A full 21 years on from launch, we take a closer look at the cars of the ‘PlayStation Generation’ and discuss which ITG products you should fit if you’re lucky enough to own one of your own
It’s hard to overstate the impact that Gran Turismo tad when launched back in 1997. It wasn’t merely a milestone in terms of video games, it became the focal point for an entire generation of budding petrolheads, all struggling to define their automotive tastes in a largely pre-internet era.
The huge success enjoyed by the likes of GT1, GT2 and GT3 (the era when the franchise could be considered ‘the only show in town,’ certainly as far as console gamers were concerned) has since been reflected in the values of the cars it contained; put simply, those of us who lusted after a ‘Classic’ Impreza Turbo in 1999 still hanker after one now we’re fully grown, and the only difference is that many of us now have the financial clout to make the dream a reality!
With this in mind, we thought it high time we take a look back at some of the cars which have become Gran Turismo icons in their own right, and also the ITG filters we recommend fitting them should you be fortunate enough to own the real deal.
Mitsubishi’s range of Evos will forever be linked to late nights spent hurling digitally rendered IIIs around questionably rendered city streets for many of us, but of course the cars themselves owe their very existence to the far more serious world of motorsport. The WRC rules of the era stated a manufacturer must build a set number of road going ‘homologation specials’ in order to be permitted to compete, and the Evo family was the result. Countless thousands of Evo owners began their fixation with the cars by playing them on Gran Turismo, and for that we can’t help but love it.
The ITG range isn’t exactly short on kit for Evos of all shapes, so head over to the website to learn more.
Escort Cosworth aside, the ’90s Toyota Supra might just be the proud owner of the most extreme rear wing to ever grace a road car, and that’s before we even get to its trump card – that 2JZ straight six engine. It’s since become a legend within the aftermarket tuning world, and for good reason; developed with motor racing in mind and almost comically over-engineered, the 2JZ has been coaxed into producing frankly bonkers, four figure power figures. We’d recommend grabbing one of these right now if you can, the (already steep) values can only go one way…
The Supra’s straight six motor has been shown to respond very well to classic induction work, so check out our ProFilter range for more info.
OK, ok, in some respects this is a bit of a cheat, as the car we all wanted more than our next breath in GT2 was actually the Escort WRC, a variant very few of us are ever likely to have owned, but the ‘Cossie’ was still the archetypal European homologation ‘nutter’ special for much of the ’90s. It really was a golden era for those of us keen to get our hands on (barely) sanitised versions of the cars blasting through the special stages of the world, and the Escort Cosworth, complete with 2.0 YB power and a selection of turbos throughout its life, sat at the top of most of us.
Getting hold of the GT2 WRC wasn’t exactly the work of moments; you had to complete the full 100 miles of the Seattle Endurance race in one sitting and in real time, leading to bleary eyes, tired thumbs and a fast-fading sense of satisfaction.
The Cosworth’s OEM induction system leaves much to be desired, not least as it was designed a full quarter of a century ago. It’s therefore no surprise that cars running ITG filters have seen marked improvements. Click through to learn more.
Mazda RX-7 FD
Say the words ‘Mazda’ and ‘RX-7’ to most folk with of a performance motoring mindset, and the answer you get will invariably involve the words ‘rotary,’ ‘oil use’ and ‘costly to fix,’ but a quirky engine shouldn’t detract from what is without doubt one of the finest sports cars to ever emerge from Japan. The rotary witchcraft under the bonnet wasn’t without worth, either; it was powerful, characterful and sounded like satan stubbing his toes on a sowing machine. Repeatedly. It certainly didn’t hurt that the FD’s swoopy, flowing lines looked better than many contemporary supercars.
Honda Civic Type R EK9
It’s weird to think that the cult of Honda Type R worship that’s now so entrenched within the UK owes its very existence to one, barely 20 year old car, the EK9 Civic – and it was never officially sold here. Those that did manage to get their mitts on an EK9 Type R (whether real or digital) were getting one of the finest hot hatches of the age, complete with a scarcely believable (for the time) 1.6 182bhp VTEC and trick Limited Slip Diff. We’ll take ours in Jordan F1 special edition flavour, please.
The car world has always been a tribal place (just ask a group of Aussies which is better out of a Holden or a Ford, then stand back to watch the fireworks), and in the late ’90s this rivalry was best embodied by the battle between the Mitsubishi Evo and the Subaru Impreza, one which spilled out from the special stages and onto the public road. Which side you preferred often depended on whether you were a Makinen or a McRae fan, but there could be no denying the charms of the latter’s Impreza, complete with iconic flat-four boxer engine.
The Nissan Skyline is perhaps more closely intertwined with the Gran Turismo franchise than any other model, probably as the games have always included a dizzying array of different variants from different generations. It can’t have hurt that the Skyline, the likes of the R33 and R34 in particular, were noted for their battery of cutting edge electronics and safety systems when new, that and their ability to humble all but the most extreme of European supercars. Just don’t mention ‘Godzilla…’
The Skylines RB26 is another of those iconic engines that’s been embraced by the tuning community, and with good reason. Head over to our website to learn more about we can offer them.
Renault Espace F1
Remember when car makers weren’t afraid to commit to expensive, utterly unhinged projects with little or no relation to their road car range? We do, and the Renault Espace F1 is clear evidence of how barmy some of these projects could be! Essentially a modified Phase 2 Espace body shell plonked over a custom carbon fibre chassis and with the running gear from a 1993 Williams FW14 F1 car, the 3.5L NA Espace could call upon a thumping 800bhp and 520ib/ft of torque, all of which was put to good use on Gran Turismo.
It probably won’t be all that surprising that we can’t offer you an induction kit for the Espace F1, though we can for the regular version, not to mention other Renaults offerings.
Suzuki Escudo Pikes Peak
One of the best things about Gran Turismo, certainly the early games, was that the introduced many of us to all manner of weird and wonderful automotive creations, the likes of which we simply wouldn’t otherwise have been aware of. The Suzuki Escudo (Vitara in Europe) Pikes Peak was a case in point, and also evidence of GT2’s lack of regard for gaming convention; make the most powerful car in the game a little known Suzuki hill-climb racer? Why the hell not.
The ITG rage is somewhat light in offerings for Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima’s near 1000bhp creation, but we can sell you a filter for your Vitara.
A Mazda what? That’s right, a Demio, Mazda’s quirky, boxy mini MPV, and a car that played a key role in the early Gran Turismo series, largely as it was among the first cars you could actually buy with your meagre starting credits. It wasn’t big, it wasn’t clever and it certainly wasn’t quick (though you could certainly make it so, should the inclination take you), but the Demio was raced by countless thousands of gamers in the late ’90s and early noughties. You could even win the race multiple times and get a Demio for each try, allowing you to accumulate in game CR in record time.
Yes, we do sell an air filter for the Demio! Check it out here.