“The Fast and the Furious” was almost entirely different altogether, but Jesse’s Volkswagen Jetta is one of the more peculiar stories.
Back again is Craig Lieberman, technical director for the first three films of the franchise, and this time, he had a special guest. He sat down with Scott Centra, who originally built and owned the Jetta used in the first film. At first, the directors wanted to put Jesse in some sort of European car. Lieberman suggested a Volkswagen Golf, and in the best case, a BMW M3. However, the team couldn’t source either car in time.
That’s where Centra came in. Lieberman knew Centra and asked a few times to use his Jetta for the film, but he said no. Finally, Lieberman invited Centra for a lunch with Universal crew members and all of the actors. It’s here, Centra recalls in the video, he agreed. With all of the cars set to star in the film at the lunch spot, Universal paid Centra a tidy sum of money to rent his Jetta. Money talks, as they say. We don’t know how much it cost, but Centra said the production company also insured the car for $200,000—no small sum today, and certainly a lot of money in 2000.
Jesse reunited with Volkswagen Jetta from
The conversation takes a whole lot of turns and it’s all incredibly enjoyable to hear, but one topic is one every “Fast and Furious” fan will want to hear about: the lack of brake calipers on Jesse’s Jetta in a specific scene. Fans have joked about the scene for years now, but Centra and Lieberman set the record straight. Foremost, the actual hero car wasn’t used in this scene. Instead, one of the replica cars was. This car, obviously, was not built with all of the upgrades Centra had done.
Instead, the crew used a decades-old trick to hide the tiny factory brakes behind the wheel and put covers over them to mimic massive disc brakes. In turn, this covered up the factory calipers and mocked-up calipers weren’t ever installed. Centra notes his car actually featured a full Brembo brake system.
Check out the full conversation above because, as always, it’s entertaining as can be.