The car is the Fast & Furious star

Spoiler alert: a good few of the cars in Fast & Furious Live are not exact mechanical replicas. Truth be told, they weren't always in the films either, so it's hardly the most scandalous piece of showbiz news ever divulged. Unless of course you didn't know that, so then it probably will be. Sorry.

So yes, the show features a Nissan 350Z with a Chevrolet LS V8, an R34 Skyline GT-R with a Duratec in it and even the Civics don't have the correct Honda engine in. Shock, horror. The fact is that, for the sakes of reliability and cost, it's far simpler to use familiar crate engines than attempting to make a show car with a highly strung (and very expensive) powertrain.

However, that's not the case for two of the cars. Because Dom's Charger and Brian's Supra, the icons of the first (and the best) Fast & Furious Film, are exact replicas of those vehicles. They are genuine 10-second cars (or so the spec would suggest), albeit limited to skidding around arenas for now. As part of our behind-the-scenes look at Fast & Furious Live, we were given a talk through both cars by the guys who set them up for the show: Chris Burns, who drives the Supra in the shows as well, and Andy Jackson.

We'll begin with the Supra because, to be frank, as a kid raised on Gran Turismo and Need For Speed Underground, it resonated in the film a little more strongly. The guys describe the Toyota has a "labour of love" for them and their team, requiring hours of research to ensure the specs were spot on and days of waiting while parts were sent overnight from Japan. Yes, it happens in real life too... So getting the correct colour code took a fortnight (because it's a mix of Lamborghini oranges) and obtaining gauges, decals and whatnot for a car that's now 17 years old presented its fair share of challenges. That's in addition to finding a suitable donor car, all the right tuning parts for circa 700hp and setting it up to be "robust" - a word that comes up a lot in our chat - enough for a world tour. It's quite some car, the Supra, so it's of little surprise to find Chris is the only person allowed to drive it...

The Charger build was outsourced to Dennis McCarthy in LA, the man responsible for a host of Fast & Furious movie car builds. If you want a perfect rep of the original, who better to make it for you than the person who first built it? As such, while Andy went out to inspect the car in LA, its build and development was in America.

They both describe it as "a really cool car" though, and it's not hard to see why. Anything with an engine outside of the bonnet is cool - it just is. Everything works too, a testament to McCarthy's attention to detail. Again, the effort that must have been expended to create such a faithful recreation of such an old car is enough to make your head hurt.

What's interesting to note with this particular Charger is the presence of a third pedal in the footwell, despite the car being an automatic (a Turbo 400 transmission, since you ask). That third pedal operates the hydraulic handbrake, because movie cars can't have a visible hydraulic lever; if it's not in the movie car, it's not making it to the arena car! The whole car looks superb, too, bristling with more menace and intimidation sat in the NEC than pretty much anything else in any other situation. Well, anything bar the Ice Charger, perhaps...

Building accurate show cars is one thing, but setting them up for a stunt show is rather different. It's not going to be much use having the right paint colour if the cars can't look dramatic in front of an audience. The trick - or rather, the strategy employed for everyone from 17 year-olds to show directors - is to pump up the tyres for the least traction possible on the slick show floor; apparently up to 100psi in some cases. Fortunately the benefit these guys have that lads in Corsas don't is adjustability, so front suspension can be as soft as possible and the rear super stiff to make the cars slide at almost any speed. And rest assured, once you see the show you'll witness just how much they slide!

The Fast & Furious Live show still has a load of UK tour dates to fulfil, including Glasgow, Belfast, Sheffield, Birmingham and Newcastle - see here for more details. And keep a look out for the Supra and the Charger, especially now you know how much has gone into them!







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Comments (12) Join the discussion on the forum

  • DanBMW 01 Feb 2018

    I saw the Saturday show at the O2, it was good especially for the size restrictions on the area they have to play with.
    I did think some of the cars didn't sound right, so this makes sense.

  • LordGrover 01 Feb 2018

    I'd've thought you know better than to include an ampersand in the title.

  • Triumph Man 01 Feb 2018

    Shouldn't a fast and furious automatic transmission selector be


  • MorganP104 01 Feb 2018

    Triumph Man said:
    Shouldn't a fast and furious automatic transmission selector be

    [snip] lots of gears [/snip]
    Ah yes, the famous million-speed F&F gearboxes!

    "I live my life a quarter mile, and forty three gearchanges, at a time."


  • Icehanger 01 Feb 2018

    How longs the show?
    I was going to take my 5 YO who loves fast cars and is desperate for me to buy a fast black car (If only life was as simple as a mind of a child lol)
    but at £41 a ticket for the cheap seats I almost spat my coffee

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