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The best cars from the Fast and the Furious franchise

Brian's orange-painted 10-second machine from the first movie is almost a character in of itself.

One of the biggest cinematic franchises of the last two decades, the Fast and Furious movies loosely follow the wacky japes of a crew of former street racers as they have slowly transition into international anti-terrorist action heroes. Where once it was all about punk kids not liking the tuna and closing off roads for pizza boys to find another way home, these days it is all secret agency tac-ops military hardware and hard-hitting, submarine-dodging, jumping-cars-out-of-skyscrapers, kick-to-the-face fight sequences.

Fast and Furious cars have changed a great deal through the years, as styles and trends have evolved over the last 20 years since the first film debuted. We were introduced to Brian (Paul Walker) and Dom (Vin Diesel) as characters who loved import street racing but that was just a front for the real story of a cop trying to solve violent truck hijackings of CRT TVs and DVD players (remember them?). 

Honda Civic in the Fast and the Furious. Honda Civic in the Fast and the Furious.

While the Honda fans loved Hector’s Civics and Johnny Tran’s S2000, the hero Fast and Furious 1 cars have to be Brian’s JZA80 Toyota Supra and Dom’s 1970 Dodge Charger. Symbolising the opposite sides of the law their characters represent, the “10-second Supra” was a serious car, built to replace a Mitsubishi Eclipse blown up by chief antagonist Johnny Tran and his cousin Lance while on motorcycles. 

Wearing a huge single-turbocharger on its iconic 2JZ-GTE 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder engine, a manual six-speed gearbox was swapped into the desirable Aero Top model – an option Toyota never offered in twin-turbo Aero Top Supras in that generation. This car inspired countless imitators in the car scene and probably did loads to drive the Mk4 Supra’s legend among non-car-enthusiast kids. 

Nissan Skyline GTR in the Fast and the Furious. Nissan Skyline GTR in the Fast and the Furious.

Paul Walker’s memory will also forever be linked to these cars, despite him personally being more of a fan of BMW M3s and Nissan Skyline GT-Rs.

In the other lane is Dominic Toretto’s 1970 Dodge Charger, a car built with his dad, but one he never drove as he was scared of it, and it is easy to see why with jet black bodywork and a polished 8/71 supercharged Hemi V8 “packing 900 horses of Detroit muscle”. This allowed the iconic muscle car to do a burnout on its back wheels at the start of the final race of the movie. After collecting a truck at high speed and being turned into a steel pretzel, Dom escapes in Brian’s Supra but the Charger has been brought back in some modified form in other movies.

"900 horses of Detroit muscle”. "900 horses of Detroit muscle”.

Though the 1969 Yenko Camaro and 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda are absolute heroes of the American muscle car era, and Brian’s Evo 7 has a legion of fans, the top dog machine of the Fast and Furious 2 cars (or 2 Fast 2 Furious) has to be the Nissan R34 Skyline GT-R driven by Brian at the start of the movie. Built by the same fella who built Brian’s Supra and most of the other cars from The Fast & The Furious (that’s F&F1 for those struggling to follow all the names), Craig Lieberman, it strongly resembled a Blitz-tuned GT-R from Japan and popped wild blue flames. 

It was actually Lieberman’s personal car, which he restored back to a more stock-looking appearance after the car bowed out at the end of the first race at the start of the movie when fugitive Brian is captured by the FBI after winning a street race in Miami, leading to the events of 2 Fast 2 Furious.

Personally, my favourite car from the Fast & Furious franchise came as one of the Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift cars; lead character Sean Boswell’s 1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Only seen at the start of the movie when Boswell winds up in a race against a Dodge Viper SRT-10, the Monte holds its own against the 500hp V10 thanks to a 10.3-litre (632ci) V8 and T-10 four-speed manual. 

Chevy Monte Carlo in the Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Chevy Monte Carlo in the Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.

With its stock car D-window wheels, fat tyres, and ratty primer appearance, it is still the most no-nonsense muscle car to appear in any of the Fast & Furious movies, and I still own a diecast model toy of this car. Unfortunately, it didn’t have a happy ending as it was rolled into a ball in the crash that got Boswell sent to Japan for his naughty behaviour, kicking off the events of Tokyo Drift.

Among all the Nissan 350Z cars and Mitsubishi Evos on display in the third F&F instalment, one car which was already famous before Tokyo Drift is Han’s widebody FD3s. Originally built for the 2005 Tokyo Auto Salon show (similar to Japan’s own version of the SEMA Show) the Veilside Fortune RX-7 is a highly-modified final-generation RX-7 that Universal purchased and had repainted in its now famous orange two-tone driven by one of Dominic Toretto’s crew and drifting mentor, Han Lue. 

Mazda RX7 in the Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift. Mazda RX7 in the Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift.

The actor behind Han Lue, Sung Kang, actually built a wild Datsun 240Z for the SEMA show a few years ago, proving many of the Fast & Furious crew have gasoline running in their veins. The Sung Kang 240Z, known as the Fugu Z, is a fattened track-inspired monster powered by a Nissan Skyline GT-R RB26DETT turbocharged six-cylinder engine – the same engine his S15 Silvia was equipped with in Tokyo Drift. 

Fast and Furious cars (and the movie series itself) took a turn after the fairly realistic portrayal of the Japanese drift scene with the Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift cars, as the action was ramped up to include stunts that involved tanks, ridiculously long runways and jumping cars into helicopters like a mission from GTA 5. Fast and Furious 6 cars, Fast and Furious 7 cars, and Fast and Furious 8 cars have all played bit roles in the series, as the importance of automotive content dramatically reduced, mostly appearing as set-dressing in the background of shots.

We haven’t seen any hardcore motorcycle involvement in the series, but that is surely coming soon. With the release of an all-electric model Mustang will we see hotted up Teslas and battery-powered machinery in the ninth (and final!) Fast And Furious, due out soon?