15 Years On: The Fast & The Furious Memories

This month marks the 15th anniversary of the release of The Fast and the Furious - the film which not only spawned a franchise that’s now seven movies deep and counting, but also a movie that had a significant impact on car culture around the world.

Earlier generations had American Graffiti and Vanishing Point, but The Fast and the Furious was the car movie for the 21st century.

To commemorate the milestone, Universal is bringing the original film back to theaters for one day only on June 22nd, and I’m sure the seats will be filled with people wanting to relive their experiences, along with those who missed out seeing it on the big screen the first time around.

So with that in mind, I thought it would be fun to share some our own memories of The Fast and the Furious. I’d only had my license for a few months when the movie came out in 2001, and I distinctly remember driving my ’73 Plymouth Duster to the theater with a friend. I recall thinking the movie was a little cheesy, but a pretty fun watch overall. And as exaggerated as it was, compared to the sequels that came later the original could almost be considered a documentary in its plot and realism.

But what I remember more than anything is the craziness in the movie theater parking lot once the film had finished. I’ll never forget the image of one guy unlocking his early-’90s Honda Accord, starting it up and then mashing the gas pedal with his foot while still standing outside car; the sound of its cold air intake and fart-can exhaust filling the air. My buddy and I still laugh about it to this day. In response, I may or may not have channeled my inner Toretto with a lame burnout (no wheelie unfortunately) in my 318-powered Duster. Things were never going to be the same.

The recent Fast and Furious franchise films have become over-the-top action flicks with an automotive theme, but the first movie was something of a revelation – for better or worse. Or at least that’s how it felt to a teenager with a car back in 2001.

What about you guys?

Mike Garrett
Instagram: japanifornia



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I think that the real soul of FnF is lost. I mean: how many of us would see came back a real Automotive movie series, about modified cars, street racing and all the stuff that are connected with this world? Im really disappointed with the evolution of this movies, i hope that will become like the Shotokou series.


GianlucaEtna Yeah, it seems like it's more about crashing cars than celebrating them, but that's what happens when they try to appeal to mainstream culture.


If it didn't apeal to the masses though it would of never been made, considering the budget, and certainly not the sequels. Which sucks. It's like I want to hate the other movies and even some parts of the first movie, but I understand why they exist and why those scenes, the ridiculousness and storyline threads were put in.


really, one day? car and driver said 2 days, 22nd and 23rd.


i was in San Antonio when the movie first came out. I had just recently got my first car as well. A 1995 4 door auto civic lx. After the movie ended it was madness. Everyone, and i  I mean EVERYONE that left the theater that night drove home as fast as their car could go. I remember passing a guy in another civic with his young kids pilled in the back. I've since moved from hondas, but I've been wasting money on cars ever since.


All Fast & Furious movies are trash... except for the first one. A perfect balance of cheesy and drama. Very, very little CGI, decent level of film grain, lots of on-location shooting. It shows that you don't need an end-of-the-world scenario to generate tension in a movie about cars and the people who drive them.


The automotive/aftermarket industry for cars would never be what it is today if it weren't for the first Fast and Furious


Leroy P i thought tokyo drift was quite good as well.


I remember buying a region 1 DVD to watch it ASAP (and over and over again). Never thought FAF would have such an effect on the industry and change the landscape of the car scene so much. Fair play to RJ and Craig Lieberman for doing such a great job consulting. The game changed. Forever.


It was a revaluation to me.  As a 13 year old kid in rural Idaho surrounded by nothing but muscle cars (not that there was anything wrong with that, it just wasn't for me), watching the first FnF made the world my oyster.  If it was not for that movie I would not have gone on to accomplish nearly as much as I have today.

Deep Dishin It

I like to watch the movie and spot the OG parts and wheels. Remember this movie was back before ebay flooded the market with cheap knock-off parts.


When the first one came out I was just 3 years old and the F&F series haven't entered China at that kind of time, and I couldn't remember the exact year I got into the theater and watched the 6th episode of F&F. What came next is an afternoon in which my family watched the Tokyo Drift at the national TV channel later that year(Pretty weird that I could remember that but can't figure out the exact number of year LOL).
In that particular day's later time my dad and I had something to sort out at the city's northern side(we live in southern part of the town),and we had a Suzuki Kei-car which had a redline at 8200 RPM.
And the following thing would be easy to guess-my father floored it. 
this was the first time of being experienced the "pedal to the metal"(the second time is rushing to train station to pick up my friends in a taxi, and cabbies in Hangzhou really handle cars well...).
Then I guess it's time to go for revisions hahah


I wish we could bring back the body kits and "tuning" of the early 2000s


Love them Veilside Kits on EG's 
The Real Veilside aero kit not that Shogun knock off


Correction Veilside Front bumper =)


@Deep Dishin It Remember Racing Hart Wheels


Ben Chandler Grip Video was pretty cool as well Mischief DVD


Here is a pic of the car I just got in from working on in the garage. It should speak for itself...
I never saw the original in theaters but the one-two punch of me seeing the first F&F on VHS and the release of the first NFSU blew my mind. Prior to that my only exposure to cars had been old-school customs, which were cool, but never really grabbed me.
I originally built this car with my dad as a senior project in 2009. He was a custom painter in the "street freak" era and was stoked to do some airbrush work again. Unfortunately it doesn't come through well in the photo. I now own a couple much more current looking cars but this is still my baby. Currently it's undergoing a huge revamping project to put it back on the streets and in shows.


