Some of the cars that have a huge following today wouldn’t be as famous as they are if it wasn’t for the Fast&Furious franchise. The Toyota Supra, for one, has become known to a much larger audience thanks to the first film. With that in mind, according to the movie’s technical director, Craig Lieberman, some of the cars on screen could’ve been very different, so lets take a look at what was rejected.
Lieberman made a video on his YouTube channel detailing all the possible cars that could have been used in the original Fast & Furious movie, and why they were either picked or rejected. Before any personal decisions were made, director Rob Cohen laid down a couple of ground rules. The basics were that, due to budget constraints, the cars had to be sold in America, and ideally would be rented.
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On top of that, certain brands were immediately ruled out due to their image. Hyundais and Kias were considered boring economy cars at the time, so they were a no-go. Mercedes‘ seemed too expensive for the kind of boy-racer action in the movie, so they were also out. Besides the RX-7, Mazda’s performance cars were limited. The Miata was deemed to feminine, and they went with the Honda S2000 instead. In a similar vain, the Volkswagen Beetle and BMW Z3 were were also ruled out for allegedly not being manly enough.
Other cars didn’t make the cut for practicality or timing reasons. The Nissan 300ZX and Mitsubishi 3000GT were both candidates for Brian’s car, but the 300ZX’s two-piece targa roof wasn’t conducive to the stunts the movie required, and none of the 3000GTs that showed up to the casting calls were regarded as suitable for the movie. As for timing, cars like the Lexus IS, BMW M3, and Subaru WRX would’ve all been considered, but they were released either too late into the movie’s filming, or after its release.
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On to the cars that could have been. Jesse could’ve driven a BMW E36 M3 or an Audi S4 instead of a Volkswagen, but the most modifiable European car they could find at the time was a Jetta. Vince was supposed to drive a Toyota MR2, a Honda Prelude, or even a Lexus GS. However, due to height constraints with the actor who played him, he ended up driving Lieberman’s personal Nissan Maxima.
Both the Mitsubishi Eclipse and the Toyota MR2 were considered for Letty, but ultimately they chose to put her in a Nissan 240SX instead. Mia landed an Acura Integra, as it was owned by another woman in real life, and for Leon they went with a Nissan GT-R (even though it went against one of their ground rules) once they gave up on the idea of him driving a Toyota Celica. The white R33 GT-R that they got was later resprayed in its iconic yellow color for its on-screen appearances.
Can you imagine Brian O’Connor driving a 300 ZX or a 3000GT? Lieberman probably did at one point, and you can hear his thoughts about working on the movie in more detail in the video below.