Hollywood is great at tricking the brain into believing what the eyes are seeing.Through careful camera angles, set decoration or lighting, they can make any location look like it’s another part of the world. I witnessed this firsthand when working on these movies. SO here, without further adieu, are some of the film locations used in the movies. I will add more information about the other movies in the series as time goes on.
Opening Scene (Truck Hijack)
The opening truck hijacking takes place right on the border of Wilmington and Long Beach. This area is pretty much deserted and is pretty close to the shipping port docks. The filming area is in and around the of Henry Ford Avenue, Alameda Street, Pacific Coast Highway and the Terminal Island (103) Freeway. You’ll notice that in the scene, you can see the Texaco refinery in the background.
The movie next moves to a scene where Brian Spilner (Paul Walker) is testing out his 27 speed transmission (joking) in his green Eclipse in an empty parking lot. That lot is part of the Dodger Stadium property over in the Chavez Ravine area, which is located just northwest of downtown Los Angeles, at 1000 Elysian Park Ave.
The Racer's Edge
If “The Racer’s Edge” was a real auto parts store, it would be like Super AutoBacs in Japan. Too bad it was never real – it was a figment of the imagination of Director Rob Cohen who tasked his set decoration team to build a candy store of an auto parts store. The race car on the roof was also removed after shooting the movie scenes.
In any case, if you want to see the building, it’s located in Hollywood on Orange Drive, at the southeast corner of of Santa Monica Blvd and Orange Drive, north of Melrose Ave. While the building’s address actually faces Santa Monica Blvd., the filmmakers shot the west side (the back of the building), which faces Orange Drive.
The race car is no longer on the roof, of course, and the signs are down, so it’s now a rather plain-looking warehouse-style building. It is immediately north of a brick building (which is also seen in the film) – the address of that brick building is 1046 N. Orange Drive.
Dominic Toretto’s (Vin Diesel) white, wood-siding house, and the brown wood & brick Craftsman-style house next door, are real homes, actually located in the Echo Park section of L.A., just northwest of downtown, at 718, 720 and 722 N. East Kensington Road. The dilapidated white garage in between wasn’t really there – it was built just for the movie. On a side note, the fake garage wasn’t even part of the Toretto house as it was setup in the driveway of the neighbors house! Another piece of trivia: it’s no longer a single family home – it’s now sub-divided into apartments.
Toretto’s market & diner isn’t far from the Toretto house – it’s located just a few hundred yards south in Echo Park.
In the film, Toretto’s is owned by Vin Diesel and his sister; it’s where they first meet Paul Walker when he’s ordering a tuna (with no crust) sandwich. This is also where the fight between Vince and Brian erupts.
In real life, Toretto’s is actually “Bob’s Market,” and that building is classified as an Historical Landmark. It goes back to the 1920s. Today, it’s a simple mom and pop coner market. It’s located on the west side of a small triangle of streets, at the corner of Kensington Road and Bellevue Ave, at 1234 Bellevue Avenue
Asian Mall (Eclipse Explodes)
The Asian motorcycle gang scenes were shot in an area of Orange County known as “Little Saigon” (because of the many Vietnamese immigrants there), in the city of Westminster, CA.
The scene is set in a temple-like area with many white marble statues were filmed at the Vietnamese Cultural Court, located behind the 99 Ranch Market, at 9221 Bolsa Avenue, in Westminster – across the street from the Asian Garden mall. (The homes seen behind the statues in these photos were built there after the movie was filmed.)
P.S. The food in this town is epic. If you go there, eat at a local restaurant.
The large Asian archway they drive under in Little Saigon is not the same color anymore, and the marble statues have been removed to make more room for parking.
4-Way Drag Race
The race itself (where Paul loses to Dom) was run on Prairie Avenue in the city of Hawthorne, a good 15 miles southwest of the Produce Market.
The street runs north to south, right at the western edge of the Hawthorne Airport. They were racing north on Prairie, starting at Prairie and 120th Street, and finishing at Prairie and 118th Street (just south of the 105 Freeway). They also filmed some of the pre & post race scenes south of 120th Street.
Be advised: don’t visit this place at night – it’s a rough neighborhood.
Cha Cha Cha
When Vin Diesel’s sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) goes out on a date with Paul Walker (in part, to spite Vince), they go to a restaurant called “Cha Cha Cha”.
Cha Cha Cha is an actual L.A. restaurant (and a quite popular one), serving Caribbean food in a colorful atmosphere. It was located at 656 N. Virgil Avenue, in a questionable neighborhood at the east end of Melrose Ave., in the Silver Lake area of L.A.
Don’t bother going to visit it – it was closed in late 2016/early 2017 and has since been bulldozed to the ground. It is now a vacant lot (as of mid 2018).
Boy, has this place changed over the years. Everyone knows Neptune’s Net in SoCal. It’s been a fixture for decades.
It’s the ocean view, outdoor beach cafe where Vin Diesel and Paul Walker stop (after they have outraced the obnoxious rich guy in his Ferrari on PCH) and where Paul tries to get Diesel to disclose how he secretly makes the big bucks. Neptune’s Net is located at 42505 Pacific Coast Highway in a somewhat remote section of Malibu, about 10 miles west of Point Dume.
Today, it’s more popular than ever thanks in no small part to The Fast and The Furious.
Unlike some of the other locations, this one is good for families and it overlooks the Pacific ocean.
The huge desert “Race Wars” rally was held way out at the San Bernardino International Airport aka Norton A.F.B. (which the director says is mostly used by the fire department today. He also says it was 120 degrees that day). It’s located at E. 3rd Street & Del Rosa Drive, in San Bernardino, which is about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.
Not much to see here other than the museum of aircraft, so I wouldn’t bother driving out to visit. All of the tents and fixtures are gone and even some of the buildings have been torn down.
Johnny Tran Chase
After the Asian gang members attack Vin Diesel’s house with machine guns (almost killing Jesse) and speed off on motorcycles, Paul Walker chases them in his car, up and down the hilly streets, exchanging gunfire. The very steep hill they come racing down is Micheltorena Street, between Sunset Blvd and Lucille Ave., in the Silver Lake/Echo Park area.
The leader of the Asian gang, Rick Yune, is shot from his bike and killed by Paul Walker in a scene shot on Glendale Blvd., right between Alvarado Street (on the north) & Park Ave (on the south), and just north the heart of Echo Park. It’s also just a hop, skip and a jump from of Toretto’s home in the film.
The final race with a train takes place down by the Los Angeles harbor in San Pedro, or to be exact, across the Vincent Thomas Bridge on Terminal Island. The moment of near-impact takes place on the railroad tracks at Terminal Way & Earle Street (the tracks run parallel to Earle Street and cross Terminal Way) and cross at Tuna St. (no joke).
The train is heading north on these tracks. The two cars are heading east on Terminal Way, starting around Cannery Street and racing east past the railroad tracks at Earle Street. Paul Walker and Vin Diesel wind up (after the truck accident) out of their cars on the east end of Terminal Way, near Ferry Street, where you can see the large pipe which (in real life) transports coal and coke to waiting ships.
You can also catch a glimpse of the Vincent Thomas Bridge in the background during the race. This towering green bridge links mainland San Pedro with Terminal Island; it has been seen in other movies, including “Charlie’s Angels” and “To Live & Die in L.A.
BE WARNED – If you go here and try to drag race, cops hang out on motorcycles right at the intersection just looking for wannabe street racers.
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