When I first saw it I was an amateur with an heavy foot. After the movie I almost blew myself to pieces.Now I jump from airplanes in funny looking off-road wheeled sorta drag cars.


TarmacTerrorist I think that this situation is promoted by an average portion of car enthusiast, that like explosion and exotic cars. FnF is NOT exotic cars, is NOT explosion, is not CIA or FBI involved, is another type of story.


I was into imports before f&f came out, but when I saw the movie for the first time I felt validated. Can't wait until June 22nd! Here is a pic of my first real tuner from 2003, my 2g eclipse with Silvia headlights, I've grown with the game but I still miss that car.


Aha! It's you! How's the project going dude??


Conflicted is how I feel about FNF. I want to dislike some of it... But at the same time it was the first proper vehicle movie since gone in 60..... And a lot of it was enjoyable.
Just talking about this article with a friend I went to see the first movie with and he pointed out we rolled his 1.1popular plus fiesta as we went round a roundabout after watching the first FNF.
It wasn't a spectacular smash it was more a really slow toppling of the car onto a grass verge. Didn't even smash a window. Rolled car back over, wouldn't start (worth a go I guess....) and waited for the AA.
After the spark plug needed drilling out during repairs for the roll he brought a mk1 focus next and snapped the rear axle and wrote off the rear wheels the same day as it was delivered.
I started making my own way and back to nights out after that.


I spent a lot of early 2000's in the US (mainly Idaho) and fell in love with the twin turbo eclipse spider a co-worker had. great fun, I can understand why you miss it.


People seemed a lot more open to having fun with their cars didn't they?


TarmacTerrorist yeah but it's mostly because now the fucking epa are being dicks to car enthusiasts, making it almost impossible to enjoy what we love.


I remember when I first saw it, I was this crazed 14-year old muscle car enthusiast. I thought that all the cars were just the stupidest things I'd ever seen, and then that Charger hit the screen and I had to pause to mop up my drool. Nearly cried when it hit the truck at the end. I slowly grew into import cars as I got older, and actually prefer most of the other cars to it now. But it is pretty bitchin' still.


Movie was and always will be an embarrassment to the Japanese car scene in the US.

I like Paul Walker though.


Air install is going great so far man! Which actually makes me nervous, nothing easy ever happens with this car haha. Rest of the to do list shouldn't be too hard though.


The Ferrari VS. Supra scene pushed me into being a gearhead.


remember back when i was 8,i've watched 2f2f lots of time that i can even memorize almost every part of brian and rom scripts. the skyline was identical to me due to the its back lights and the two stripes on the roof. thought it was call skyline because of the two stripes lol.


Good show!
I know what you mean about worrying when it's all going correct, received a new seat for the front of my project, I'm certain it's not going to fit even though we have measured it six times... The paranoia is universal dude.


I remember I was camping in PEI for the week it came out and we packed the cars (friends in the trunk) to go see it from the campground. I was only in the trunk on the way there, fortunately. The way home was when everyone had the heavy pedal. ;)


FnF is an amazing caricature of the scene. It's like Supafly, but for the car scene lol. 
The first handful are so fun to watch, especially when you catch them airing in succession on tv.


I could see FnF being enjoyable if you were a kid. But if you were an adult the whole thing was an embarrassment.


Growing up watching these movies and how they progressed, the biggest thing it did for me was get me to realize that there is a whole world of cars out there and many more styles than what I was raised on (mostly jeeps and hot rods).


I was 14 when it came out and I walked 8kms to my local news shop through rural France and 8kms back. I may have skipped school to do so.
I watched it in english twice back to back, in french with my friends later in the day and in english again with my parents that night.
I've loved all of the fast and furious movies. Yes they're far from reality but who cares.
They got me into tuning cars and like many of you I've been throwing money at cras and bikes ever since.


I don't recall watching the movie in theaters probably because I can't remember and that I'm old I'm not in my teens anymore when it came out but still it had a huge impact on me tinkering with cars and everything that moves with wheels. I even cried when Paul Walker died probably because of the alcohol I consumed that time but who cares I really loved f&f franchise even if the plot is always the same. Looking forward to f&f 8.


