Posted by: Jerry Garrett | May 2, 2011

The Sad Fate of the Fast Five Dodge Chargers

(Courtesy Dodge)

It certainly seemed like a bunch of new Dodge Chargers got wrecked in the movie, “Fast Five”. Turns out that’s true; in fact, some of them were wrecked over and over.

Dodge is not saying how many of its vehicles were used in the movie, but the number was in the dozens. It may have looked like hundreds, but that was because many that were damaged were repaired – just so they could be wrecked again.

“Vehicles were destroyed during the daily shooting and making of the movie,” explained Dianna Gutierrez, a Dodge communications specialist, in an email to me. “The vehicle team would rebuild them at the end of the evening so they could be used again the next day for filming.”

This was no easy task, as vehicles were rolled over repeatedly, crashed into each other, wrapped around trees and lampposts, and launched into the bay. Don’t you wish your body shop could rebuild your car overnight?

The Chargers appeared in several guises, principally masquerading as patrol cars for the Rio de Janeiro police department. This was one of the funnier aspects of the movie for me because: The movie was filmed principally in Puerto Rico, not Brazil; no police department – Rio’s on anyone else’s – uses hopped up Dodge Chargers with 20-inch tire and five-spoke mag wheel packages; and, real Rio cop cars are mostly pathetically slow Renault sedans and Nissan mini-pickups.

Chevy-powered no more.

What about reports, originating with Dennis McCarthy, the movie’s picture car coordinator, that the iconic 1970 Dodge Charger R/T in the movie was actually a “replicar” Charger powered by a 400-cubic inch motor from Chevrolet? Dodge confirms this, but notes they took steps to “fix” that situation.

“We actually provided two 628 Mopar high performance motors to Picture Cars, but some of the early footage (already shot) showed the Chevy,” Ms. Gutierrez said.

Another interesting Charger footnote: The movie featured 2011 Chargers, even though the filming was done many months before the re-designed ’11 Chargers went into production.

Fake Rio cop cars: Note roof lines differ on 2010 & 2011 Chargers.

“A number of 2010 and 2011 Dodge Chargers were used for this movie,” Ms. Gutierrez said. “When filming was taking place, the 2011 model was not yet in production so we used a number of pre-production models.  We also took painstaking effort to take 2010 models and turn them into 2011 models, which was no easy task with the number of changes from model to model.  But, in the end, it was a more cost-effective process to do rather than have the studio create CGI images of the vehicle.”

Finally, when shooting wrapped, what happened to the movie’s Chargers?

“In the end,” Ms. Gutierrez confirmed, “all had to be destroyed since they were pre-production and therefore not certified as road-worthy.”

Jerry Garrett

May 2, 2011


  1. Even though the chargers were replicars,they were still awesome in the movie!

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