The graphic on the side of the butterscotch Toyota Supra in 2Fast 2Furious was an afro pick. And if that blows your mind, wait ’til you see how the studio faked a whole engine for the stunt cars. The main prop car though was actually pretty impressively built, even if it wasn’t set up to be fast.
It’s Christmas come early–we’ve got another Fast And Furious Backstory YouTube video from tuner car historian Craig Lieberman, and as usual, it’s quite good.
Lieberman had a big role in picking cars and designs for the first three F&F movies. But you don’t have to care about the flicks to appreciate his stories; they’re cool and interesting retrospectives on tuner culture of the era and how movie studios made cars look exciting on a budget.
(I’ve posted pretty much all of Lieberman’s vids over the last few months if you want to dig in.)
Anyway, back to the 2F2F Supra, as driven by actor Michael Ealy’s character and stunt man Kevin Jackson. Ealy, I learned from this video, was known as “Slap Jack” in the movie. Do they identify him by name at all on-screen? I don’t remember, I don’t think so. Ealy’s doing better in 2019, at any rate, so, good for him.
The car actually went on to have an oddly diverse resume too, with an appearance in Today You Die, Grandma’s Boy, and an NCIS episode.
Ho man, Grandma’s Boy. Classic. From the era when we all called everything “classic” to sound cool. As in: “Roman peed in the closet again? Classic.” Yeah, I’m not sure that movie would hold up to modern standards of what’s socially acceptable and I have no interest in finding out.
Dang, I’m having a hard time staying on-task this morning. The Supra! I’m proclaiming it to be one of the more legit cars in the movie franchise because it was actually built, with a big turbo and intercooler and everything. As opposed to some of the other cars, which were modded with, like, steering wheel covers, clear taillights, and five pounds worth of decals.
But that assessment only applies to the Hero car–the main prop vehicle that was used for close-ups and detail shots. On the stunt cars, to make the engine look modified through a clear Lexan hood, the studio took a life-size high-rez photo of the tuned engine and stuck to the bottom of the bonnet. How great is that?
Lieberman had a much easier time procuring parts for 2Fast than the original, of course, so he had a little more leeway to dial the sequel movie cars in. The look he was going for with Slap Jack’s Supra was inspired by the Top Secret Supra–a really sweet real-world underground tuner car.
The backstory of that car, by the way, is cooler than fiction. The Drive did a little blog on it when it was sold in 2017. Here’s an excerpt from Rob Stumpf’s piece:
“Originally built by speed-chasing legend “Smokey” Nagata, nicknamed for his trademark burnouts before high-speed runs, this Supra was way ahead of its time. Today, it’s commonplace to do crazy bastardized swaps that would make purists cringe, but in the ‘90s, most tuning companies worked with what they had. Smokey decided that this wasn’t the route he wanted to take when building Top Secret’s Supra and re-homed a 5.0-litre V-12 1GZ-FE engine from a Toyota Century into the Supra.”
Oh yeah, that is the stuff of radical tuner dreams. Makes me miss going to Hot Import Nights.
Alas, even with a big turbo, the movie Supra wasn’t anywhere near as epic as Smokey’s V12-swapped MKIV. Super Street actually reviewed it in 2003, asserting:
“This thoroughly beat drivetrain pushed the Supra down the real world quarter mile in a lackadaisical 14.5 seconds at 94.0 mph and made it from 0-to-60 mph in 6.4 seconds.”
“Feeling sloppy on the skidpad, the Supra could only manage to pull 0.90g, despite the big wheels and tires. It did drift dramatically however and, really, that’s more important in the movie world than grip.”
In the video, Lieberman says the car didn’t have the fuel delivery system needed to keep up with the turbo and make full use of its power. As the car only had to go about 60 mph for filming purposes, the studio figured, why bother investing more than they had to.
On another note, Super Street got the memo about Slap Jack being named Slap Jack a few years earlier than I did, but was just as confused about it:
“Why he’s called Slap or why he’s called Jack hasn’t been explained to us, but if he’s doing much slapping or jacking, he ought to stop before he goes blind.”
I can’t deny it, I still laughed at that in 2019. Maybe I would still like Grandma’s Boy after all.