Those looking to snag a genuine Fast & Furious “movie car” from this week’s Mecum Auctions in Kissimmee, Florida should probably look elsewhere, because a modified Mazda RX-7 that claims to be a genuine star car from the now-iconic movie is, as it turns out, a bit of a sham.
Occupying lot F169 of the upcoming car auction is a red 1995 Mazda RX-7 said to be built by famed Hollywood auto builder George Barris. Barris is the man responsible for the Lincoln Futura-based ’60s Batmobile—that, at first glance, looks a whole lot like the FD RX-7 Vin Diesel drag races against Paul Walker in the first “danger to manifold” race. According to the listing, it’s expected to fetch anywhere from $75,000 to $125,000. Motor Trend‘s Super Street publication reported on it and described it as “Dom Toretto’s Fast and Furious Mazda RX-7” and “a piece of blockbuster movie history.” Unfortunately for Mecum, Barris, and the reputation of the publication’s fact-checkers, this particular RX-7 never appeared in The Fast and the Furious at all.
According to Craig Lieberman on Instagram, “THIS RX7 was NOT A MOVIE CAR. It was a car that George Barris had built by someone else in order to stay relevant in the movie car business. He did this to other cars, including at least one actual Fast and Furious car.” For those unaware, Lieberman served as a technical advisor on the first two Fast & Furious movies and was responsible for “casting” and modifying the vehicles used. He has since established an entire YouTube channel mainly dedicated to stories from his time on FF production and other tales from the building-cars-for-Hollywood industry. If there’s anybody on the planet who can accurately identify a genuine Fast & Furious movie car from a replica, it’d probably be Lieberman.
Curiously, the written copy within Mecum’s listing for this vehicle never explicitly describes it as an actual movie car or claims that it was ever in the movie, only that it was “built by George Barris as part of his All Star Car Collection.” (Barris, according to his IMDb, has never worked on a Fast & Furious movie.) The listing does, however, include a picture of an official-looking letter signed by Barris that claims the RX-7 was “prominently driven by Vin Diesel.” This, as far as Lieberman is concerned, is a bald-faced lie.
In a YouTube video posted back in November, Lieberman said of this RX-7 (and a green Eclipse that Barris also allegedly had built), “These are the cars that Barris had Eddie Paul build so that Barris can go display these cars at Autorama shows all over the country… and he was getting paid appearance fees to have those cars out as Fast & Furious cars although they were never actually in the movies at all. I have no problem with this, you know, it’s his money, it’s his taste in mods. Fine, whatever. But this is what pisses me off. Look at the second bullet point. Vin Diesel never set foot in this car, he had nothing to do with it. It had nothing to do with Universal.”
Even without Lieberman’s input, it’s not exactly difficult to spot visual discrepancies between the RX-7 on sale here and the RX-7 that appears in the movie. The wheels are different, for starters, and I’m pretty sure Dominic Toretto did not pull up to his first on-screen street race in a car with the words “Vin Diesel” and “Director Rob Cohen” emblazoned down the side. So, even if this car were a genuine Fast & Furious movie prop, it certainly no longer looks like it would have back in its cinematic heyday.
If all you want is a fun conversation piece to fool very casual observers with, this “George Barris-built” RX-7 might just do the trick. But if your measure of a movie car’s authenticity lies in whether or not a car has actually been in a movie or not, this replica of Dom’s RX-7 is about as authentic as the one you drafted up in Forza.
Got a tip or question for the author about building fake Fast & Furious cars and trying to pawn them off as real? You can reach them here: [email protected]
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