One of the most controversial cars from the “Fast and Furious” franchise is the RB26-powered Ford Mustang from “Tokyo Drift.” If you’ve ever wondered why the production team decided to stuff an iconic Nissan engine in a classic American muscle car, or how it was accomplished, this video has the answers. It features Craig Lieberman—technical advisor on the early “Fast and Furious” movies—and Sean Morris, the car’s builder.
Used in multiple generations of the Nissan Skyline GT-R, the 2.6-liter RB26 inline-6 is one of the most legendary engines to come out of Japan. The car symbolizes main character (and muscle-car lover) Sean Boswell fully embracing Japanese drifting and tuning culture.
Morris is a GT-R specialist, and was brought in to advise on the project. He chose a fairly basic version of the RB26 with a single turbocharger (as opposed to the stock GT-R twin-turbo setup), due to clearance issues in the Mustang’s engine bay. The engine was coupled to an FS530RA 5-speed manual transmission, with a Ford 9.0-inch rear end.
Ford Mustang from
In the movie, the engine is sourced from an S15 Nissan Silvia that had been wrecked in an earlier scene. That’s led many people to conclude that the Mustang actually sported an SR20 inline-4 (the engine offered in the S15 from the factory), not the RB26, Morris said. That’s untrue; in the context of the story, this is simply a case of a twice-swapped engine.
As with other movie cars, the “Tokyo Drift” Mustang was actually several cars. Six or seven Mustangs were used in filming, according to Lieberman, a mix of 1967 and 1968 fastbacks. The rest of the cars had V-8s, including the cars actually used to film drifting and other stunts, he said.
After filming, the cars were dispersed. One of the V-8 stunt cars was offered for sale in 2019 with an asking price of $179,900, and at least two other cars are thought to survive.