- Choosing the cars for the characters in Fast and Furious took time and effort, highlighting the importance of JDM car culture in the film.
- Tracking down and modifying a Nissan 240SX for the film was challenging without social media, relying heavily on car forums.
- The 240SX hero met a tragic end after being burnt and sold in a junkyard despite its popularity on the big screen.
Natural Fast and furious The film made headlines around the world, especially due to the homage the film showed to the JDM car culture in particular. It had many interesting cars that attracted many people, including the Nissan 240SX owned by the character Letty Ortiz, played by actress Michelle Rodriguez.
It was featured in several spots during the film, most notably during its thrilling Race Wars race against a modified Mazda RX-7. The hero’s used car has been the subject of much speculation in the two decades since the film’s release. Craig LiebermanThe Automotive Technical Consultant for the first two Fast and Furious movies and now a YouTuber, has now revealed exactly what happened to the machine.
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Craig Had To Help Choose The Cars Characters Would Drive
Acting as Automotive Technical Consultant, Craig worked with actor and drag racer RJ de Vera, who starred as Danny Yamato in the film, to select the cars that each character would represent during the film. Once the cars were selected, Craig would find the parts needed to keep the cars running, supervise their construction, and also supervise the shooting in which the cars were involved.
As a huge car enthusiast, three of his personal cars were featured in the opening film. His yellow Toyota Supra Mark IV was used as the background car at the Race Wars car rally along with his black Nissan Skyline R34. His blue Nissan Maxima, a version that can be picked up for less today, is the most recognizable even though it served as Vince’s car throughout the film.
Cars chosen for the fast and furious characters in the early stages
Honda Accord Coupe
Craig and RJ saw a Nissan The 240SX, the American name for the S14 Silvia, needed to be in the movie due to its popularity in the JDM scene at the time. Tracking down the revised version proved to be a difficult task though, due to the lack of social media platforms as well as YouTube back in the late 1990s when the film was being planned.
Car Forums Are Actively Track 240SX
Without any social media to use, Craig and RJ had to go through popular car forums that were around at the time to try and find the Nissan 240SX JDM hero of the movie. Combining this with spreading the word through their many contacts eventually paid off.
They found a silver 240SX owned by a driver named James. He had tastefully modified the car, as evidenced by the slick color choice and clean body kit. After checking it out, they finally offered James $6,400 to rent the car for use as the hero’s main car. Fasting And Anger.
Craig and his team installed a new aggressive body kit and a new paint job with film prices. The production crew also bought another couple of 240SXs for about $11,000 each. These can be used as stunt vehicles, which can come in different shapes and sizes, for use during stunts.
Nissan 240SX Was Meant To Be Painted Magenta
Craig revealed that the color the machine should be painted was the subject of much debate during the planning process. Director of Photography Ericson Core wanted the car to be painted magenta, specifically a color called Wild Cherry from House of Kolor. He was interested in this because he knew he would use a warming filter for the shot, and he felt the color would look better.
The art department really wanted to have a purple car, and this eventually became the livery in which the car was presented. Once the color issue was settled, the big 240SX event came during the Race Wars segment of the movie. It was pitted against a white FD Mazda RX-7 tested by a character by the name of Reggae Racer.
Although the competition was not run for reality, the movie scene went for the script. Craig says he’d put his money on the top-of-the-line 240SX like it was in the movie. He explained that while both cars weighed around 2,800 lbs, the 240SX’s tuned SR20 motor produced around 400 hp. This compared favorably to the RX-7’s 305 hp.
Craig also revealed some tidbits from the scene. First, the car engines were turned off during the part where Letty and Reggae were talking. This is because the engines were too loud and drowned out the conversation, so they had to get the crew to push the cars forward during the event instead. The editorial staff also dubbed the sound of the Toyota Supra driven by Brian 2JZ over the 240SX during the race, simply because they thought it sounded better than the sound from the SR20.
Stunt cars were later used in 2 Fast 2 Furious
Craig added that the two stunt cars used during filming were eventually reused. Placed in storage nearly a year after the first film was released, all 240SX were converted for use in the second film of the franchise.
One car was painted orange and was used during the mysterious warehouse event. It was also used as the main vehicle for the production driving school. Craig said Devon Aoki, who played Suki, used the car a lot while learning to drive for her role. Following its use in 2 Fast 2 Fury, the car was sold to a collector in South Carolina. It is now owned by YouTube channel Furious Garage, which is looking to rebuild it.
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Stunt Ride Nissan 240SXs
- Used during motion/time action events Fasting And Anger
- Left in storage long after the film
- It has been repainted and refurbished to look period 2 Fast 2 Fury practical events
- It was sold to collectors, all being restored by the Furious Garage YouTube channel
Another car was painted blue and also played a role in the warehouse section of the film. Like its sister, it went to a collector in South Carolina. After being passed between several other members, it also ended up in the hands of Furious Garage and is currently being restored.
Hero Nissan 240SX Immortals Like One
While stunt cars seem to have a bright future, the same cannot be said for the heroic 240SX. After it was returned to James following the conclusion of filming, he painted it silver. It then enjoyed a lot of publicity, being shared by many magazines in the years following its big screen debut.
James later sold the machine to a woman named Helen, who enjoyed it by taking it to car shows around the country. After being owned by several others, its star eventually fell as many car enthusiasts were turned off by the trend of Fast and furious movies, which have gotten worse with each installment, were approaching the end of the 2000s.
How Letty’s The Fast And The Furious 240SX Ended Up In The Crusher
- He returned to the owner after the shooting for the film concluded, he returned to the original color of silver
- Featured in many magazines over the next period, it was sold to a new owner
- He visited many car shows in the hands of several owners, later sold to the last keeper
- It decided to remove the functional parts of other projects, sold out of the shell to the junkyard to be crushed
Source (YouTube @ Craig Lieberman)
Craig explained the Hero 240SX was eventually sold to someone who burned the car out of all its performance parts. These include the engine, transmission, and suspension. With only the shell left, it was sold to a junkyard, where it was immediately crushed.
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This marks a sad end to a car that many revered on the silver screen and closes the book on an extraordinary story that sees the title machine cast aside, while stagnant cars find new life. Although the Hero 240SX has made a trip to the space arena, at least it will always be there when revisiting the original. Fasting And Anger film.
Sources: YouTube @ Craig Lieberman, Universal Studios