Remembering Cars Of Gran Turismo
Grab your rose-tinted specs, we're taking a trip down memory lane.
As with most people, my love of cars stems from childhood. How could it not? All of the best toys were car-related. Radio-controlled cars, Hot Wheels or Matchbox, my personal favourite; Micro Machines, and Scalextric, if you were slightly well off. Sadly, these would be put down by children, and going forward they would become hobbyists and collector items.
In 1995, a small company in Japan called Sony, launched the PlayStation. Arcade-level 3D graphics had finally reached living rooms around the world, and the idea of gaming had been changed forever. Two years later, the hotly anticipated, first “Real Driving Simulator” had finally arrived, Gran Turismo. It delivered an immersive driving experience, with visuals and sound design not seen before. With the largest assortment of vehicles and the ability to even tune them!
The only thing missing was the likes of Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Porsche. As they were under license at EA at the time. Although, I’m kind of glad, as instead we were treated to an array of British sports cars, American muscle, and JDM cars, to choose from. Every child knew what a Ferrari was, but a twin-turbo Mitsubishi GTO, R33 Nissan Skyline GT-R, or even a RUF? They wouldn’t have had a clue. Thanks to this game, these amazing machines have been etched into the memories of the millennial petrol head.
Being one of these so-called millennials, I thought I’d throw together a handful of stand-outs from the early years of Gran Turismo.
Toyota TOM’S Castrol Supra GT 95’ - Gran Turismo 1
Sporting one of the most iconic liveries in racing history, up there with the likes of Gulf and Martini. The Supra not only shared the same colours as the Celica GT-Four rally car (famously driven by Carlos Sainz Snr) but also the four-cylinder 3SGTE engine, producing 493hp. Debuting in 1995, it was purpose-built to compete directly with the all-conquering Nissan Skyline GT-R, in the All Japan Grand Touring Car Championship (JGTC).
Nissan Pennzoil Nismo GT-R 98’ - Gran Turismo 2
The black and yellow adorned R33 Skyline, made for a real sinister-looking race car. If it was in a film, the baddie would be driving it. Entering the JGTC in 1998, the Skyline raced against the previously mentioned Supra GT. Rather than use an AWD, It would use the more traditional RWD system powered by the RB26DETT 2.8 litre inline-six, producing around 500hp. The following year it was swiftly replaced by the more popular R34.
Suzuki Escudo Pikes Peak 96’ - Gran Turismo 2
A car so extreme and outlandish it couldn’t possibly be real. Acquiring the Escudo on GT2 was pretty much a game-breaker. Purpose-built to tackle the Pike’s Peak time trial rally, it was just as much of a monster in real life. With a 2.5 litre twin-turbocharged V6 producing 975hp and a kerb weight of 800kg, It was so powerful the peak performance window lasted only 10 minutes!
Vauxhall Tigra ICE Rally Car 98’ - Gran Turismo 2
Based on the standard, rather humdrum faux-sports coupe from Opel/Vauxhall. Front-wheel drive and with around 95hp, it was hardly gonna set your trousers alight. The ICE rally car did away with the crummy 1.4l four-cylinder and crammed in a 2.5l V6 into the lightweight frame. It weighed 950kg and pushed 400hp through an AWD system. And let’s not forget to mention that white and yellow livery, seriously cool.
Alfa Romeo 155 DTM Touring Car 93’ - Gran Turismo 2
A square stance and boxy silhouette paired with a basic, yet beautiful red/white livery and a set of quad exhausts round the back. It is probably the best looking touring car ever made (please try and prove me wrong). The 155 was given Afla’s signature 2.5l naturally-aspirated V6, which was good for 415hp. Although, rather than use RWD, it uncharacteristically had AWD. This recipe made for the most successful car in German touring-car history. Not just a pretty face, eh.
There have been so many iconic road and racing cars featured in Gran Turismo over the years, I could go on for page after page listing all my favourites. It really puts into perspective the level of detail that’s gone into each game.
What was your favourite? Let me know which ones I’ve missed down in the comments!