In hot rod heaven

2011-05-06 12:08

The Fast & Furious franchise is to gearheads what Sex and the City is to fashionistas. While your city chick will drool over Carrie Bradshaw’s combination of Jimmy Choos and a Gucci cocktail dress, your petrol junkie will salivate over an NOS- (nitrous oxide systems) fuelled turbocharged Subaru that pulls more than 500 horses.

Fast Five, the latest instalment in the franchise, boasts a cast of wheels as sexy and dangerous as the leading men and women. And while American muscle cars are still leading the pack, the Japanese and European imports are giving them a run for their money.

The star of the show is undoubtedly the 1970 Dodge Charger, the black supercharged machine that killed Dominic Toretto’s (Vin Diesel) father and became his albatross.

Despite being written-off twice in two different films, it’s the one car that the creator keeps bringing back.

This time the Charger is bigger – big wheels and tyres, improved suspension, more power and better steering. The only cosmetic change is the absence of the blower that used to be perched on the bonnet.

But beneath it lies a brand new Chrysler Hemi engine with some heavy crossbars that reinforces the Charger’s reign as king of the streets.

Five versions of the vintage car were built for this film, each depicting some sort of wear and tear as befitting a warrior car.

Alongside old-school classics such as the Ford Maverick and Chevrolet Impala are Japanese legends – the Nissan 370Z, a 1993 Toyota Supra and the

Nissan Skyline GT-R driven by Elena (Elsa Pataky), who is Dom’s new love.

Dreamy replicas of a 1972 De Tomaso Pantera, a 2007 Corvette GS Roadster and a Ford GT40 pulled one of the main stunt scenes in Fast Five.

Other cars featured purely for their stunning looks and speed are the 1999 Porsche GT3, the Lexus LFA and this year’s Dodge Challenger, while a Ducati Streetfighter is the only motorbike used in the film.

Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, plays Hobbs and drives a 9.5?ton armoured beast known as a Gurkha F5 to match his menacing character.

According to the filmmakers, the main scene, featuring the vault heist, was an idea that has been in development since the first film.

The heist scene is so fast-paced that some of the wheels used in previous films had to be used as camera cars
to keep up. An arm-camera crane was perched above a Porsche Cayenne and the Subaru STI, modified with a steel cage for the camera. The other camera, a Charger Pod, is a top-mounted dual-drive system that allowed for tighter shots used for filming inside the car.

The cars are all thrilling and would make any car enthusiast want to try the stunts after watching the film. Hopefully, they won’t because those stunts and the type of driving are not to be tried on our streets and roads.

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