Spotted: The cars of Need for Speed

RVs, pickups and decaying Volkswagen Microbuses comprise the typical traffic on California State Route 128. But over a week in April, this sinewy strand of blacktop welcomed some interlopers.

A production unit for Need for Speed, a full-length feature based on the racing-simulator video game of the same name, decamped to the redwood groves near Navarro, California, about a 2 ½ hour drive north of San Francisco. With the Hollywood circus came the kind of automotive scenery befitting, well, a video game – or the Geneva motor show.

Stopping at the production base on a shoot day, one could take in what appeared to be the rarest hypercars in the world. “Appeared” is critical, as the likelihood that a Lamborghini Sesto Elemento – one of only 20 produced – or a trio of 1,100-horsepower, $1 million Koenigsegg Agera Rs would be carousing in the California wine country is tough to swallow.

But with exhaust crackling through waste gates and tires protesting through tightly strung corners, it was difficult to say with any certainty which machines may have been authentic and which were painstakingly re-bodied Toyota MR2s.

What is certain is the keenness of the location scout. Bugattis, Lamborghinis and yes, that trio of million-dollar Swedes should look quite good – even genuine – darting among the shadows cast by century-old redwoods.

Need for Speed is scheduled for a US release in April 2014.