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The History of Dom's Charger | Fast and Furious Charger

Posted on 2020-05-20

The Fast & Furious franchise has captivated movie-going audiences for years with fast cars and death-defying stunts. In addition to the explosive chase sequences and racing that the films offer, the films have produced characters beloved by fans. 

One of the main characters is Dominic "Dom" Toretto, played by Vin Diesel, who has appeared in 7 of the 9 movies. As these movies are focused on cars, Dom's character isn't complete without his vehicle.

Dom's Charger from The Fast and The Furious

What Car Does Dom Drive?

When it came to creating a car for Dom, the filmmakers knew that a souped-up 1970 Dodge Charger R/T would be the perfect choice. The history of Dom's Charger covers a great deal of ground. From its origin story and the many times it's been destroyed to behind the scene's modifications that made the car ready for the big screen, Dom's Charger has been through a lot. 

The Car's Origin

"The Fast and the Furious," the first film in the franchise, introduced Dom's 1970 Dodge Charger R/T to audiences. In the movie, audiences learn that when Dom was a child, he helped his father build the Charger. With the car's 900 horsepower, Dom's father broke the record for the time it takes to go a 1/4 mile, traveling the distance in only nine seconds.

Dom recounts that though his father was a capable driver, he died in a racing accident. The death of Dom's father leaves him afraid of driving the Charger, and he refuses to get behind the wheel throughout the film. To reveal character growth and show off the Charger on the big screen, Dom ends up in a position where he has only one car left to drive — the Charger. 

After the shooting of a friend, Dom and Brian O'Conner chase after the killers. At the time, there are no other cars for Dom to drive other than the Charger. While facing his fears behind the wheel, Dom sees that he can control the car and use it for good. He catches up to one of the killers, Lance, and knocks him off his motorcycle and down a hill.

Once both of the killers have been dealt with, Brian and Dom meet at a red light. Instead of being terrified by the car, Dom now has the confidence to race it. As soon as the light turns green, they start drag racing. After they both narrowly miss an oncoming train, Dom wins the race.

After the race ends, Dom crashes into the end of a semi-truck by accident, sending the car into the air. Dom sustains only minor injuries, but the Charger is totaled. Dom takes over Brian's Supra, leaving the Charger on the road and ending the car's story in the first movie. 

Constructing Dom's Charger

The filmmakers built three different Chargers for the first movie, along with a buck. In film, a buck is a partially built vehicle that is attached to another working vehicle — it allows the actors to focus on saying their lines instead of driving the car. Each of the three Chargers had different purposes. One built for stunts, another for roll-over and the other, referred to as the Hero Charger, was built for close-ups. 

To create the Hero Charger audiences see on screen, the filmmakers wanted a 1970 Dodge Charger R/T as the base. However, the filmmakers had difficulty finding a 1970 Dodge Charger R/T and had to modify a 1969 Charger to look it like it was from 1970. They also implemented Cragar 200-S wheels and a fake BDS 8-71 Roots-style supercharger to really make a statement with the car's look.

In the movie, the car's specs include Hedman headers, Hotchkis suspension, slide brakes, Wilwood discs, a Flowmaster exhaust, a mounted supercharger and a Holley fuel pump. Dom's Charger also featured Nitrous Oxide to give the car an extra boost of speed when it needed it. The car's use of Rear-Wheel Drive and Continental Sport Contact Tires offers the car superior handling and grip while out on the road. 

Common Questions About the Film's Charger

To provide some reference points for what all these pieces of equipment mean, we've created a list of the most commonly asked questions about the original The Fast and The Furious Charger:

How Fast Is Dom's Charger?

According to the first movie, the Charger can go a quarter-mile in only nine seconds flat. This is an incredibly fast speed, as it would mean the car was going somewhere between 140 and 150 miles per hour to make that distance in such a short amount of time.

In real life, only a few racers have ever broken ten seconds. For example, one of the most expensive and powerful cars in the world, The Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, makes a quarter-mile in 9.7 seconds.

