The first street race scene is supposedly a quarter mile race, taking approximately ten seconds. However, the race takes almost two minutes of screen time and shows the vehicles driving in excess of 150 miles per hour, faster than even a 1,200 horsepower Bugatti Veyron can accomplish a 1/4 mile.
Throughout the Fast & Furious series, Dom is typically seen driving only domestic cars. The only times he does not drive a domestic car are in this film and during the London chase scene in Fast & Furious 6 where he drives a BMW.
The title rights, not the story rights, to the film The Fast and the Furious (1954), were purchased so that the title could be used on this project, another film about racing. The original film was shown in a theater owned by the grandfather of producer Neal H. Moritz.
Rob Cohen's original casting choices were Mario Lopez as Dominick, Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Brian, and Dustin Diamond as Jesse. However, studio execs feared that the reteaming of the Saved by the Bell (1989) co-stars would confuse audiences. Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and Chad Lindberg were eventually cast in the roles.
At the house party, Dom says to Brian, "You can have any beer you want, as long as it's a Corona." This is a reference to automobile innovator Henry Ford. Although he probably never said, "You can have any color you want, as long as it's black," and although the Model T to which he was supposedly referring was made in several colors (including a couple of shades of green and red as well as gray, blue, and several others), the phrase has long been attributed to him, the Model T was not available in black during its first years of production.
The film is considered to be a remake or an updated version of Point Break (1991). In that film, young FBI agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) goes undercover as a surfer to infiltrate a gang of bank robbers called The Ex Presidents , who are surfers. Johnny becomes friends with surfer Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) and becomes romantically involved with another surfer Tyler (Lori Petty). But Utah soon discovers that Bodhi and his gang are the bank robbers.
During the barbecue scene, when Vince finally sits down, and they all start eating, while the camera is fading away from the table, you can hear Leon briefly say, "what? Did you go rent a movie or something?"
The driver of the KJ Transport big rig truck for the final truck heist is Kevin Smith (Hercules The Legendary Journeys). In the DVD commentary director Rob Cohen made note of this since the role was uncredited for the film. He also mentions in the commentary that he kept Kevin's face obscured to give the same anonymity that he did to the other truck drivers.
When Dominic Toretto was reading Brian's driver's license, Brian's alias read BRIAN EARL SPILNER, and Toretto said that it sounded like a serial killer name. Toretto is probably referring to infamous serial killers who allegedly murdered famous historical, such as LEE HARVEY OSWALD who assasinated President John F. Kennedy or JAMES EARL RAY who assasinated Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Junior. Both serial killers had three names.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Dominic Toretto's black muscle car is a 1970 Dodge Charger with a 528ci supercharged Hemi and 727 automatic transmission. This Charger is the same body style (although one year newer) as the famous 1969 Dodge Charger "General Lee" of the The Dukes of Hazzard (1979) television series. After the filming of the crash at the end of the film, the same 1970 Charger wound up in the opening scenes of Herbie Fully Loaded (2005) as a car in the junkyard.
Paul Walker has stated that he did this film because of the movie Donnie Brasco (1997). Because he thought the role of an undercover cop was a cool idea, and he'd like to portray that type of character.