Pasmag (USA) - - FEATURE -

that a trib­ute to Paul Walker in the form of his char­ac­ter’s Eclipse from the film would be a fun way to kill time. What he ended up with was the most screen-ac­cu­rate F&F Eclipse clone, as claimed by Craig Lieber­man, the tech­ni­cal ad­vi­sor on the first three movies.

As some­one who has ex­pe­ri­enced build­ing a movie-ac­cu­rate replica car, Dubreuil al­ready knew that his largest dif­fi­culty would be find­ing parts that have been long out of pro­duc­tion.

“The Fast & Fu­ri­ous Jetta was built way be­fore the movie was even filmed, so all the parts on the car were from the ‘90s,” Dubreuil ex­plains. “Find­ing the right body kit, the right wheels, and even the right head­lights were an ev­ery­day chal­lenge for me.”

As we didn’t re­ally get to see in­side the Jetta much dur­ing the first film, the out­ward ap­pear­ance is re­ally where the fo­cus went, and if you couldn’t tell by the pho­tos here al­ready, Dubreuil nailed it. The very im­por­tant Wings West RS body kit with Com­mando spoiler were sourced and paired with the Strictly For­eign grille filler and Euro-spec fender flares from a VW Vento, which were all coated in a Candy White paintjob. The body­work and paint­ing was un­der­taken by L’As de la Car­rosserie, while the in­stantly rec­og­niz­able movieac­cu­rate graph­ics were pro­duced by Mod­ern Im­age San Diego. The Crosshair head­lights, cor­ner lights, side mark­ers, and fogs are all pe­riod-cor­rect Hella ex­am­ples, and the 19x8-inch Konig Tantrums re­ally drive home the late-90s/ early-2000s look.

Dubreuil cred­its Face­book’s Mar­ket­place pages, Craigslist posts, and some of his con­tacts and friends over in Europe for help­ing him get some of these very dis­con­tin­ued items on the car. He also had some of the best ad­vi­sors around, like the afore­men­tioned Craig Lieber­man, as well as the guy who ac­tu­ally built the car that ap­peared in the film, Scott Cen­tra, who still re­mem­bered all the quirks of the Jetta. With Chad Lind­berg also on board, it was a cer­ti­fi­able dream team.

Sparco seats, har­nesses, and steer­ing wheels played a big in­te­rior role in The Fast and the Fu­ri­ous – an­other big check on the list to get right – so match­ing sets of Torino 2 seats, Tornio 4-point har­nesses, and a Racer 2 steer­ing wheel done up in red Al­can­tara are all ac­counted for in Jesse’s Jetta. To truly throw the car back, an Alpine IVA-D310 head unit was in­stalled, and if you’re old enough, you’ll re­mem­ber that this was the big deal re­ceiver with an at­tached dis­play screen and DVD player built in. Nat­u­rally, a PlayS­ta­tion 2 was hooked up to it for max­i­mum 2001 street cred.

As Alpine was a big name plas­tered on the car on the big screen, Au­dio Protec gave it the full early-2000s treat­ment when Dubreuil handed it over to them for the in­stall. Two MRV-T502 two-chan­nel am­pli­fiers and a MRV-VF505 midrange am­pli­fier power two 12-inch SWR-304e subs and four DDCF-17B six-inch speak­ers, while an ERA-G320a dig­i­tal au­dio pro­ces­sor cleans up and com­pletes the sys­tem.

To wake up the slug­gish ’96 VR6 en­gine, Dubreuil in­stalled an ABD camshaft and Eurospeed in­take sys­tem, which when paired with an AMS chip tune on the ECU pro­duce an even 200 horse­power. The note of the six-cylin­der is car­ried down through a Brospeed header and out the up­turned ex­haust tip of the Se­bring cat­back – an­other screen-ac­cu­rate ad­di­tion.

Af­ter all the work to piece to­gether this car from rare parts and get them all work­ing to­gether, Dubreuil says that his favourite as­pect of the build is the move­ment around it. Hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple fol­lowed the process of bring­ing not only Jesse’s Jetta back, but Jesse him­self.

“For the first time in more than 15 years, peo­ple could see ‘Jesse’ once again work­ing on and driv­ing the car he had in the movie,” says Dubreuil, proudly. “This build was just like the char­ac­ter it was driven by; easy go­ing and in­volved with lot of cool peo­ple.”

Since be­ing built, the Jetta has trav­elled along­side Lind­berg to meet fans and show off Dubreuil and crews’ hard work at Fast & Fu­ri­ous events. The end goal is to even­tu­ally get the car to the “Fast House,” where it all ended for Jesse, but may now serve as a new be­gin­ning for the char­ac­ter. If Uni­ver­sal re­turns my calls, that is.

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