DETROIT ( TheStreet) -- Fast Five, the latest installment of The Fast and The Furious film franchise, isn't just a statement on American car culture, but a reminder of why your Ford (F) Fiesta is available in "Lime Squeeze Metallic" paint.
A tribute to all the gearheads and tuners who make 1995 Toyota (TM) Supras that can dust Ferraris, The Fast and The Furious films were ubiquitous enough to soak their way into nearly every aspect of American auto culture. The namesake first film made $207 million worldwide when it was released in June 2001; follow-up 2 Fast 2 Furious topped that with $236 million in 2003; and the most recent installment, Fast & Furious, outdid them both with a $359 million take in 2009. Even the weakest film in the series, the 2006 Vin Diesel- and Paul Walker-devoid The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift nearly quadrupled its $40 million budget with $158 million in box office revenues.
It's a lot easier to get fired up about turning a 1995 Honda (HMC) Civic into a big-horsepower beast on a double wishbone suspension when gas prices average $1.53 a gallon, as they did the week the first Fast and the Furious film hit theaters. With average gas prices at $3.88 per gallon and rising as the latest installment hits theaters Friday, furious drivers are somewhat less fast to fork over the cash and play street racer during the morning commute. Auto sales were up 17% last month, but the race for more fuel-efficiency left gas-guzzling performance cars in the dust.
Even if you're crammed into a 35-mile-per-gallon compact, however, there are still Fast and The Furious flourishes all over your automobile. Though they may not all encourage Jordana Brewster, Eva Mendez or Ludacris to hop in your ride, TheStreet found five ways The Fast and The Furious changed your car forever:
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV