By now, most car enthusiasts have watched at least one or all movies that make up the Fast and Furious saga. The franchise that features illegal street racing, spies, heists, and family matters is now ten films strong with their latest installment, the F9 featuring a rocket-powered car and the mid-engine Dodge Charger that is arguably Dom’s best ride yet.
The first two films on which this franchise was built were all about street racing rather than the big-budget action scenes that dominated the recent iterations. Amazing cars graced our screens thanks to Craig Lieberman, the man tasked with finding the cars, parts, and extras for various scenes in the films. However, not many might be privy to this important figure who played a role in the success of the Fast And Furious franchise.
10 Craig Has Cars In His DNA
Many young people begin their love affair with cars at a young age. Even before they start earning to afford a car of their own, their bedroom walls are often plastered with images of cool exotic cars that they dream of owning at some point. It was no different for Craig Lieberman, who once stated that for him, cars represent freedom. His addiction was ignited when he bought a 10981 Isuzu I-Mark, on which he started his car modification journey.
He took on cars in bad shape and brought back their glory early on. For decades, he has dedicated his life to what he considers ‘canvases’ from which he creates images of speed and beauty.
9 Once Bought A Supra After Losing To One In A Race
In the 80s, Craig was already driving Japanese cars like the Datsun Zs or the Nissan Pulsar, but the 90s saw him switch to American Muscle in search of more potential when he was rocking the supercharged Mustang GT and Impala SS. His mindset was completely changed in 1998, when he was smoked in his Mustang by an MK4 Supra.
Straight away, he decided turbos were the way to go and bought a stock 1994 Supra off the dealership in So-Cal. Ever since, he has been a fan of JDM cars and has owned several.
8 Owned The Original Orange Supra In F&F
Twenty years since The First and the Furious films debuted, few cars in that Universe have made a bigger impression than Paul Walker’s orange Supra, a car that currently boasts cult status. It popularized the MK4 Generation Supra, which had the least commercial success of the four Supra generations until the film came out. Craig Lieberman owned this car that fueled a Cultural Revolution; it was the car he bought after getting smoked in his Mustang.
The ‘hero’ Orange Supra was the only heavily tuned of the seven Supras used for the film. Replacing the stock twin turbos with a single T66 turbo and other mods saw it pump out 650hp. The Supra had won car shows even before earning Hollywood fame.
7 Served As Technical Advisor For The First Two F&F Movies
It is a shame that Craig Lieberman is not as famous as he should be considering his role in bringing the Fast and Furious franchise to life. He served as Technical Advisor for the first two movies, with a smaller role in Tokyo Drift. Universal saw value in his previous connections and knowledge in the tuner scene and used him to find cars, parts, and extras for the various scenes.
Also, multiple Craig-owned cars appeared in the films, including the hero Supra, Blue Nissan Maxima, Silver R34 GT-R, and the Lexus GS400 featured in Race Wars scenes.
6 Arguably Knows More About Paul Walker’s ’95 Eclipse Than Anyone Else
We all want to know more about popular cars that appear in movies we love, and we have seen many cars over the ten-film run. Most are custom-made and expectedly have an exciting story behind their creation. Regarding Paul Walker’s ’95 Mitsubishi Eclipse, Craig knows more about this popular car since he was tasked with finding it.
You can also include other iconic cars like Vin Diesel’s ’93 Mazda RX-7 and all other neon-demon tuner cars featured in the first two films.
5 Most Expensive Project Car
Project cars are usually based on cheap cars that you pump money into until they grow into a car in your image. Craig has bought many cheap cars to work on, but his most expensive project was the Silver GT-R that made the first film. He paid $78,000 to buy the car, with an extra $60,000 or more used to purchase mods.
Of all the mods, the costliest was the Stop-Tech 15 brakes kit that cost almost $10,000. Not too bad, given at the time, full stereo installs could go for around $10-$15k.
4 No Longer Buys ‘Boring Cars’
Craig wishes he was smart enough to stop throwing his money at mediocre cars in the 80s since each one was a small step forward and leap backward, as the money spent on beat-up cars prevented him from owning good cars with great potential. However, he grew wiser with time and started picking up awesome cars.
Also, he would never buy a boring car in his own words, and he has zero interest in owning an SUV from any maker. His favorite European car is the Audi RS6 Avant; back in America, he is a Mustang fanboy, and he has mad love for the Japanese R35 GTR.
3 Craig’s Movie Director Roles And TV Show Appearances
Besides serving as technical director and ‘race flagger’ for the F&F, Craig is credited for various productions. Sticking with Universal, he served as a consultant with Scripting, Home Theatre/DVD division, Sound Design Group, International Marketing group, and Licensing and Merchandising group.
On IMDb, Craig has credit on nine projects as a producer, additional crew, unit director, and as himself. Most notable is his help in creating Redline TV, a show targeting tuner enthusiasts.
You simply don’t get to retire from working on cars. The love for the machines never dies, and most keep tinkering well into their old age. Craig Lieberman is one such person who doesn’t seem to slow down. Currently, he is a Digital Marketing Director who still enjoys working on cars, and his current project is a 2015 Nissan GT-R.
Craig is active on social media with a self-named YouTube channel and an Instagram account where he interacts with his fans regularly, all about cars. He has also written a bestselling book chronicling his adventures, titled Crashing Cars.
1 Built A Skyline GT-R For EA Games’ Need For Speed
Need For Speed is one of the most popular and most successful video game franchises of all time, more so with car enthusiasts. After the success of the Fast and Furious films, Craig Lieberman was hired by EA Games to build a real-life Skyline GT-R that could be incorporated in the Underground game. Need For Speed Underground carries tremendous nostalgic value since it was easy to pick up and get playing.
Craig’s job was to consult on in-game dynamics, which resulted in the creation of “Eddie’s” GT-R used by the main antagonist in the game.
As it turns out, the two are actually the exact same vehicle, just painted two different colors.
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