How Much Horsepower Did Dom's Charger Have?

The movie-version of the muscle car packs a whopping 900 horsepower that gives the vehicle the ability to speed past other cars while on the road. The addition of a N.O.S. 250 HP plate nitrous injection system gives the engine the ability to reach up to 1,100 horsepower whenever the N.O.S. is activated.

What Engine Was in Dom's Charger?

The car featured two engines — one that audiences saw and another that actually powered the car.

The Show Engine

In the shots of the Charger in Dom's garage, audiences see a Hemi racing engine mounted in the front of the vehicle. This supercharged engine was a beast, rumored to have 900 horsepower and a 250 shot nitrous. Its power added to the plausibility of how fast the Charger could really go. 

Since the engine was so powerful, the filmmakers didn't actually use it for filming. A 1970 Dodge Charger outfitted with that kind of engine would be difficult to control on the road, which could be a problem for filming highly coordinated driving shots. After getting the shots of the engine mounted in the car, the filmmakers shipped the engine back to the supplier. As such, the engine in the hero Charger isn't actually a Hemi.

The Real Engine

Since a 900 horsepower engine wouldn't be practical for filming purposes and could be incredibly difficult to control, the hero Charger actually ran on a big block performance built 440 Magnum engine, which is still in the car today. The roll-over Charger ran on a 318 engine.

What Year Is Dom's Charger in The Fast and The Furious 

The Dodge Charger R/T that Dom uses is largely considered to be from 1970. However, 1970 Chargers are difficult to find in good condition due to Hollywood's love of using them for dangerous stunts. To get around this difficulty, the filmmakers had to modify earlier Dodge Charger models to make them look like they were from 1970.

For example, the hero car used for close-ups in "The Fast and the Furious" was actually a Dodge Charger from 1969 that was customized to look like it was from 1970. The filmmakers did a good job with the conversion, as the car took on the appearance of a newer model perfectly. 

What Is Dom's Charger Worth?

Determining the value of Dom's Charger is difficult to say, especially since there have been so many versions of it. It's likely that the original Hero Charger from the first movie is the most valuable, as its the most iconic and desirable for collectors. To give you an idea of how much the car might sell for, consider that the original 1968 Ford Mustang used in the classic film, "Bullitt," recently sold for $3.74 million

1970 Dodge Charger R/T

Since the 1970 Hero Charger used in "The Fast and Furious" kicked off the mega-popular franchise, its value is likely very high. It also helps that the hero version of the 1970 Dodge Charger RT has been well taken care of since filming wrapped and is still in the same condition as it was on screen.

While the hero car isn't for sale, if it were, collectors would likely expect to pay top dollar for it.

What Is the Blower Motor on Dom's Charger From The Fast and The Furious 

The blower motor is one of the most memorable parts of Dom's Charger. Typically a blower motor helps to circulate air into and outside of your car. The blower motor helps to pull in air from the outside and push it through the vents of your heating or A/C systems. 

However, a supercharged blower, like the one on Dom's car, can help you pack more fuel and air into a car's cylinders, giving the car a boost in horsepower, starting speed and bottom-end performance.

The movie has the supercharged blower motor mounted inside the front carriage of Dom's Charger, coming through the hood, so the blower's prominently displayed for all to see. Like you might expect, the blower on the Charger is purely aesthetic in the movie and didn't actually offer any extra abilities to the car. 

How Did Dom's Charger Change Over the Years?

Dom's Charger has been heavily featured in "The Fast and the Furious," "Fast & Furious," "Fast & Furious - Fast Five" and "Furious 7." With this amount of use, the filmmakers continued to build the Charger's lore, and, at times, added new features and upgrades to it. 

