A MKIII Volkswagen Jetta apparently wasn’t The Fast and The Furious Technical Director Craig Lieberman’s first choice for what would be known as Jesse’s car - it was originally going to be an E36 BMW M3. But the Jetta’s origin story and post-Hollywood life is also pretty interesting.
Lieberman sat down with Scott Centra, the tuner who built and owned the Jetta when the movie came out, and recorded almost an hour of reminiscing and recalling how the car made its way into the movie and what happened to it afterwards.
Also, there are some cool shots of the vehicle’s interior you might not have seen before. But my favourite part of the conversation is Centra’s insistence that the car did, in fact, have front brakes.
In case you need a refresher on one of the movie’s most egregious technical fails: in the Jetta’s biggest moment in the movie, when Jesse goes up against Johnny Tran and his S2000 with “more than a hundred grand under the hood,” the stunt VW’s got fake giant brake rotors behind its 19-inch wheels which don’t have callipers on them.
(If you look closely, you can see the movie cycles between two different interiors, too... one Jetta has a sweet red-and-white situation with a Momo wheel, one Jetta has a much more basic interior with a cheesy red steering wheel cover.)
Observant automotively-inclined viewers noticed the brake straight away, and people are still complaining about it, “to this day” says Centra. But he’d also like the world to know that the real car had a sweet custom Brembo brake system. So. There you go.
The two also talk about the import scene in general, the evolution of the F&F movies, and how Centra swiped a sweet prop with Vin Diesel’s name on it.
This clip is one of several really cool backstage info-dumps Lieberman has been uploading recently, and I’m really into it.