After watching the Dodge-supplied "Fast and Furious" films pull in mountains of cash and millions of fans, Ford is looking for similar attention.
The automaker announced Monday that it has partnered with DreamWorks Studios to integrate several Ford vehicles into the 2014 film "Need for Speed," now in production.
The film is based on the popular video game series by the same name, which has sold more than 140 million copies worldwide. It will feature "Breaking Bad" star Aaron Paul, as well as Dominic Cooper, Imogen Poots and Michael Keaton.
The highlight of Ford’s participation in the film will be a customized Mustang, which the automaker brought to the Monday announcement at the 2013 E3 conference taking place in Los Angeles. Though the Mustang has no official name, because it's driven by Paul's leading character, the folks at Ford took to calling it the "Hero Car."
In addition to this Mustang, a Ford F-450 truck nicknamed "The Beast" joins "Need for Speed’s" cast of automotive stars. Ford said it also supplied a camera car that was used during filming.
This "Need for Speed" Mustang is only the latest in a very long line of the iconic sports car to be featured on the big and small screen. Ford estimates that the Mustang has made about 3,000 appearances since the car was introduced in 1964, with its film debut coming in the James Bond film "Goldfinger."
After its debut at Monday’s E3 press conference, Ford brought the Mustang by The Times’ office for a closer look.
"Everything we did was just to really give you this gnarly, sinister look," Melvin Betancourt, head of the design team that put the car together, said about the Hero Car. "But at the same time [we wanted] a sophistication when it’s running down the street."
The car is 4 inches wider at the front and 6 inches wider at the rear. The suspension is 1.5 inches lower up front, and 2 inches lower at the back, Betancourt said. The Mustang rides on custom 22-inch wheels with aftermarket Brembo brakes.
Betancourt’s team built by hand seven examples of this car for the film, with this version being the only one that survived.
Ford says the car has a 5.8-liter supercharged V-8. In the film, the car is supposed to have 900 horsepower, though no one at Ford was able to confirm the real car’s output.
Such a healthy output for the Hero Car will be necessary, based on an early production teaser of the film. Paul’s Mustang will have the world’s fastest supercars to keep up with, some of which aren’t even available yet. This roster includes the McLaren P1, Lamborghini Sesto Elemento, Bugatti Veyron Super Sport and Koenigsegg Agera.
If the idea of such an otherworldly collection of the world’s fastest cars doing more than trading paint makes you dizzy, know that none of the high-dollar cars are the real deal. They’re very close mock-ups built using the exact exterior dimensions of the genuine article.
"Need for Speed" will cruise into theaters in spring 2014.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun