Fast and Furious has some of the coolest movie cars known to man, from JDM imports that capture the magic of street racing in the late 1990s to timeless American V8s and supercars. However, movie cars are often not what they appear. Take the iconic black 1970 Dodge Charger appearing in Fast X. It’s supposed to be a horsepower monster with a supercharged HEMI under the hood but is actually powered by a GM motor. Blasphemy!
There’s a very good reason why you’d use an incorrect motor in the 1970 Dodge Charger, a car that’s iconic even without being in this movie. To find out what’s going on, Donut Media visited the shop that created all the cars for Fast X and found out all their secrets.
Their video starts with the most important one of all, Dom’s Charger. This sinister black machine looks like the one famously featured in The Fast and the Furious, the first movie, back in 2001. If you’re fans of the franchise, you know they have multiple examples of the same car and they almost never have the claimed modified engines. Custom Toyota Supra? Nope, just 280 horsepower, sometimes even an automatic. RB26-powered Mustang (Tokyo Drift)? Nope, it’s actually just a regular V8.
Movie producers do this for reliability reasons. You can’t abuse a custom V8 all day long during shooting and expect it to last. When it does break down, where do you get the spare parts? That’s why Fast & Furious cars use the simplest, most reliable engines they can, and the 1970 Dodge Charger is no exception.
The first big shock is that the supercharger on the Dodge Charger isn’t real. I mean, it is a real supercharger, made of metal and everything, but it’s powered by an electric motor that you turn on to make it spin and doesn’t do anything for the performance of the V8. It’s not a surprise, considering the Charger in the first movie had a fake supercharger glued onto the hood. Also, I think some of the Supras weren’t even turbocharged.
But the real shock is under the hood. The folks over at Donut don’t outright say “This Dodge has an LS motor” but they do hint at the fact quite clearly. It’s the kind of swap that will anger every Mopar fan in the world, and this isn’t the kind of marketing move you want to pull before the release of a major blockbuster.
According to our source, the V8 in question is a GM crate motor, the 6.2-liter LS3, most likely rated at 525 horsepower and 486 pound-feet of torque. Obviously, you can build the LS375 with a lot more power, but maybe the Fast X producers didn’t want to mess around with upgraded cooling or modified ECUs. The stock motor can be picked up from Chevrolet for $20,000 but usually needs another $5k in upgrades.
Carbon Charger in Act 3
But that’s just the Act 1 car, the one in which Dom teaches his son how to do donuts and smoke the tires. Because… family! In Act 3, we have an even more hardcore version of the Charger. Picture Car Coordinator Dennis McCarthy put together a crazy setup where most of the bodywork is made of carbon fiber, there’s a tubular chassis going through everything and the front HRE wheels are pushed 2 inches closer to the nose.
This is what you see in the scenes where the Charger is dropped from the sky onto other cars and where Dom drag races the unhinged villain played by Jason Momoa in his purple Chevy Impala. They made 14 examples of which only 3 have survived. Who knows, maybe 20 years from now, they will be worth a fortune at auction!
The supercharger is fake, just like in the first Charger. But at least the speed of the electric motor is synchronized with the position of the throttle. There’s also an awesome carbon fiber scoop on top.
I’d also quickly like to mention another interesting Fast X, the yellow Datsun 240Z, driven in the movie by a new character called Isabel, played by Daniela Melchior. It’s got a Pandem widebody kit and is supposed to be RB26-powered in the movie, although a small-block Chevy V8 actually resides under the hood. The turbo sticking out is fake as well.