. It sees little to no actual use in the movie, but it is implied he races Brian in the silver GT-R in the background.

So, a plentiful lineup. And by the looks of the trailers, the next film will be just as filled with muscle as it's most recent predecessors. It appears they've even brought the Charger back again, this time as a Daytona. Clearly it's part zombie, having been wrecked and rebuilt four different times. But if you want automotive action, then I suggest you check out Fast & Furious 6 when it hits theaters in May.

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