The 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle driven by Ryan Gosling’s character Driver in the movie, “Drive” was not the first choice of director Nicolas Winding Refn.
“The vehicle that was originally chosen was an earlier model Chevelle,” said Darrin Prescott, Drive’s stunt coordinator. “The vehicle they really wanted had already been in a movie – it was the Chevelle SS that ‘The Rock’ drove in ‘Faster‘.” (Mr. Prescott was also stunt coordinator on “Faster”.) Ironically, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in that movie also played a character merely named “Driver”!
Watch for the white-on-matte-black Chevelle SS (and a quick flash of a certain gold ’66 Pontiac GTO) in the vehicular mayhem shown during the “Faster” trailer:
There has been some debate about what year that “Faster Chevelle” really is. The movie car was supposed to be a 1970 model, which is highly collectible and valuable. But it’s really a 1971 – and a 1972.
The movie’s prop department reportedly built three of the Chevelles, using 1971 chasses, with a mix of 1972 and 1970 body panels thrown in. The key appearance markers, such as the headlights and front clip, were from the correct model year parts catalog.
The reason for the sleight of hand was a matter of simple economics: All of the movie cars came in for some damage; wrecking 1970 Chevelles was deemed too much of a luxury (not to mention sacrilegious).
So, some clones were sacrificed to the Gods of Cinematic Glory.
Early in pre-production, the filmmakers commissioned a poster for “Drive”, that had Mr. Gosling standing in front of a blue 1966 Chevelle. What happened to that? I don’t know. But I suppose that poster may become something of a collector’s item?
Mr. Gosling said once the choice of a 1973 Chevelle was made for “Drive”, he personally dismantled it and rebuilt it. That’s how car and Driver finally bonded.
September 20, 2011