1970 Dodge Charger

Below you can find out more about the car's evolution and story over the years:

"Fast & Furious"

Picking up where the last movie ended, Letty Ortiz, Dom's then-girlfriend, gets possession of the wrecked Charger, working on it to get it back to driving condition. After Dom returns to Los Angeles, he finishes rebuilding the vehicle and drives it to Mexico to take out the film's primary villain, Arturo Braga. Unfortunately for the vehicle, Dom has to jump out of it as the car barrels towards explosives. The Charger ends up hitting the explosives and is destroyed again.

However, at the end of the film, audiences see Brian driving the Charger in mint-condition. Though "Fast & Furious" extended the lore of Dom's Charger, it didn't add any modifications to it.

"Fast & Furious - Fast Five"

In "Fast & Furious - Fast Five," the filmmakers decided to make a whole new Charger rather than rely on the one used originally. One of the changes included moving the supercharger lower. In the first two films the Charger was featured in, the supercharger went through the hood and sat on top of it. In "Fast Five," the new supercharger sat much lower in a hole in the hood. 

Another main change came with the addition of large-diameter wheels and tires that gave the vehicle a more contemporary look. One of the six Chargers purchased for the film also featured a blown 528-cubic-inch Hemi V8 engine. 

During this iteration of the Charger's story, the vehicle is used by Brian to help break Dom out of a prison bus. After escaping the bus, Dom takes control of the car again and drives it to Rio de Janeiro. 

Off-screen, later in the movie, Dom uses the Charger to win a Porsche 996 GT3 RS in a pink slip race. Dom is last seen when Luke Hobbs smashes into the Charger with an armored car. The film continues to show the vehicle as a powerful racing machine that Dom has grown more and more comfortable driving. 

"Furious 7"

For "Furious 7," the filmmakers took a different path, placing two 1970 Dodge Charger R/Ts in the movie. One of the cars was the original Charger that Dom has been using throughout the series. The second Charger was heavily modified to be taken off-road. 

To build the "Off-Road" Dodge Charger R/T, the production team decided to place a Dodge Charger body over a Pro-2 chassis. This new chassis gave it the ability to drive on rough terrain and navigate off-road environments. The film shows Tej Parker installing parts from a military jeep onto it to improve its durability. With all of these modifications, some have compared the Charger to vehicles found in the original "Mad Max" movies. 

The off-road Charger is used in the movie to help rescue a hacker, Ramsey, from the antagonist of the film, Mose Jakande. The film shows the Charger drop out of a plane and fall to the ground with a parachute deployed. Dom also uses a grappling hook installed on it to rip the back wall of a bus off.

In a moment where Dom and Ramsey are trapped by terrorists, Dom drives the car down a steep cliff in an attempt to get them out of harm's way. The car begins to roll down the cliff, which ends up destroying it. Dom and Ramsey, however, survive. 

Back in Los Angeles, Dom uses his original Charger in a game of chicken with Deckard Shaw. They both crash their cars together, but the Charger does major damage to the front of Shaw's vehicle. Dom's Charger is destroyed at the end of the film when he vaults the car off a parking garage, so he can get close enough to throw a grenade into the villain's helicopter. Though he succeeds in blowing up the helicopter, the Charger crashes and is destroyed. 

For now, this is where Dom's Charger's history ends. However, the car is expected to reappear in the next Fast & Furious movie.

Where Is the Charger From The Fast and The Furious?

The Volo Auto Museum is proud to display the screen-used hero Dodge Charger that Vin Diesel drove in "The Fast and the Furious." The other Chargers from the film include a stunt car that has been restored and is owned by a private collector in Italy, the rolled over stunt car is in a museum in Indiana, and the buck is owned by a private collector. 

See Dom's Charger at the Volo Museum 

Who Owns the Charger From The Fast and The Furious?

The Charger from "The Fast and the Furious" displayed at our museum is also owned by us. As for the other chargers, they are kept in private collections or other museums. If you're a fan of Dom and his Charger, come check out our 1970 Dodge Charger - "The Fast and the Furious" exhibit

At the Volo Auto Museum, we have something for every age. We also have a collection of other famous movie cars throughout our TV & Movie exhibit

Start planning your trip today! 

 

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