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Filming of the first "The Fast and the Furious"

October 06, 2023 3 min read

In the year leading up to the filming of the first The Fast and the Furious movie, producers were busy preparing for production of the film. The import car racing scene and culture was alive and well, with car meet-ups and street races occurring weekly.
A frequent schedule of formal car shows such as Hot Import Nights, Import Showoff, Import Expo, and sanctioned import drag racing events organized by Battle of the Imports, Import Drag Racing Circuit (IDRC), and NHRA held at quarter mile drag racing strips occurred about every few months in Southern California. Racing events also frequently included car shows. Participants displaying their import cars at car shows competed for cash and prizes.
Car shows featured import cars with custom interior, stereos, engine work, body kits paint jobs, and vinyl graphics. Most participants affixed vinyl stickers for the respective brand parts they either purchased received as part of a sponsorship.
Custom vinyl stickers were also commonly affixed to all sides of fixed up cars, Vinyl windshield visors were common. Taken from the European and Japanese racing circuits, vinyl windshield visors, also known as windshield banners, gave the cars a sleek look. Vinyl windshield visors also created a place to put sponsorship logos, vehicle makes/models, and car crew team logos. Companies used racecars and custom cars as display vehicles in vendor booths.
Stephan Papadakis Civic hatchback
Universal Studios producers attended multiple Southern California events and had vendor booths, with flyers and "interest lists" /  signup sheets for an upcoming film production called “Redline.” Several members of the Vinyl Mayhem team signed up, and were called by producers the following summer. The produces took note of the import car scene and wanted to include the look of custom cars in the film.
Vinyl Mayhem was contacted by the producers and asked to submit multiple examples of vehicle graphic ideas. We submitted several of our best vehicle graphic designs to the producers. A few other vinyl graphics companies in the scene also submitted ideas the producers. Ultimately, the studio made the decision to give the main actors' cars a unique look; something completely different from what was in the scene.
When the calls came out, people who signed up were instructed to be at the Hawthorne High School gym at 6pm for the first night of filming. Extras were paid $75 each and an additional $50 per night for their car. Filming began immediately on Prairie Avenue between the high school and the Hawthorn Airport. During the main race scene, members of the Vinyl Mayhem crew were selected to cheer from the sidelines. 
Fast & Furious first race scene
After filming was complete at the first location, extras were invited to additional locations including the Los Angeles Garment District and San Bernardino Airport, the location of the infamous Race Wars. At both locations, members of the Vinyl Mayhem team were used, some of our cars were also used at background props in multiple scenes. 
Fast and Furious extras- Vinyl Mayhem crew
After the first film's amazing success, Vinyl Mayhem was approached again by Universal, this time for the development of an interactive video game based on The Fast and the Furious movie. One of the features of the game was users could buy upgrades, "build" their race car with points earned by completing missions or purchasing. Concept art included in the proposal to us depicted artwork we originally supplied before the film began production. The project was eventually scrapped as Universal began filming 2 Fast 2 Furious.
Fast and Furious Video Game Vinyl Mayhem Concept
Vinyl Mayhem has many Fast & Furious inspired products available, from vinyl windshield visors to automotive decals, and our own Paul Walker inspired vinyl stickers, T-Shirt, and license plate frames. Check out all items in our