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Those amazing 'Furious 7' cars? This man built them

The seventh installment of the "Fast & Furious" franchise is nearly upon us. Dennis McCarthy, who has wrangled cars for the series since 2006's "Tokyo Drift," tells us how he pulled together the amazing rides for this latest film.

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Tim Stevens Former editor at large for CNET Cars
Tim Stevens got his start writing professionally while still in school in the mid '90s, and since then has covered topics ranging from business process management to video game development to automotive technology.
Tim Stevens
3 min read

Do you prefer modern muscle, or something more classic? Fast & Furious 7

Dennis McCarthy has one of those professions that many would classify as a dream job. McCarthy is car coordinator for the "Fast & Furious" films. Basically, he's the guy who spends his days buying, modifying and testing the amazing pieces of machinery that are, in many ways, the real stars of the high-octane franchise.

This will be McCarthy's fourth film in the series, since signing on to wrangle cars for 2006's "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift." That film required a spread of tasty imports, cars not available here in the US. His solution? Hop on a plane -- and bring the corporate card.

The cars of Fast & Furious 7

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"The original intent was to film the movie 80 percent in Japan, 20 percent in LA. When we got to Japan we realized there were too many restrictions. So, a friend of mine and I went to Japan and went on a three-week shopping trip."

McCarthy and friend quickly assembled a comprehensive collection of the sorts of high-performance JDM machines that make import fans drool. They bought Nissan 350Zs, Skyline GT-Rs, Sylvias and anything else that caught their eye. All of it was shipped back to LA for filming.

For "Fast & Furious 7," McCarthy and team faced a different problem: timeline. "7 was the shortest build we've ever had. It was three months. We were literally sending cars to set with wet paint. It was that close." It took McCarthy and a team of roughly 70 to pull together all the cars they would need for the film.

How many cars? "I never have the exact answer, but it's roughly 300 or so. Maybe 350." And how many were destroyed through the course of filming? "Gosh, I'd have to say a couple hundred... We're hard on our cars."