Over the years in cinema, various characters and actors have become closely associated with iconic vehicles. James Bond is perhaps the first name that comes to mind. Numerous actors playing Bond have made themselves at home behind the wheels of some of the most luxurious and, in their respective times, cutting edge vehicles on the planet. Burt Reynolds may historically have been the one actor most closely associated with exciting cars. But it’s fair to say that by now that title has been transferred to Vin Diesel – the actor who’s so familiarized himself with American muscle that he is unsurprisingly Dodge’s new spokesman.
By this stage, Diesel’s connection to the world of fast and exciting cars is deep and undeniable. He was a virtual nobody when he first played the character of Dominic Toretto in The Fast And The Furious, a bold street racing movie that no one could have guessed would launch one of Hollywood’s most lucrative franchises. He’s now eight films in (though he didn’t appear in the second), and has also been used in various promotional materials and video games over that span.
In fact, he’s even been referenced in material that has nothing to do with the movies. An online game called Drive: Multiplayer Mayhem notes that it has a street racing theme that Vin Diesel would be proud of. This is a slot reel that has no licensing ties to the The Fast And The Furious franchise – but the reference gives you an idea of how much of an authority Diesel has become in this space. Diesel is the modern actor when it comes to cool movie cars.
What makes him even more noteworthy though is the fact that his association isn’t with fancy cars from British and German manufacturers (like Bond), or traditional sports cars like you see in so many action movies, and even elsewhere in the Fast And Furious films. The character of Dom Toretto is more rugged, focusing on strength and speed over flash (but not without a certain appreciation for a rare or souped-up car). With that said, let’s look at some of the best cars Diesel has driven in character throughout this sprawling franchise.
1970 Dodge Charger R/T
This is Dom’s signature car, and a fairly flawless exhibition of American muscle. In the film, it’s a car that he built with his father but ultimately came to fear after his father died in a stock race accident. But by the end of The Fast And The Furious he takes it roaring onto the streets of Los Angeles in one of the most memorable scenes of the entire series.
F-Bomb Chevrolet Camaro
The actual F-Bomb is a very rare car that didn’t appear in any of these movies. But in Fast And Furious (the fourth film in the series), Diesel drives a pretty good replica of it. The crew built six F-Bomb impersonators using GM 300hp Crate engines, and the effect is pretty good. It’s not Toretto’s most beautiful ride, but where power and muscle are concerned it gets the job done.
1966 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Sting Ray
This is on the fancier side for Toretto, but then again it isn’t really chosen by him. He and Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) actually steal this car from a train, bursting out and roaring to life to follow alongside the train before jumping into a gorge. It’s a shame for the car (they smashed several replicas in the filming), but as the beginning of Fast Five it’s one of the films’ more memorable sequences.
1969 Dodge Charger Daytona
Dodge has its fingerprints all over The Fast And The Furious 6, but this one is particularly fun. That’s because Toretto breaks it out for a street race in London, insisting on American muscle even when he’s mixing it up with villains abroad.
1970 Plymouth Barracuda
If you’re familiar with the character of Dom Toretto, you might think of this as his dream car. It just suits him even better than some of its similar counterparts, which is perhaps why it seems to be his car of choice when things are going peacefully in the movies. Dom has this car at the end of the sixth movie and at the beginning of Furious 7, driving it in peacetime for lack of a better term.
Dodge Ice Charger
This is Dom’s most noteworthy car in The Fate Of The Furious, and fittingly, he drives it on the ice. These films have gotten increasingly ridiculous, with bigger stunts, faster vehicles, etc. But this was a particularly cool car to see in action in that context, showcasing the beauty of good old-fashioned American muscle even when the other cars (and the stunts they perform) are getting flashier.
In the end, Dominic Toretto is just a character, and Vin Diesel just an actor. But over eight films, he’s put together a pretty impressive menu of American muscle cars that anyone might envy.