“The Fast and the Furious” franchise has probably done more to get classic cars in front of a new and younger audience than anything since the “Gran Turismo” video games. Unfortunately, the survival rate of the classics in the movies tends to be not particularly good. Car people need strong stomachs to watch the on-screen carnage. Here are five of our favorites from the six movies:
- 1969 Yenko Camaro (“2 Fast 2 Furious,” 2003): For reasons best known to GM, when the Camaro was introduced in 1967, it was decreed that it could not have an engine larger than 400 cubic inches. This of course precluded the use of the big block 427 engine that was a Corvette option. Don Yenko, a race driver and Chevy dealer, got around that by producing big block Camaros on his own. At the height of the muscle car market in 2007, Yenko Camaros could sell for a million dollars or more. Today, it’s more like $300,000. Like many of the classics in “The Fast and the Furious” series, the Yenko met an unfortunate end.
- 1987 Buick Grand National (“Fast & Furious,” 2009): The Buick Regal Grand National was one of the cars that brought automotive performance back after a long drought known as The Malaise Era. Dumping the usual Detroit formula of a big, high-compression V-8, the Grand National achieved its tire-smoking performance with a turbocharged V-6. Good surviving Grand Nationals and the ultra-rare GNX version are highly prized collectibles. Happily, the Grand National survived the film; it’s seen at the end in a garage safe and sound.
- 1971 Jensen Interceptor (“Fast & Furious 6,” 2013): The Jensen Interceptor was a British luxury GT car with a twist — in place of the usual straight-six that you might find in a Jag or an Aston of the day, the Jensen used big-block Mopar power (either a 383 or a 440, depending on the year). The resurrected Letty character played by Michelle Rodriguez drives a heavily customized Interceptor.
- 1994 Toyota Supra (“The Fast and the Furious,” 2001): The Supra started out as a slightly more luxurious and more powerful Celica. By the time it reached its fourth generation (which this model represents), it had morphed into a take-no-prisoners twin-turbo sports car that is the holy grail of “The Fast and the Furious” generation. Modifications like the ones made to the metallic orange Supra featured in the film mean that the few stock, well-maintained examples out there will be coveted collectibles in the not-too-distant future.
- 1970 Dodge Charger (“The Fast and the Furious,” 2001; “Fast & Furious,” 2009): The Dodge Charge is no stranger to the big and small screens. Perhaps the most recognized car of all time, the General Lee from “The Dukes of Hazzard” was a 1969 model. Like most of the cars in “The Fast and the Furious” series, the 1970 Charger owned by “Dom” played by (Vin Diesel) is a heavily modified, weapons- grade quarter-mile assault machine. It comes to a bad end in both the original “The Fast and the Furious” and in 2009’s “Fast & Furious.”