In the Fast and Furious franchise, Vin Diesel's Dominic Toretto is mainly associated with the Dodge Charger. But in the early scenes of the first movie, "The Fast and the Furious," Toretto drove a Mazda RX-7. In the accompanying video, Craig Lieberman, technical advisor for the movie and the man who chose the RX-7 as Toretto's car, tells the story of that car.
Instead of building a car specifically for the movie, the main RX-7 was rented from a private owner. That was the case with many cars in "The Fast and the Furious;" the Toyota Supra and Nissan Maxima that appeared in the movie were owned by Lieberman, for example.
The car, a 1993 model, had a few performance upgrades before it rolled onto the set, including a rebuilt engine with 3 mm apex seals to handle high levels of boost. With these modifications, the car was rumored to make 305 horsepower at the wheels, compared to 255 hp for a stock FD RX-7, according to Lieberman. He added that the nitrous-oxide system seen in the movie was a fake made from scuba gear and plumbing parts.
While it appears onscreen in red, the car was originally silver. Like other cars used by Toretto's crew, the RX-7 also got controversial graphics to denote its use by a main character.
Mazda RX-7 from
That original RX-7 became the "hero one" car, the pristine example used for all close-up shots. The production team then purchased additional cars to be used for stunts. One body shell was also cut up to be used for interior shots on a sound stage, Lieberman said. Another car housed the stereo system, which was not installed in the original "hero one" car.
Rotary fans may notice something odd about the RX-7's exhaust note in the movie. That's because the sound was heavily edited, using a mix that included Toyota 1JZ and 2JZ engines, Lieberman said.
After filming wrapped, three of the cars were sold, and now reside in The Netherlands, Florida, and Las Vegas. One car was reused for "2 Fast 2 Furious," driven by the character Orange Julius in the movie's opening drag race and the "warehouse scramble" near the end. That car received a different body kit and a different graphics package. Its engine wasn't modified.
The original RX-7 is now in storage. It's rumored that this car will make an appearance in the next Fast and Furious movie, "F9," according to Lieberman, but we'll have to wait to find out. Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the movie was pushed back to April 2021.
Check out the video for even more behind-the-scenes insight into the RX-7's from the first two movies.