Sunday, May 5, 2013

6 Cars we had no idea existed...until we drove them in video games.

Thank the gaming gods for driving sims, otherwise we'd be completely oblivious to some wonderful pieces of automotive machinery out there, somewhere, legitimately churning up the dirt and tarmac (unless they turned up on Top Gear and I just missed that particular episode)..

Not just the maddest car in Gran Turismo 2!

Seriously, did you know about any of the following before someone shoehorned them into a video game?

Nobuhiro 'Monster' Tajima's Pikes Peak Suzuki Escudo

We played it first in: Gran Turismo 2 on Playstation
Maker: Suzuki + a Japanese bloke called Monster
What was it like to play?: Mental

An absolutely ball tearing high revving rally chewing super machine that enjoyed destroying anything and everything within earshot, boy were we impressed when we discovered that this absolute animal of a machine was piloted by a bloke in real life by the nickname of 'Monster'. Over 1000 hp, AWD and popular with anyone who's ever tried hanging onto one in Gran Turismo game. Once a humble little V6 Escudo, Monster's shop in conjunction with Suzuki force fed it a truckload of crazy, kicked it right in the nuts then unleashed it onto a track just as lunatic: Pikes Peak.
While most of us have no idea where that track really is (west of Colorado Springs actually) it lives on both in our minds and controllers.

Jaguar Palmer JP1

We played it first in: PGR3 on Xbox 360
Maker: Jaguar + Mr Palmer
What was it like to play?: It screamed a lot and then flung itself sideways again and again with mad abandon

Usually when I end up winning Jag cars in racing games for completing challenges, they're usually something along the lines of an XK8's, XKR's or XJ's. Basically nothing near as sanity questioning as the JP1. Thankfully PGR3 got this correct and gave me both the X-Type engine racing rocket and plenty of tracks to scream around with to make sure it was working correctly. Which it was...every time I tested it.
In real life it's just as grin inducing with 0-60mph in 3.2 seconds and a weight of three Biggest Loser contestants (barely 650kg). In real life it probably doesn't drift around like a wailing banshee either but then it's usually piloted by those who know how to drive one of these things (not me).

Italdesign Scighera

We played it first in: Need for Speed 3: Hot Pursuit on PC
Maker: Alfa Romeo + Italdesign
What was it like to play?: Not that memorable

We've already taken a look at Alfa's involvement in NFS3 and our questioning it's existence here

Tom's W123 (MR-S)

We played it first in: Forza 2 on Xbox 360
Maker: Toyota + Toms
What was it like to play?: Drifty!

 Finding info on the W123 MR-S has been quite a challenge as Japanese to English gave me this wonderful nugget of not much:  The complete program that fed back racing technology of TOM'S. I mounted with an exclusive turbo system and exclusive Advox, a reinforcement brace and wore the exclusive wide body kit that was good for the performance. The super midship sports that embodied ideal MR-S.
(Taken from the TOMS website)

Hmm. What we can reveal is that in the game its a low powered but incredible fun ride that loves to slide around and when tuned properly, does give a lot of the competition a definite run for their money. Buggered if I'd know where you could buy one but they look like this in real life:

Mines R34 GTR

We played it first in: Gran Turismo 2 on PS2
Maker: Nissan + Mines
What was it like to play?: Incredibly effective

I remember that practically anytime you won anything in Gran Turismo 2, the game would award you with a Skyline. Come first - Skyline. Complete ten laps - Skyline. Car errupts in a mushroom cloud explosion of burning fuel and twisted metal? Yep, it gave you a Skyline.
Buggered if I can remember how I ended up with the Mine's version though but I recall it was very good indeed given its plain color and severe lack of stickers.
It was extremely hard to beat when you learnt to drive it correctly. And after a while it'd be the only Skyline you drove.

In real life you can attribute it to the fact that Mines loves a car that's all go and not so much show. As this great article from Speedhunters reveals, they keep it simple and just focus on making a great car brilliant, as opposed to making a great car look godawful, scoring a spot in the next Fast and the Furious film.

And finally...


We played it first in: Gran Turismo Concept on PS2
Maker: Toyota and someone who obviously hates cars
What was it like to play?: Infernal

With looks like it was plucked from the an 80's episode of Doctor Who combined with the blistering performance that would even have your grandma asking if it could go faster, the pod was awful in every way shape and form.
Maybe it's my utter contempt for this car but I recall the one and only race I ever (had to) raced it in seem to make time slow down it was that godawful.

Thankfully we haven't seen a mention of it since. Now to burn my copy of GT Concept before I start to remember again...


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