/The Fast & Furious 6 Cars

The Fast & Furious 6 Cars

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Anyone familiar with the Fast & Furious movies will know the cars are on par with the actors for “star” status. The past 5 movies have mainly consisted of American muscle and Japanese tuner cars, but the upcoming 6th instalment sees some European beauties enter the fray – let’s just say the mix of vehicles is eclectic to say the least. From retro NASCAR to 80’s Euro rally, car enthusiasts will love Fast & Furious 6, no matter how implausible the plot.

Dennis McCarthy is the visionary behind the production and continuity regarding the multiple examples used for stunt purposes. Within his 30,000-square-foot shop in Sun Valley, California, Dennis and his crew ensure every detail is attended to, despite most of the mock up cars ending up on the scrap heap.

1969 Charger Daytona

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In the Fast & Furious movies, Vin Diesel has had a great relationship with a 1970 Dodge Charger. However, in this sixth edition, he kisses his temptress goodbye and climbs behind the wheel of a 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona – by far the best looking car so far.

The Charger Daytona was built to compete in NASCAR, aerodynamically enhanced to perform on such high-speed superspeedways as Talladega and the infamous Daytona. The most obvious modifications are the enormous rear wing to generate down force and the sleek and longer nose. These enhancements helped the Daytona to be the first NASCAR to break the 200-mph mark.

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Due to its extremely long nose and extremely high wing, an original 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona would not only be ill suited to stunt work, but at over six figures for a decent example, it would be too expensive and almost criminal to destroy them – 7 were needed throughout filming. This is where car coordinator Dennis McCarthy comes in, building a variation with a slightly shorter nose from fibreglass, and a slightly lower wing. To prevent the need for fixing the pop-up headlights every time the nose was damaged, McCarthy decided to use fixed lights under Plexiglass.

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1970 Ford Escort RS1600

Despite this car being pretty much unknown in the U.S, the fact it makes an appearance in this big movie franchise only adds to the car’s legendary status.

Dennis McCarthy had this to say about the little car: “The guys in England built the sh*t out of these. I couldn’t get them to do much else, but they loved working on the Escorts.”

First introduced in 1968, the Escort was Ford’s European offering. The standard 1.1L and 1.3L versions were pretty bland and slow… and then the RS made an appearance. The 1970 RS1600’s power came from the Cosworth-designed, 1.6L twin-cam 16-valve BDA four-cylinder engine. Despite a small 113-bhp, it offered great power-to-weight ratio being extremely light. This was proven when the Escort RS1600 began winning across the rallying world – it became a symbol of what Britain did well: building racing engines and tuning the hell out of them.

McCarthy managed to get hold of five of the right-hand-drive RS1600s from the UK and completely rebuilt them in a British shop. Here they were stripped down to bare shells and then built back up again. Engines were also rebuilt, and new five-speed manual transmissions installed. Finally, new roll cages and racing seats were fitted.

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1971 Jensen Interceptor

Here’s another contender from the UK, an unlikely choice of car, the Jensen Interceptor. Built by Jensen Motors between 1966 and 1976, the Interceptor is a RWD luxury sports car, know for its American heart: either the 383 cubic inches or the mighty 440 cubic inches of V8 muscle. It also looked as cool as it sounded, designed by Italy’s Carrozzeria Touring.

“There aren’t any Interceptors that haven’t rusted through left in England,” McCarthy explained. “So all the Jensens in the new movie came out of California. That’s where all the good ones are.”

McCarthy powered most of the onscreen cars with GM “LS3” V8 crate engines straight out of the GM Performance Parts catalogue to keep spares and part swapping simple. This is the same 6.2L 430-bhp lump that’s found in a standard Chevrolet Camaro SS.

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2012 Lucra LC470

This unusual car doesn’t play a big role in the film but it certainly attracts attention. It’s the sort of car you think you recognise until you get up close. “Oh, it’s not an old Jag,” you might say, or “I swear that was an old TVR or Lotus.”

The Lucra is an American built bullet, with the same mighty 7.0L V8 found in a Corvette Z06 powering it. It’s light too, its body made from carbon fibre. With 505-bhp, this rocket hits 60-mph in 2.5 seconds.

Three were on hand during filming, although the other two were rolling chassis fitted with a smaller 6.2L V8 crate engine and three-speed automatic transmissions for the stunt work. Unfortunately, the stunt work didn’t happen. “We were doing one scene with an old Land Rover that couldn’t keep up,” says McCarthy. “So we ended up pulling the engine and transmission out of one of the stunt Lucras and putting them in that vehicle.”

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2010 Nissan GT-R

Although Godzilla only makes a cameo appearance at the end of the movie, it’s one to look out for as it’s thought to be appearing in the seventh instalment.

“When I saw this car at SEMA in 2011,” said Dennis McCarthy, “I knew it was going to be in the movie. It was just a question of where.”

This R35 GT-R was built by The R’s Tuning shop in California, where a full BenSopra body kit was fitted. This includes a cool tilt front end and dugout fenders. The doorsills are made from carbon fibre, as are panels in the roof and trunk, and then there’s that giant BenSopra rear wing – it looks like it’s prepped for LeMans.

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2011 Wide Body Dodge Challenger SRT8 392

McCarthy and his crew pretty much left this car alone, as its mighty 6.4L V8 is both loud and able to create much impressive and cinematic tyre smoke as standard. Four of these SRT8 392s were needed for filming and Chrysler were happy to oblige, supplying them for the promotional value. Unfortunately, one of them was crashed, one cut up and used for green screen filming, and the remaining two were returned and crushed by Chrysler.

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2010 BMW M5

The E60 series M5 features in several chase scenes when the teams race in Great Britain. 12 were needed to cope with all the stunt carnage and destruction, and as M5s would be too expensive, a combination of both the 550i and 530i series were converted as lookalikes. In one of the crash sequences, a discerning eye will spot the fake M5 exhaust when one of the lookalikes cars gets totalled.

“So we had this one sequence with a whole fleet of BMW M5s,” says Dennis, “I think we had about 12 in total. It’s a great car, the M5. All we did for those driving scenes was to unplug the ABS brakes – which deactivated the traction control – welded the spider gears together, and that was it. We pretty much destroyed every single one… I think maybe one survived”.

Car chase fans will love this film then, with many cars meeting their demise in spectacular fashion.

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Dodge Charger SRT8

The Fast & Furious movies wouldn’t be the same without a Charger of some description, and part 6 doesn’t fail with this 6.4L Hemi 470-bhp beast making the cut. Being a long time supporter of the franchise, Dodge supplied 11 new SRT8s to Dennis and his team. As they were brand new, nothing mechanical needed to be done; only cosmetic touches, such as the battle grey paintwork, the gorgeous 20” Viper rims, and the full black interior complete with roll cage.

The movie’s climax comes in the form of this Charger, along with some Alfa Romeos, trying to prevent a Russian cargo plane from taking off by way of a winch mounted to the Dodge’s trunk.

Sound ridiculous? Of course it does, but that won’t stop petrolheads from enjoying every octane-powered minute.

Fast & Furious 6 hit the cinemas on May 17th.

(Journalist) – James is a published fiction and article writer from London (UK) with a serious penchant for Ferrari F1, anything with an engine, and English Pointers.