Holy crap! I was like 5 years old!  Man the best scene was the Civic heist part and the races we're all great(Especially when "More than you can afford pal," then revs lol) 2JZ_GTE FTW! but yeah...  RIP Paul Walker


I was just coming of age. I would've been 10/11. As the series grew in popularity and general modifying cars and car games like NFS surpassed the standard conservative tuning of the likes of Gran Turismo, it was hard for any other young boy my age to avoid car modifying. I didn't watch it in the cinemas but you should ask car guys who were my age now when F&F first came out what Auckland NZ was like. One of our main streets was turned into a drag strip, shops and gas stations along that drag strip were popular spots for hardparks and burnouts, and one of the main streets out in South Auckland was a drag strip too. Roscommon Road and Quay St. There's a video on YT where one guy yells out Lil Jon's catch phrases during a burn out comp and no one bats an eyelid. My generation can't get away with what they did :P


I was already a big car fanatic before FNF Burt I remember at 14 playing Tokyo extreme racing and the FNF movie trailer was a bonus video and I to watched the movie line four times in theaters, goods memories.


The first movie is epic but my favourite one is Tokyo Drift :)


Who remembers NOS button on the red RX7 ?!


15 years later and I still don't know why NOS made the floor pan fall off!


Richtea78 Nos caused the crank to walk and the vibration made the bolts back out.


What I remember is how the car forums blew up, mostly against the movie. I still remember the one post where some kid insisted a dropped Honda Civic is low enough to drive under a semi trailer.
But you know I've seen each installment multiple times.....


Jagdroach Nice livery bro and the buddy club front bumper


American Graffiti & Vanishing Point? Is that it?
What about Bullit, The Original Gone in 60 seconds and the Nicolas Cage Remake, what about Smokey & The Bandit, and Cannon Ball. All of them way better and with more Plot & realism than the first FF or any of the other.
By far tokyo drift is the best.
And the way the franchise has evolve from simple street racers to international james bond type and the only hope to save the world? I mean for real? And then the lack of realism when it comes to driving the cars...like manually shifting on a GTR or on a Aston Martin like in the last movie it just spoil the scenes.


Richtea78 Why in the hell would you have that damn piece of diamond plate there anyways?????? Who the hell wants access to the road from inside the car (other than James Bond)?


Tokyo Drift was the best, ironic cause of the lack of Paul Walker, I liked them better when they were more about the cars and the driving not some stupid terrorist crap blockbuster nonsense, their cheese was what made them awesome, some of the cars were truly hideous/awful though!!!


The impression was how they present the power from combustion chamber, then to conrods and the crankshaft, then to transmissions, then to driveshaft....and boom! Yeah I can't forget that for sure


At least your Duster had the 318. My first car, which also happened to be a 73 Duster, was graced with the slant 6. The only burnout it ever did was after it became stuck on a slight uphill in the ice during one winter night in the neighborhood with friends. It had front and rear bench seats, half original white and half gray primer exterior, and a front suspension setup that would navigate a 45 degree left turn by letting go of the steering wheel. . .Memories


I'll be honest - I still haven't seen a single one of these movies. Every time I start looking for one to download I end up watching Wangan Midnight again instead.


I spend my professional life in a hot-rod / muscle car / classic car shop. Wrenching, restoring, and modifying cars like 40 Fords, Boss Mustangs, and the occasional Packard, Rolls Royce, etc. I love my old cars. I love history, I love the design, I love the art, and the mechanical craziness that can only come from a pen and pad - instead of a computer and engineer.
That being said - I have two EG civics, and two NA Miatas. Why? Cause a true enthusiasts respects all facets of the car culture. Respect is held within vision, workmanship, desire, and drive. Respect is something that is transcendent of make, model, and "style." To each their own, and if you come hard/correct more power to you and you have my respect. Ability isn't attitude, and passion isn't dependent on pricetag.
The first FnF movie was fantastic because everything everyone thinks is the best parts is not. Delete the cars, the racing, the stereotype, the heist, etc.
What are you left with? A bunch of enthusiasts who love CARS regardless of make, and celebrate it by surrounding themselves with like-minded car people. There is nothing better than that. When a actor does a movie - that inspires them to pick up the automotive lifestyle - you know that movie is important in some way. The movie created millions of car people. Some bad, but most good. You can't discount that there is an entire generation of car people that were inspired by the movie. The posers, wannabes, and fakes will come and go - but the real car guys and gals stay, evolve, and do great things. You can't hate on that.
The line that everyone makes fun of, when Dom says "I live my life a quarter mile at a time, and for those ten seconds or less - I am free" especially rings true with me. Growing up in a household I didn't want to be in, in an area of the country I didn't want to reside in - the minute that magical laminated card hit my hand I was gone. My car embodied my freedom, and for that I am forever grateful. Cars are so much more than an appliance.
Every car movie has it's crappy moments. It is the nature of the beast. But if you really, really look at the content of the first FnF - it is pretty awesome and deserves a place among the great car movies of all time.


