Friday, 15 June 2018

How Much? Turning Racing Games Into Reality

Well, kind of. Racing games have pretty much always been among the most popular of all games, and examples over the years have featured vehicles of all sorts of different shapes and types. Many of the most iconic of these are of course mental track cars like the F1 and LMP types (Continental Circus, WEC Le Mans, Winning Run, etc) which few of us will even have the chance to get run over by never mind drive for ourselves. Many others are not even real (Road Blasters, Daytona USA, Ridge Racer, Burnout, etc) so it doesn't matter how much we might want them.

Some, though, are real, so if you really wanted to, the potential is there to live out your fantasies and recreate your favourite game in real life! In a more realistic and responsible manner, naturally, but still, it's not beyond reason that some of us could be able to drive or even own one of our favourite cars from our favourite game of yesteryear. I decided, therefore, to see just how realistic this might be by looking at a handful of examples along with the price potential buyers might expect to pay.

Ferrari F40
As seen in... Turbo OutRun & Crazy Cars III (amongst others)

A jaw-dropping revelation when it first appeared and still widely regarded as one of the best supercars ever made, Ferrari's celebration of itself (it was designed to celebrate their 40th anniversary) was immediately iconic. It was therefore not an enormous surprise to see it represented in the world of gaming soon after its real unveiling. The first game I remember seeing it in was Sega's splendid Turbo OutRun but it was also featured prominently in Titus's home computer release, Crazy Cars 2, although in this case most gamers quickly realised its inclusion was the only good thing about the frankly rather awful game.

It has since appeared many more times over the years as games featured larger and larger rosters of cars, and it made a welcome return to the OutRun series in 2003's OutRun 2. Whichever game you might've seen it in, there's no question it would be a highly desirable, though not terribly realistic car to own in real life, but just how unrealistic is it? Well, like most Ferrari's it cost a blinking fortune even in its day (around £200K as I recall), and since it was produced in very limited numbers, its value has only climbed over the years, so I think this one is consigned to our memories and/or fantasies. I have touched one in real life though!

Yes please! How much? Well, they weren't produced for long so there aren't too many about, and consequently they are rare and expensive, even for Ferrari standards! It's not common to even see prices listed for this beauty (they're usually showing as 'POA'), but on the odd occasion someone does tell you how much they want, it'll rarely be less than £1,000,000 these days... Eeek!

Porsche 928
As seen in... Chase HQ!

Porsches were very cool when I was growing up and I still remember their range at the time. They offered the 924 (which looking back now must've been no better than most of the family saloons around at the time), the 944 (which was basically a more powerful version of the same thing), and of course the various 911's which were all awesome, but one that was often overlooked was the 928. It had weird headlights and a slightly strange smooth rounded back-end, but apart from that it looked much like the 924 and 944. Unlike those, however, it came packing a 4.5-5.5L V8 which could reach 170+ mph - more than most of the 911's of the same period!

As far as games are concerned, the distinctive 928 popped up here and there but it is unquestionably most famous for its starring role in Taito's outstanding police chase arcade game, Chase HQ. Here, as most of you probably know, you got to drive your black 928 flat out though five stages in pursuit of bad guys driving their own sports/supercars of the day. Once you caught them up you just had to smash them off the road. I guess the 928 is sturdy old thing! Suffice to say, it was huge fun, and that was before you discovered Taito had (somehow) fitted your car with three 'turbos' per stage. Let's go Mr. Driver indeed!

Yes please! How much? The prices for the 928 varies a lot depending on its age (Porsche were producing them for 18 years) and condition (including mileage) and can cost upwards of £60K but you could pick up an example that 'needs work' for as little as £15,000. Bargain! Don't see too many black ones though...

Lancia Delta HF Integrale
As seen in Sega Rally and a million other rally games

They may not have enjoyed the best overall reputation among motorists over the years but I think most car fans will agree that Lancia have made at least two ultra-skillish cars - the mental Stratos, particularly in its Alitalia livery, and the Delta; specifically the Delta HF Integrale which, like the Stratos before it, destroyed all who faced it in the World Rally Championships during the late 80's and early 90's.

As you might expect, therefore, the Integrale was represented in the gaming world exclusively by rally games. Since it is quite a bit older than most of the games in question, its inclusion was often as a hidden bonus vehicle or something, but the one game in which it took centre stage also happened to be probably the most beloved and successful rally game ever made - Sega Rally Championship! It may have been featured alongside the Toyota Corolla GT-Four but I don't think I need to tell you which car was more popular, probably partly due to its cool Martini livery.

