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These Are the Cars That Didn’t Make It Into The Fast and the Furious

Decisions, decisions...

Two decades ago, when Universal Studios was busy shooting an action movie for all the young people in America who were into the street racing scene, a production team had just a $2,000,000 budget to source and customize hero cars in the shortest time possible for an upcoming movie. Director Rob Cohen was pretty particular about what he didn’t want, so the list of rejects grew with time. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, this movie is 2001’s The Fast and the Furious.

Ultimately, the tuner-favorite 3000GT VR-4 was ditched because the Toyota Supra Mark IV was available to rent from technical advisor Craig Lieberman—who recently took to his YouTube channel to shared about these rejected cars. Plus, the Supra also featured a one-piece targa roof that fit a specific scene just perfectly. Then, there was the wild idea of putting Johnny Tran into a Mustang instead of a Honda S2000. Oh my.


On top of multiple cars being rented instead of purchased, Universal didn’t want models that weren’t on sale in the United States, nor classic JDM machinery, or in fact anything with right-hand drive. Mercedes-Benz cars were out due to their audience, Mazdas for the company’s general lack of product, and Hyundais and Kias for their poor reputations. Volkswagen’s New Beetle and the BMW Z3 were deemed “not manly enough” for Dom’s family, according to Lieberman, while the Nissan 300 ZX just wasn’t the setup with its two-piece targa roof. Sadly the Lexus IS200, the BMW E46 M3 and the GD-series Subaru Impreza STI weren’t considered because these were launched too late for the movie’s production schedule.

Still, Jesse could have driven a BMW E36 M3 or an Audi S4 instead of a Volkswagen, yet the most kitted out European car they could find happened to be a Jetta, and so that’s what the director picked. Again, The Fast and the Furious was aimed at the general public, not the hardcore car enthusiasts.

BMW E36 M3, Flickr | James Bryan

The holy Mazda Miata got knocked out by the much more powerful Honda S2000, and as one of the leading characters, Dominic Toretto’s tuned Mazda RX-7 was a fairly obvious choice. Remember Getaway in Stockholm 5?

Vince was supposed to drive a Toyota MR2, a Honda Prelude, or perhaps even a slammed Lexus GS. However, with the actor Matt Schulze being over 6 feet tall and the director looking for more optical tuning, Vince ended up driving Craig Lieberman’s Nissan Maxima. For Letty, they also considered both the Eclipse and the MR2, only to put her in a Nissan 240SX instead. As a supposed nursing student, Mia landed in a more subtle Acura Integra, owned by a woman in real life according to Lieberman.

Finally, the movie got a Nissan GT-R for Leon’s character, once the production team let the Toyota Celica idea go in exchange for a white R33 GT-R rented from MotoRex, which then got resprayed yellow for its important appearances on screen. By the way, do you even remember Leon?

These days, the franchise operates with a much bigger budget, and a VW Jetta would probably never make the cut again. Different times.

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