The Picture Car Coordinator for the Fast and Furious franchise since its third outing (Tokyo Drift), McCarthy is responsible for identifying a vehicle that best personifies a character, sourcing said vehicle, and modifying it for both aesthetic and practical purposes. He’s brought to life some the biggest stars from the film series, such as Vin Diesel’s ’70 Dodge Charger.
McCarthy’s repertoire isn’t limited to Dominic Toretto and his band of misfits. Some of his recent credits include Death Race, Batman V Superman, and Captain America: Civil War, not to mention the upcoming Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War. Remember the opening scene in La La Land, the one where a bunch of idle commuters stuck on a freeway overpass suddenly, and for no good reason, jump out of their cars and break into song and dance? McCarthy and his crew coordinated that as well. By leaving indelible automotive impressions on moviegoers worldwide, McCarthy is creating a new generation of automotive icons similar to the Ford Mustang GT from Bullitt or the DeLorean DMC-12 in Back to the Future in the past. He is an automotive tastemaker of the highest order.
McCarthy has zero Hollywood pretense, however. A line producer he is not. Talk to him about the Fate of the Furious, and he still gets excited talking about makes and models, rattling off their wild modifications and the even wilder stunts they perform. From building cars to function on the icy conditions of Iceland to transporting in all of the stunt cars and necessary parts and tools for the scenes in Cuba to heaving dozens of cars off a multi-floor garage, when the film calls for real cars to do real things, McCarthy makes it happen (read: not the CGI or physics plot holes). He’s also making this listicle happen. The car wrangler picked his eight favorite cars from Fast 8 and the reasons why.
Caution, spoilers ahead.
“This is one of my favorite cars from the era. The classic fastback body style is what makes it an ideal ride for Vin Diesel’s character Dom in Cuba. In the movie, Dom's cousin has been working on this car for some time, and though far from completion, he’s on the right track. The Chevy is modified with a Turbonetics marine forced induction system, a makeshift NOS system, and is bolted up to a transmission out of a tractor with 4 forward gears and 4 reverse gears - a key ingredient to driving 100-plus mph backwards. To make it race ready, the Fleetline is stripped of anything not needed to reduce weight.”
“The Demon variant of the Dodge Challenger is a no-brainer. Any car that has over 800 HP and is drag strip ready, capable of 9-seconds in the quarter-mile from the factory, is a perfect fit for Fast and Furious. We tested the sticky tires and launch control system and I can honestly say that it's one of the most wicked factory hot rods to ever be produced. The characters Dom, Letty, Roman, and Tej (played by Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, and Ludacris, respectively) put the pedal down on the Demon to pull off the opening heist.”
“The Nissan IDx concept car is one of the coolest and most expensive imports we have ever featured in a Fast film. The retro Datsun 510-esque styling is nostalgic and I appreciate its rear-wheel drive configuration. I hope that the IDx or some variant of it will go in to production someday. Until then, most of us will have to settle for its cameo in the secret warehouse scene.”
“This is a body style I've always been a major fan of. This car in black, with 16-inch wide rear tires and a stance that’s as low as we could physically accomplish, gives it a very dark and ominous presence. It's a perfect match for Dom in Fast 8. I would love to see Dodge bring back a retro version of the '71 GTX. If it came with a Hellcat motor and 6-speed manual transmission, I'd be the first in line to pick one up.”
“C2 'Vettes were bad ass, right off the assembly line. Add in period correct fender flares, huge rubber and a bunch of power being fed through a Muncie 4-speed transmission to the independent rear suspension, and you have a combo for Letty that can't lose.”
“A new addition to the franchise, the character Little Nobody, played by Scott Eastwood, is a perfect match for the BRZ. This sport compact is an absolute blast to drive! Small, nimble and agile, it does everything right. If we would have had more time before production, turbocharging the BRZ would have been our next modification.”
“The last time we had an International/Navistar vehicle was the military MXT Dwayne Johnson drove in Fast & Furious 6. The version he drives in New York has more power and the very useful harpoon option, handy for hunting big prey. When size matters, this is what you want to be in.”
“I'm grouping two cars into this spot because they are both excellent examples of what a modern supercar should be. Amazing performance, yet each comes with every amenity needed for a romantic road trip to Santa Barbara with the wife. Those of you with significant others will know how valuable that is.”
“The Ripsaw is different and just plain cool. It's a light tank with tracks and .50 caliber machine gun. Unlike your typical tank however, the Ripsaw is a true performer equipped with a 700-horsepower Duramax engine, Allison transmission, 9-inch differential, and King shocks. Ludacris does things in the Ripsaw that other vehicles could never do.”
“In my opinion, the "Ice" Charger is the best car build from the Fast franchise to date. Four different versions were constructed for the film: 1) Three with all-wheel drive powertrains for going all out on the ice; 2) Two jump cars for catching big air, repeatedly, without breaking a sweat; 3) One shell car for the FX department to launch over the submarine; and 4) Three crash cars to spare our five high-effort builds for what they were designed to do. With the engine set back two-feet, all-wheel drive, extended track width, 5-inch Magnaflow exhaust system, and studded tires, saying that this car is aggressive would be a massive understatement. Add in an EMP weapon and a turbine generator to power the device, Dom and his '68 Charger are unstoppable!”