Yes please! How much? Much like the Porsche 928, the cost of a Delta HF Integrale depends very much on its age and condition, with the fanciest, lowest-mileage examples going for well over £100K, but you should be able to find a slightly scruffier one for around £15,000-20,000. Might conk out often though...

Lamborghini Diablo VT
As seen in The Need For Speed (amongst others)

During the 80's when I was growing up, the one car to feature on more wall posters than any other must surely have been the mental Lamborghini Countach which looked more like a spaceship than a car. In 1990, however, it was finally retired and replaced with the Diablo (which means 'Devil' in Spanish if you didn't know) which duly looked exactly like you'd imagine a slightly modernised Countach would. It still looked like a spaceship and it still went like stink, and it was also soon found on bedroom walls the world over too, but which game was it first seen in?

I've no idea what the actual first was to be honest, but like all the various crazy Lambo's, it was perfectly suited to the equally crazy racing games of the era. The one I remember it best for, though, was the original Need For Speed on 3DO where the scary black VT model held the honour of being the fastest car in the game. There weren't many stretches of road long and straight enough to max it - only one on the first 'City' course in fact - but it was always a thrill to do it. You would spend much more time slamming into buses or flipping end-over-end as you weaved around all the other cars trying to do it of course, but that was all part of the fun!

Yes please! How much? Hey, it's a Lamborghini! You won't find any model in any condition for anywhere near the sort of price that most of us can afford, and the Diablo is no different. Some go for well over £300K but the cheapest VT I can find still costs only a few coins short of £100,000...

Ferrari Testarossa Spider
As seen in... do you really need to ask?

Obviously I had to feature this wonderful car at some point - it was the inspiration behind the post to begin with after all. How could it not be? Ask any gamer over 35-or-so about the best game cars and I'm confident many would go for this amazing machine. The original Testarossa (which means 'redhead' in Italian - chortle!) was an enormously desirable car itself, instantly recognisable even to non-car fans thanks to its striking side air intakes, but a couple of years after its unveiling the chairman of Fiat decided to celebrate 20 years in the job by commissioning a 'spider' (i.e. convertible) version of Ferrari's most famous car. And yey, so it came to pass.

The Spider wasn't nearly as well known in the real world though, and there's a very good reason for that - aside from the special version made for Gianni Agnelli, the Fiat chairman, Ferrari decided against making any more for spatial and structural reasons, so in the unlikely event you've seen one, it will have been an unoffical conversion made by Pininfarina themselves or any other one of the after market tuning/modding companies. That's the real world though; in the gaming world however...

Yes of course, for that is where the Testarossa Spider did become famous, all thanks to Yu Suzuki's decision to put it centre stage in his stunning 'Super Scaler' racing game, OutRun. It was a worldwide smash, earning perhaps more fame than the car it featured on all the promotional material as well as in the game itself. Who could blame people for loving it? Driving along gorgeous sun-kissed coastal or country roads to infectious Caribbean music with the wind rushing through your hair would be amazing in (almost) any car, but in a special convertible version of what was at the time the hottest car on the planet? With a gorgeous blonde by your side? Gaming experiences didn't get much better than that - you only have to see how loved the game still is to realise what an impact it had, and a big part of that was down to the thrill of not just seeing but driving this amazing car.

Yes please! How much? Even if you 'just' want a normal Testarossa (or 512TR, the revised later model), you'll be looking at £70K at the very least (less than I would've thought actually!), but if you really want to live out your OutRun fantasies it'll need to be a Spider. Conversions are uncommon and I couldn't even find a price for one, but if you want the only official version (which is silver so it won't be much use for OutRun anyway)... well, it last sold at auction for $1,000,000 so...

Honourable Mentions: Lotus Esprit Turbo (Turbo Esprit & Lotus Turbo Challenge), Subaru Impreza WRX (every rally game ever, notably Colin McRae Rally), Toyota Supra Castrol GT (Sega GT), Porsche Boxster (Porsche Challenge), Porsche 959 (Test Drive 2), Jaguar XJ220 (Jaguar XJ220), and the mighty VW Beetle (Beetle Adventure Racing)!


  1. I loved all those old customized cars in Street Rod 1 & 2
    And from more "modern games" Ford GT 90 from NFS2

    1. Yeah, there are some great cars in more modern racing games - almost too many to even use - but the GT90 will always be a ghastly contraption! :P

  2. Awesome post! I guess the logical next quest would be to find a real road on which you could replicate the game play in these real cars!

    1. Hey Sean, long time no speak! :) Glad you liked the post. That's a very good idea but I suspect it would require substantially more research (and money) to produce. It would be amazing fun though :)