'Furious 8' Taps Classic American Cars for Cuba Location Shoot

Screengrab/Fast & Furious

Havana's storied collection of vintage Detroit iron gets a co-starring role in the historic shoot, the first Hollywood studio movie filmed in Cuba since the embargo.

Furious 8, the latest installment in the long-running action franchise, is famous for featuring — and destroying — some of the world's fastest and most exotic cars. Now, it is immortalizing some of the oldest.

While shooting in Havana this week, the F. Gary Gray-directed production — the first major American movie to film in Cuba since the 1962 embargo was lifted — pressed some of the country's 1950s-vintage Chevrolets, Cadillacs and other classic Detroit iron into the action sequences.

Universal released behind-the-scenes video of franchise stars Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez tooling the streets of Havana in a 1955 Chevrolet, plus footage of street races with vintage jalopies.

Cuba has a robust filmmaking community but lacks the technical infrastructure required by an elaborate production such as Furious 8.

"The crews are wonderful, they're very dedicated and passionate about what they do, but they're not used to the pace of U.S. filmmaking," Bob Yari, director of Papa, the 2014 indie pic that was the first American movie shot in Cuba after the embargo, previously told The Hollywood Reporter.

The previous installment of the Furious franchise, which included posthumous footage of actor Paul Walker, who died in a car crash before the film was completed, earned $1.5 billion worldwide. 

Furious 8 is set to be released April 14, 2017.