The Hollywood wackiness of Paul Walker’s snot green Mitsubishi Eclipse from the first Fast And Furious movie goes much deeper than that goofy “Danger To Manifold” display. Did you know the car’s exhaust note in the movie was actually a mix of a supercharged CRX and a turbo Integra?
The Fast And The Furious Technical Director Craig Lieberman recently caught up with John Lapid, the man who built and owned that Eclipse when the film was shot, and came back with a great interview full of unheard backstory on how this car came to be on screen.
Lieberman’s been on a roll uploading behind-the-scenes footage and retrospectives like this lately, which I’m happy to share with you, because they’re all pretty neat even if you only have passing interest in the movie series.
Watch (or just listen to) the interview for the full download, but I did think that fact about where the car’s exhaust note was synthesized from was pretty interesting.
As for why the Lapid built his tuner show car out of a basic Eclipse RS instead of a GST or all-wheel drive GSX, the turbo 4G63-powered versions that actual tuners were all about, the answer’s a little more obvious: the non-turbo was all he could afford.
Lapid explains that the car was Mercedes silver when he loaned it to Universal Studios for film production. He gave the studio permission to paint it, “anything but green,” he recalls.
That note obviously didn’t get passed along, but the colour the car ended up being I think totally worked for the movie. What didn’t work, what car enthusiasts have been laughing at for almost 20 years now, were lines like the “MoTeC Systems exhaust” and of course, the inexplicable jettisoning of a floorboard that happens while Paul Walker is drag racing. (Just... why?)
Lieberman recounts watching those scenes and laughing, and telling the movie’s director Rob Cohen there was “some stuff that needs to be done” to avoid ridicule from people who actually knew cars. Apparently the reply was “I hope not because we’re done,” and well, the rest is history.
At this point I think we can enjoy the movie without sweating details like that, and the main stuff, like which cars are featured in a movie about the early-aughts tuner scene, were spot-on.
But it’s cool to see the original owners of these movie cars resurfacing and talking honestly about their experience in tuner culture and in the making of these movies. They might not be technically flawless, but they do capture a big chunk of what people liked about these wild-looking modified machines.