It looks hot and won the race against a Nissan 350Z in the “honour race” through the mountains. But as the story goes, it was with Nissan power. Granted, the engine came from a Silvia (240SX to us), but this degree of East-meets-West went too far for pony car enthusiasts. Yes, we realize it was all make believe, but even the simulation of such heresy puts this car at the back of the bunch.
Brian O’Connor’s (Paul Walker) addition of nitrous to his Eclipse put it on the fast track to become an early casualty in the first movie, but the Eclipse lived on as a go-to car for tuners, and for good reason. Cars like this second-generation model were inherently styled well as a basis for body kits, while their engines were a decent platform for modification -- to a degree.
Ordinarily, the idea of watching V6 Buicks on the big screen is about as stirring as listening to Buick owners blather about their arthritis. In Fast & Furious, however, Dominic Toretto has graduated from his Civic and uses this as his hijacking weapon of choice. It’s not just the rare, Regal-based Grand National, but the even-scarcer ’87-only GNX. This high point in modern GM performance finds a blurred Buick the result of speed, not cataracts.
Tough call here: Was the RX-7 good enough on its own or did the body kit on Han’s car totally complete the look? It’s not at all an easy decision. The final and arguably best-looking RX-7 only came to the U.S. from 1993 to 1995; the Japanese market enjoyed the full run of the last generation from 1992 to 2002.
To non-car guys, a jumping Yenko sounds like a circus act, but in 2 Fast 2 Furious it was a handy way for Brian O’Connor to board a yacht. It caused damage you can’t just buff out, but it did save Monica Fuentes. Wasting a rare muscle car to save Eva Mendes’ character? That’s a considerable yet reasonable price to pay. In reality, even if you could find a guy willing to part with his genuine Yenko (there are plenty of clones), you would have to bring Eva along for negotiations.
In the real world, the Civic’s ability to intimidate semis is highly suspect, even with Dominic Toretto aboard. But then, its influence on the tuner scene is even greater than its showing on our review. Cars like this fifth-generation coupe have the gone-but-not-forgotten double wishbone suspension and were ridiculously easy to modify for stupefying horsepower. Today’s car makes a stronger visual statement out of the box, but earlier Civics like this made up for it with their potential.
Jesse and his white V-Dub don’t get a ton of time onscreen in the original movie, but we’re including the Jetta for a couple reasons. First, it’s one of the few European cars seen in the series. Second, it’s a solid choice for enthusiasts. Without any modifications, a stock Jetta offers acceptable performance and crisp handling; both traits are easily enhanced to meet tuners’ demands without as much effort or compromise as some more popular Asian and American cars.
Admit it. You have a Skyline fetish -- and so does Brian O’Connor. It’s cool, that’s why we have no problem whatsoever with the frequency of these cars’ appearances in the series. The new, America-friendly Nissan GT-R is brilliant, but there will always be a mystique surrounding the all-but-inaccessible predecessor. There’s nothing wrong with the blue model in Fast & Furious, but there’s really nothing wrong with the silver car in 2 Fast 2 Furious.
It spanked a Ferrari. It raced a Charger to its doom. It’s a nitrous-fortified orange crush of a Toyota Supra. Although this car got more than a little face time in the first movie (how could you miss it?), the last and fastest Supra could be considered the best, just like the final RX-7 mentioned earlier. And like the Mazda, America had shorter exposure to this generation, available here from 1993 to 1998, but it sold in Japan through 2002. Sadly, Toyota’s enthusiasm for performance hasn’t been the same since.
You remember how you got all verklempt at the end of The Fast and the Furious when Dominic’s Charger met its doom? So this couldn’t possibly be the same car in Fast & Furious, right? Well, this is Hollywood, pal. If Vin Diesel can land speaking roles, shredded vintage Chargers can play Lazarus. Besides, the car is like the franchise: It’s been rebuilt and updated for another spin, but the first look was the best of the lot and the one worth remembering.