A couple weeks ago, I was invited to inspect the few cars that survived the filming of the Citizen Kane of driving-fast-to-fight-crime-or-something movies, Fast and Furious 6. In that post I mentioned there was one car I felt merited its own post, and, true to my word, this is it. That car is the genuinely bonkers "Flip Car."
The name "Flip Car" conjures up many things: a car designed to flip itself like a motorized pancake, funnyman Flip Wilson's garishly customized Rolls-styled golf cart, or maybe a car known for its flippant attitude. This flip car is very different: it's a mobile weapon, a beastly machine that attacks by flipping other cars over.
When Dennis McCarthy first read the script to the movie and saw what the vehicle needed to achieve, he pictured something built around a full-sized Freightliner cab, because it takes a hell of a lot of force to completely flip over another moving vehicle. But the producers demanded something small, something sleek and nimble, physics be damned.
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McCarthy got to work, and the end result of these insane requirements is the largely entirely custom-fabricated beast shown here. The car is designed like a fast, strong wedge, with a low, spatula-like front. The car has fully-functional four-wheel steering, to allow it to weave aggressively through traffic. The car can seat three, though those requirements kept shifting from the producers, so in the final movie not all seats are filled. A last-minute requirement that the car be bulletproof on top of everything else dictated the placement of the faux ballistic glass roof panel.
Technically, the entire tube frame is custom fabricated, and it uses some suspension parts from a Suburban. The engine is McCarthy's standard LS3 V8 making about 480-500 HP, coupled to the drivetrain with a V drive system from a speedboat, of all things, which also gives the car its peculiar sound at speed.
Plus, that exhaust. They spent a lot of time on that exhaust system.
Incredibly, the thing actually works, at least sort of. For the actual movie, a cable and winch system is used to flip the cars and trucks to their fiery demises, but it sure as hell will flip a truck over. It's drivable, and the team spent four days at Willow Springs just getting the stunt drivers comfortable with driving the 3900 lb beast. And when driven, it has an insatiable tire appetite, being the largest consumer of black rubber of any of the film's cars.
This is by far the most extremely custom vehicle in the movie, and it's always interesting to see the engineering solutions (even if slightly fictionalized) found for such insane goals as truck-flipping.
There's an Easter Egg to look for in the movie as well: the Flip Car has the Roman numerals for 6 (VI) on it at various locations. See if you can spot them, why not?