D1RGE Hatch like that came on russian ZAZ 968, for fisherman, so that you could do ice fishing from inside the car. :D


 lol " I love my old cars. I love history, I love the design, I love the art,
and the mechanical craziness that can only come from a pen and pad -
instead of a computer and engineer."Without the engineers
building those old cars, you'd have nothing to work on.   They are the
true masters that enable your art.   Everyone can't be an engineer, but
don't flatter yourself.  You're just a wrench monkey.


F&F is more important than any other car film not because it was a great film, had great actors, or had a great plot.  To be honest it's a pretty shitty movie, but it paved the way for the car modifying scene to have a global platform.  Before car modifying and being in a car community wasn't as easily accessible, F&F put it in the minds of young kids that car culture was cool and they all looked up to one day owning a car and modifying it on their own.   These kids have grown up to make the awesome car culture we have today.    No other film did that, at any other period of time.   That is why F&F is so special to car enthusiasts now.


CozzyCozbourne I hope you're talking about the anime not the movie.


Ninjas. The answer is always "ninjas".


I knew full well that the real technical aspects of the scene would be missed in the film. So I never once expected that to be correct. What else I didn't expect, was the entire script from Point Break - LMAO. It's funny though - ppl say that FnF made the Supra an icon. Hardly. That car was an icon already. But to see where this franchise has gone.... to see it STILL in the theater's ALL THIS TIME.... I NEVER saw that coming. For good, for bad, it's here, and it's still entertaining. But 2Fast 2Furious was THE WORST of the franchise - still is - will always be - but introducing Roman - that was the bright spot - for sure. The only reason ANYBODY is interested in modern cars - is because of FnF. I truly believe that.

Growing up (and licensed to drive) in the 90's and only wanting to own imported machinery - man - you fought for your right to be respected EVERY DAY. Going to tracks in MD and NJ, tracks like MIR and Atco, that were on the brink of closing - bleachers you were scared to sit on - and then watch that "IDRC" money change things. The FnF film was a culmination of all of that. Sure it was corny in a TON of ways, but it's gotta be the greatest automotive themed film series of all time.


Bearsdkills theAngryMarmot 
Did I offend you a bit? Lol.
Let me explain my point, because you missed it.
Lets zoom back in time a bit. Many of the people who designed some of the most amazing production and race cars were not engineers. Just really smart people, with a metric crap-ton of passion.
For example,
When the guys at Shelby (many of which were not "official engineers" like Pete Brock, who dropped out of engineering school.......) were scribbling dimensions on the concrete floor for the Daytona coupe, and scoffed when a "real engineer" told them the aerodynamics wouldn't work (and it did for the time) - were they "wrench monkeys" - I think not.
There is a big, big difference between those guys, and the engineering student who is not a "dyed in the wool" car person and held to more rigid and restrictive guidelines.
If you watch videos of the "old timers" talk about their work, and then watch interviews with "new guys" engineers in the auto industry it is plain to see there is a major difference between the passion for the culture and the art.
Instead of name calling, and insulting - perhaps you should take a bit more time to understand the meaning of my comments.
As far as I go - I am more than a "wrench monkey." When you work on some the obscure and low production cars I do, you develop many skills that go far beyond. I don't spend my day changing water pumps, or timing belts. Over the years I have built my own 3D printer, taught myself 3D modeling, and utilize that often to reproduce parts I can't get anymore (I just modeled and printed a complete set of switchgear knobs for a Packard, for and example...) A few months ago I had to design a set of custom tooling so I could reproduce the tiny copper conductors and contacts in OE switches that I rebuild.... We deal with "engineering" issues all the time. Ever try to update and modernize the suspension set-up in a early 50s Hudson to handle like a modern car, yet still look somewhat vintage? Tell me there isn't a small amount of engineering in that - wanna see my design pad? I bet you could easily mistake it for someone's who is more than a "wrench monkey..."


theAngryMarmot Bearsdkills BOOM mic drop!

I myself am an engineer, but a car guy 1st. I know many engineers who have the title and thats where it ends, for instance I knew an engineer who had no idea what the difference between forging and casting is. Ive met engineers who dont know how to use hand tools and or figure what some of them are used for. Unfortunately thats the engineers that are being brought up today in a majority of colleges. They are doing away with technology degrees and replacing them with science degrees because its cheaper. I was fortunate enough to attend a private engineering college where we learned all the equations but also did casting, welding, sheet metal work, machining on old and new lathes, milling machines, CNC machining, 3D printing, etc etc. We even had our own f1 race car to compete with other technical colleges. Even though Im an engineer I never assume I know everything, I've obtained quite a bit of knowledge from people who were very smart but didnt have the title "engineer".


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