“The Fast and The Furious” is all about street racing, and the first race we get to see in the 2001 cult classic is a four-way shootout between a Mazda RX-7, Mitsubishi Eclipse, Honda Civic, and Acura Integra. As with all movie car scenes, the outcome of the race was determined by the script. But which car would have won in real life?
Craig Lieberman was a technical advisor on “The Fast and The Furious,” supervising the cars. He’s made a series of YouTube videos with behind the scenes details, and this time he discusses that first race.
Figuring out which car was really the fastest isn’t as simple as it might seem. That’s because the real-life cars were a bit different than how they were depicted on screen.
Unusually for a Hollywood production, most of the cars were rented from owners (the Toyota Supra that shows up later in the film was Lieberman’s own car), rather than built from scratch. These cars became the “hero one” cars, the only complete vehicles on set. They were supplemented by cruder replicas built for specific shots or stunts, often lacking crucial pieces like interiors or powertrain modifications.
But even the hero one cars didn’t have all of the modifications indicated in the movie. Writers used a bit of artistic license to make the cars seem more impressive.
Mazda RX-7 from
For example, the real-life Mazda RX-7 that became Dominic Toretto’s (Vin Diesel’s) car had relatively mild engine modifications, and it did not have the nitrous-oxide system depicted in the film. The owner said the RX-7 made about 300 horsepower, according to Lieberman.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse driven by Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) in the race was a humble RS model, with the base 420A 4-cylinder engine. It didn’t have the turbocharger or nitrous-oxide system shown on screen, and probably made close to the stock 140 hp, Lieberman said.
Comparing the hero one cars as they existed in reality, Lieberman said the RX-7 would have won (just like in the movie), followed by the Integra, Civic, and Eclipse.
But what if the cars had all of the modifications implied by the movie’s script? Lieberman said it’s impossible to know, because not enough details were provided in the film. That probably won’t stop fans from continuing to argue about it.