How to Pull Off the Perfect Reverse 180

Pro tips from a real-life Hollywood stuntman.

Jonathan Carlson

Where does life stop and art begin? It’s a recurring theme with Plato and Bakhtin, Oscar Wilde and Alfred Hitchcock. Also Jeremy Fry.

This story originally appeared in the November, 2017 issue of Road & Track.

Fry, 42, is an award-winning stunt driver in Los Angeles. The pro wheelman appeared in Baby Driver, a film about a pro wheelman. Before that, he worked on Drive, as a stunt double for Ryan Gosling, who plays a stunt double.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

“Hollywood is a funny place,” Fry says, grinning.

Jonathan Carlson

He has plenty to smile about. Namely a résumé that spans 15 years, includes more than 150 on-screen credits, and reads like a compendium of modern action blockbusters. Seen the Bourne movies, The Dark Knight Rises, Public Enemies, The Avengers, or John Wick? Then you’ve seen the man at work. Fry credits motorcycle chops and a mixed-discipline racing background (auto-cross, stage rallying, drifting) for his success.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

“Stunt driving is about precision,” he says. “You’ve got a skid or jump or whatever, and a mark, and an inch of wiggle room between your license plate and a six-figure camera. The clock is running. The last thing you want is to be the guy holding every- body up because you didn’t nail it the first take. And if it’s a crash sequence, one take might be all you get.”

Jonathan Carlson

Ideally, Fry is given the right tools, like the red Subaru WRX in Baby Driver, which was custom-outfitted for stunt duty. But movie studios sometimes skimp on vehicles or technical consultants, so there’s no guarantee the cars will be up to snuff.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

“I’ve shown up on set to find cars they just bought off Craigslist, cars they just rented, stuff that’s totally wrong for the gag,” Fry says. “Actual stunt cars, like old cop cars, sometimes they’ve got dedicated hydraulic rear brakes, they’re all set up. Other times, they’ve been rode hard and put away wet, and they’re garbage. You get what you get.”

Jonathan Carlson

Here, the stuntman digs into his bag of tricks. No e-brake? Vise-Grip the front lines. Open rear end? Weld the differential. Creativity goes a long way, and proper technique is critical. To hone the latter, Fry recommends a course at Bobby Ore Motorsports or Rick Seaman Stunt Driving School, both of which cater to the film industry.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

“These guys are [big] names in our world,” he says. “They pioneered a lot of this stuff. As cars get more complicated, it’s all getting more difficult. But the fundamentals stay the same.”


How to Pull Off the Perfect Reverse 180

1.) Get moving in reverse—faster the better, Fry says. Between 20 and 40 mph is a sweet spot.

2.) Clutch in and jump off the gas to unsettle the car. At the same time, flick the wheel. Steer in the opposite direction you want the nose to rotate: left for clockwise, right for counter. Whip the wheel as fast as you can. The more you turn, the faster the car will rotate. Be careful not to lose your visual index, Fry adds. A lot of people can whip it around really fast but lose straight-ahead coming out of the skid.

3.) Now, just as the rotation is at 90 degrees, grab drive or second gear.

4.) Keep the wheel turned until you’re almost all the way around, then straighten it as you get on the gas.

5.) If there’s good rotation, and the car has power, hang the back end out under throttle on exit. Style counts.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Car Culture