"The Fast And The Furious" 1970 Dodge Charger
(Submitted by Car Lust reader and commenter Tigerstrypes)
I liked its story: Belonged to Dom's late father and it scared the crap out of Mr. Hi-Performance Imports here of just thinking of driving it (as it should, probably the most realistic thing going on in the movie).
And it’s all downhill from there.
Let’s get this outta the way:
· The blowers on all the Fast And Furious 1 cars are fake, chrome-painted plasticky things screwed to the hood (butterflies don’t open when engine revs to the sky).
· It had a hydraulic ram for the burnout-wheelie scene. The Hemi that appears during the garage scene was NOT USED in the action sequences (allegedly a 383ci from the Mopar family, at least). I have no solid evidence the 528ci Hemi was a real one for said garage scene or a dolled-up 392ci first-gen Hemi (according to Mopar Action).
· There’s a debate going on that it was a ’69 with a ’70 nose, or a ’70 with mixed trim.
As much as I love the 1970 Dodge Charger from the Fast and Furious (F&F) franchise, I DESPISE the franchise itself. It's amazing that that car has earned the #1 spot on a list from Popular Mechanics. Then again, after having received the Hollywood MOPAR treatment (used, abused, crashed, blown up and generally get the living s-- snot kicked out of it), I think that homage makes up for it... Ok, not really.
During the filming of F&F4, the producers realized that there was no longer such a thing as a cheap 2nd-gen Charger (the gratuitous wrecking of Chargers for also-gratuitous stunts has come back to haunt Hollywood just as it has come to haunt car enthusiasts).
The drivetrain was changed for generic Chevy 350, TH400 trans, and Ford 9-inch rear to keep costs down if something broke and have plenty of parts availability (ugh). High quality fiberglass molds of ’70 Charger body panels (It’ll be cool if those pieces saw production for the resto-mod crowd) made by Hanamann Fiberglass were used because they couldn’t find real (read: cheap) ones. Torsion bars were tweaked for max ground clearance, beefy frame connectors (3/16” wall-thick, 2x3” square tubing) skidplates, and 19-point rollcage were installed. Rear springs were relocated and wheelwells tubbed. Exterior-wise, we see it painted matte-black and a too-good black paintjob-for-a-quick-rebuild at the end scene. Mixed badging all-around (Charger, Charger 500, R/T…).
In F&F5 it was basically the same car, but the protruding supercharger and scoop were gone and the wheels were different. The car was used to acquire other vehicles' pinkslips for what turned out to be a waste of time (the insulting part was that it was never shown actually street racing -- 4-way cop-car Charger shoot-out DOES NOT COUNT! Wasn't this supposed to be a movie franchise about street racing?!!?). It did get rammed by a truck (probably the most lenient of its "accidents"). Later on I read that it was also used to cause a bus to tip. I missed that part.
As awesome the presence of such a machine is, is it just me or does it feel that Dom’s Charger has become a bit of (for lack of a better word) a joke, like Ponch’s (CHiPs, remember?) Pontiac Firebird Formula/Trams Am? Think about it. Every time it appears it’s awesome and badass-looking and captures your attention and imagination, only to get used and humiliated in an absurd way! Don’t believe me? Were you saying to yourself while watching the last 2 movies of the franchise “Please don’t wreck it” in the back of your mind? See my point? It’s almost expected to see it get wrecked. It happened to me. I yelled at the screen as I saw the Charger get gratuitously wrecked yet AGAIN. Guess it was just wishful thinking believing it would come out (relatively) unscathed from a movie franchise that doesn't rely that much on CGI.
If the producers wanted to give the car an aura of immortality, they achieved it, though they could’ve done it in a more dignified way (Now that’s wishful thinking).
Apparently some nut actually bought one of the F&F4 movie cars for $145,000.00!!!, complete with gutted BDS 14-71 prop supercharger (BTW, it spun by a Moroso electric water pump relayed to the ignition switch). Its asking price started at $129,998 BTW.
I prefer the first movie version. It is said that 2 (or was it 3?) were used in that one and the non-stunt car got restored with all the goodies (528ci HEMI with Indy aluminum heads, TBS supercharger, F.A.S.T. electronic fuel injection, etc.) though it sold at Mecum at $200,000.00. More expensive, but also more performance-oriented IMO.
I found some more info on the Charger (later incarnations) with tire sizes, interior details (or lack of), and stuff. But the blog post isn’t clear whether the stats reflect the character the Charger portrays (900HP behemoth) or the prop car that it (sadly) is. You be the judge.
Since there's gonna be a sixth movie (with Vin Diesel), it's pretty much a safe bet that the Charger will appear again magically appearing from Brazil, though, mean and as sinister as ever... and get wrecked… again. In the meantime, I'll be wincing ...er, waiting.
I gotta give credit to Mopar Action magazine. They provided the most info on F&F4 Charger on their June 2009 issue.
If there’s anything I missed and you’d like to add, hit the comment box, because, personally, looking up stuff from the F&F franchise doesn’t sit well with me.
Photo Credits: The first image is from MoparMuscleMagazine.com. The second photo is from AutoCarSpeed.com. The third image is from Photobucket.com/. The Fireball Tim image is from FireballTim.com. The final (altered) photo is mine.