In the Fast & Furious universe, the most intimidating car is always whatever Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) is driving. And usually what's under Toretto's butt is a Dodge Charger of some sort: either old or new. In Fast & Furious 6 (as in Fast Five), while Toretto drives an old Charger through much of the film, in the end he does most of his heist work with a new Charger. In this latest case it's the most powerful Charger of them all, the SRT8 with a 470-horsepower, 6.4-liter Hemi V8 under its hood.
Dodge has long supported the Fast & Furious films by supplying vehicles, and it shipped 11 new 2012 Charger SRT8s to Dennis McCarthy's picture car department for this film. And because they were brand-new cars, there wasn't much that McCarthy's crew had to do to mechanically prepare them for movie hero work. But there was some cosmetic work that needed to be done.
In early 2012 McCarthy organized a developmental test session for the Fast & Furious 6 cars at California's Willow Springs Raceway. And there, amid all the fabricated insanity McCarthy's shop had produced, was one black SRT8 that looked as if it had just come off the lot at Glendale Dodge Chrysler Jeep. It, and its red leather interior, seemed almost out of place.
A year later the same car is gray, wearing 20-inch Viper wheels, equipped with front and rear nerf bars and some brackets on its roof, and the interior has been turned black. And while it showed only a few hundred miles on its odometer, those had clearly been very tough miles. Such is the hard life of a movie star.
As anyone who has seen the film's trailer knows, the SRT8's role is at the climax where it, along with some Alfas, brings down a Russian Antonov cargo plane that's trying to take off. And it does it with the help of a Warn winch mounted to a tubular steel bracket in the trunk. Plausible? Hey, if you're still in the audience by the end of the movie you've already bought in anyhow.
And it looks cool bursting through the Antonov's nose.
Easygoing but Hard-Core
The Sparco front seats aren't as accommodating as the SRT8's original thrones and there are a relatively well-hidden roll cage and four extra buttons on the steering wheel hub, but otherwise the interior of this FF6 Charger is a pure Chrysler product. That is if you don't count the black paint peeling off some of the surfaces.
So the SRT8 starts with the press of a button and it settles into... well, the usual idle one gets with the Hemi. It's all so very close to almost ordinary. Then there are those four buttons on the steering wheel: putatively one pair operates the winch and the other the nitrous system. NOS!!! Not that there's actually a nitrous system installed.
Still, the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 is a very powerful and very fast car. It's not quick enough that it will do wheelies. Unless, of course, Dominic Toretto is driving.
His cars always do wheelies.