Baby Driver is a modern classic. In this 2017 film, a team of bank robbers forces a talented young getaway driver nicknamed “Baby” to help with a series of heists. The opening chase scene features the eye-catching Baby Driver Subaru: a red 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX. The filmmakers set up several special Subarus to shoot the movie, including one WRX the crew converted from Subaru’s signature AWD drivetrain to RWD.
Baby Driver‘s opening scene is a legendary car chase
2017’s Baby Driver starts with a bang. Baby (Ansel Elgort) parks outside a bank and starts the song “Bellbottoms” by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion on his iPod. His passengers run inside. While they rob the bank, baby dances in the 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX getaway car.
When the gang gets back into Baby’s car, he tears off across Atlanta. He begins by backing down the street, completes a J-turn, then slides through a tight intersection. Baby spends the entire chase working the handbrake and clutch to powerslide between oncoming cars and around corners. He even completes consecutive, opposite, 180-degree skids to drift through a crowded alley.
Baby’s passengers do not know it, but the talented driver even completes all these maneuvers in time to the music he is listening to. By the end of the scene, he loses the police helicopters, gets on the interstate, and drives across town to a parking garage. There, the team has stashed a clean car. Then, they trade vehicles and drivers and make for their safe house.
All the Baby Driver Subaru’s stunts were real
Professional rally driver Wyatt Knox thought the stunts completed in Baby Driver were all plausible. He said of this opening scene, “Pretty spot on.” He doubted that “chucking it this sideways” would be the fastest way to escaped the scene of a crime. But he said of the way the driver is working the Subaru’s controls, and the stunts the car completes, “It’s on point.”
For the film, Fry’s mission was to complete “real stuff in real cars with real people.” For this reason, the crew created no stunts through CGI. Some of the stunts, such as the “180 In-and-Out” alleyway sequence, are unprecedented in cinematic history. To complete the action sequences, the film crew needed several extraordinary cars.
There were several Baby Driver Subarus
According to Fry, the director wanted a “car that would blend in but something that would also be cool.” So they chose the Subaru WRX. One of the stunt cars was a de-badged Subaru WRX STI edition. Another was a WRX tuned for 320 horsepower by Allpro Subaru of Georgia. This Baby Driver Subaru received the drivetrain out of a Subaru STI, a Cusco limited-slip differential, OS Giken front differential, an Exedy stage 1 clutch and a CNC hydraulic handbrake.
For the scenes of Elgort working the controls of the WRX, the film crew built an extraordinary rig: it was an automatic transmission WRX with a driver’s station set up on the car’s roof and cameras hanging off its sides. So while a stunt driver piloted it from above, the cast inside could focus on their acting.
One of the Baby Driver Subarus was a one-of-a-kind RWD
Fry planned several unique stunt sequences for the movie. One scene included Baby reversing, completing a J-turn, then drifting through a corner. Fry knew the stunt was possible because he had done the maneuver in 2011’s Drive. The only problem was that he had done it in an RWD Mustang and did not know if it was possible in an AWD car.
For this reason, Fry had the film crew build the world’s only RWD WRX. They boosted this Baby Driver Subaru’s engine to a modest 200 horsepower, then disabled the front half-shafts. Some Subaru fans would protest butchering one of the best ever Subaru WRX‘s, but movie magic is not always pretty.
As luck would have it, the day of the J-turn into a drift scene, the crew decided to shoot another stunt first. According to Fry, “the car broke in the shot before.” The stunt gone wrong destroyed both sides of the rear suspension.
Fry had no choice but to attempt to drift the AWD de-badged STI. In just two takes, Fry found the perfect speed to drift the AWD Subaru around the corner and slid it past the camera: The scene was perfect.