Launched in 1997 on the original Sony PlayStation, Gran Turismo transformed the way enthusiasts thought about cars. European gamers’ eyes were opened to a whole new world of exotic Japanese performance models and educated in the ways of tuning and performance upgrades.
It’s also influenced real-world car-buying habits, the Gran Turismo generation now grown up and living their teenage dreams in the real world. Here are five iconic cars from the original game you can buy now for surprisingly tempting prices.
MITSUBISHI FTO – FROM £2,000
Gran Turismo’s genius was in making you start with nothing and forcing you to earn your way by spending ‘money’ wisely on cars you could win races with, affordably upgrade and then use to trade your way into more exotic machinery. Early in the game the Mitsubishi FTO was an affordable star with predictable front-wheel drive handling and a zesty 2.0-litre V6 motor. Gamers quickly started importing real FTOs from Japan before Mitsubishi sold them officially, and the few cars that remain in the market are now your affordable entry into living the Gran Turismo dream – just as they were in the game two decades ago.
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SUBARU IMPREZA – FROM £6,000
With its success in rallying and prominent role in Gran Turismo the Subaru Impreza was a 90s performance car legend, especially in the case of the imported Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) special editions. While Subaru UK sold its own version of the Impreza with the same turbocharged ‘boxer’ engine and legendary four-wheel drive powertrain it’s the JDM versions like the WRX, STI and two-door Type R that really get the fans going. And they’re now regarded as appreciating modern classics, enthusiasts coveting the limited edition models, especially those that escaped the craze for modifying and survived in original form.
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NISSAN SKYLINE – FROM £15,000
A legend in its Japanese homeland and a with a fearsome reputation on the racetrack, it was games such as Gran Turismo that made the Nissan Skyline a global icon. While there are many variations on the theme and Skylines have been around in various forms since the 60s, it’s the fire-breathing GT-Rs that really capture the imagination and live on in the version sold today. Given their ties with the game, aficionados crave the 90s R32, R33 and R34 era cars especially, with values rising fast.
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ASTON MARTIN DB7 – FROM £25,000
Japanese cars dominate Gran Turismo and remain the vehicles most people associate with the series. But the developers had broad tastes and included American cars such as the Corvette and Viper, as well as British bruisers like the TVR Griffith and Aston Martin DB7. Back in the real world the latter now looks a conspicuous bargain, whether in supercharged six-cylinder form or more expressive V12 Vantage trim.
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HONDA NSX – FROM £50,000
Originally intended as the Japanese Ferrari, the Honda NSX was a rude wake-up call to the European sports car establishment. The combination of lightweight aluminium construction, Honda reliability and a dash of Ayrton Senna’s input into the handling created a legend that’s returned as a high-tech hybrid. The original version is appreciating fast but still looks compelling value compared with Porsches of the same era and is a tempting option for anyone wanting to live the Gran Turismo dream for real.
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