When the going gets tough for Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) in Fast & Furious, he casts an eye (and one of those Vin Diesel signature raised eyebrows) over to his pristine 1970 Chevelle SS. And the result is this primer-wearing street fighter version of the muscle car.
Unlike the red version of the car, which looks like it just left the block at Barrett-Jackson, this version of the A-body is pared down, overpowered, brutal to its core and ready for battle. Believe it or not, some of the car's appearance is based on a modified Chevelle owned by film director Michael Mann.
In reality, the Fast & Furious picture car department didn't touch the two cars playing Dom's red Chevelle, but instead built six primered Chevelles to portray the street racer — including one used as an engine-less filming buck.
The most radical of the bunch was the one in the video above, which was built specifically to wheelstand. The picture car department lightened the front end of that one as much as possible, then installed a GM 502-cubic inch big-block V8 and an automatic transmission, and bolted in a spool rear end with 4.88:1 gears.
Then, atop all that, the special effects department added a steel tray out behind the rear bumper and filled it with about 700 pounds of lead weight. Just the slightest touch of the throttle and that car would wheelie perfectly — completely convincing from the front. And thanks to the miracle of computer graphics, the weight tray could be erased digitally for side shots.
One primer Chevelle was destroyed while performing a large jump and three of the stunt cars were damaged, but one survives pretty much intact. The four survivors are all in storage.
As Portrayed Specifications*
Type: GM Performance 502 big-block V8
Water pump: Weiand electric
Nitrous system: NOS
Fuel: Sunoco Racing Fuel
Exhaust pipes: Morse Muffler
Transmission: Richmond four-speed
Differential: Ford 9-inch with Detroit Locker
Front: Hotchkis shocks and springs
Rear: Hotchkis shocks and springs
Front: Wilwood discs
Rear: Wilwood discs
Type: Coys C-55 Gunmetal
Front size: 17-by-8.0 inches
Rear size: 17-by-9.5 inches
Type: General Exclaim
Front size: 235/50R17
Rear size: 275/55R17
Safety Belts: Crow
Roll cage: Matt Sweeney
Door panels: Matt Sweeney
Wheel: Grant Le Mans
Body: Year One body and trim
Hood: Hanaman fiberglass cowl induction
Paint: 5140 Customs Primer
* "As Portrayed" specifications indicate the state of the car as portrayed in the film. No single car was necessarily built to these specifications by the picture car department. But all the cars built to portray a vehicle in the film were constructed to appear as if so equipped.