With a name like Vin Diesel, it was probably inevitable that the actor would be into cars. Either that, or wine. But sipping a cheeky beaujolais and discussing its hints of gooseberry doesn’t suit the hard-man image quite as much as roaring about in a good old all-American muscle car.
The star of about seven squillion movies in the Fast And Furious franchise, he’s been lucky enough to involve his passion in his job. He’s also been lucky enough to keep some of the awe-inspiring motors from the films. Nobody seems to know how many cars Diesel has – and that possibly includes the man himself – but here is a selection of some of his finest, to mark the occasion of his 53rd birthday.
Mazda RX-7 (1993)
The third generation Mazda RX-7 was one of the hottest sports cars of the 1990s, with a 1.3 litre twin turbo engine providing 255bhp. American automotive bible Motor Trend named it Import Car Of The Year in 1993. That same year, Playboy magazine put it up against a Dodge Viper, no less, and declared the RX-7 the superior car. The Diesel version (as in, he owns it, not what makes it go brrm brrm) is one of the (relatively few) 2×2 hatchback models.Toyota Supra (1994)If you want to cruise the streets of LA unnoticed, it’s probably best not to drive around in a bright orange sports car that played a major role in a popular film franchise. But then again, how could you say no to the Supra’s six-cylinder 320bhp engine that powers the car from 0-60 in 4.6 seconds? This JDM (Japanese domestic market) classic was first produced in 1978 as the Toyota Celica and Diesel’s fourth-generation model boasts a top speed of 160mph. Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Grand Sport (1963)The 1963 Corvette Stingray Grand Sport was the first of its generation, a specially lightened car designed for racing. The car included a front anti-roll bar, vacuum brake booster and large-diameter shocks and springs nearly twice as stiff as those on a standard model. Basically, this car was built to race – and was therefore almost inevitably going to draw the gaze of a certain Mr Diesel. What makes this car even cooler is the fact that only 199 were ever made, so it’s something of a collectors’ item.Pontiac Bonneville (1966)From a car specially designed for lightness to one that makes absolutely no attempt to disguise that it is basically a tank. The Bonneville, built by GM from 1958 to 2005, is a monster of a car, one of the longest Pontiacs ever built, clocking in at 5.8 metres. It tips the scales at around two-and-a-half tonnes and, as such, is unlikely to win any eco-friendly awards. But this 1966 model, with its 6.9-litre V8 engine and coke-bottle profile, is an undeniable American classic.Rolls-Royce Sprinter VanTyrese Gibson, who played Roman Pearce in the Furious franchise, is a singer, songwriter, author, rapper, actor, model, VJ and screenwriter. You’d think that would be enough to keep him busy, but in his spare time he likes to have Mercedes Sprinter vans remodelled. This is the first one he built and is the lovechild of a Sprinter and a Rolls-Royce, complete with the Spirit Of Ecstasy bonnet ornament. The ornate interior, which would make Liberace blush, includes maroon and gold upholstery, featuring prominent monogrammed Rolls-Royce logos, a fridge and a massive TV. Gibson liked it so much he built another – and gave the first one to his friend and costar Diesel. Subaru Impreza WRX STI (2009) Back to very fast street cars and this 2.5-litre twin-scroll turbocharger-powered beast. As one of the most popular street-racing cars in the world, it’s no surprise to find this among the Diesel collection. This edition includes rear disc brakes, electronic stability control and body-coloured door handles. It’s all very impressive, but why on earth would you call something an STI? What next? The Chevrolet Syphilis?Dodge Charger R/T (1970) This is the car that Diesel’s character, Dom Toretto, drives the most in the Furious films and was given to the actor by Justin Lin, who has directed four of the franchise. While it is always rewarding to see one of the best-paid actors in the world get showered with free vehicles, it’s difficult not to be envious of this model, with its 440 “Magnum” V8 engine and high-performance Road/Track package. BMW E60 M5 (2010)On the surface, this is ostensibly a sensible family car, just the thing for a man with three children. But, as you might expect, this is a family car with serious muscle. The last model of the M5 series, it is powered by a whopping 500bhp and operated by a seven-gear manual gearbox. It’s the world’s first passenger car to include a V120 petrol engine, does 0-62 in 4.2 seconds and has a top speed of 204mph. That is our kind of sensible.Lykan Hypersport (2014)Speaking of sensible… well, this car is possibly the least sensible in the world. Made by Lebanese manufacturer W Motors, it has a 3.7-litre twin-turbo engine pushing out 780bhp, that helps it do 0-62 in a G-force-tastic 2.8 seconds and gives it a top speed of 245mph. The centre console has a holographic display instead of a touchscreen panel, there’s gold-stitching on the seats and buyers have to specify whether they want rubies, diamonds, yellow diamonds or sapphires integrated into the headlights. The car featured in Fast And Furious 7, though it wasn’t gifted to Diesel. He had to buy it. A snip, at around £3 million. Not surprisingly, it’s one of only seven in the world.