Racing has been a staple of video games since the medium was created. At first, the technology meant just blobs of color racing around rather blank screens. As graphics improved, racing games were able to utilize better action and become major hits at the arcades. Home gaming allowed players to enjoy the excitement with controls based on steering wheels. The advent of online play just increased the need as gamers could race each other for real and even have huge tournaments.
Whether it was the thrills of Need For Speed, the realism of Gran Turismo, or the fun of Mario Kart, car fans can find anything they want in video games. And that’s not including the wild action of the Grand Theft Auto series.
Some games are based on movies or comic books to showcase more fantastic cars. Many of them are obviously fantastic and impossible in real life. Others are perfect recreations of the cars one would see in real life. However, some fans have taken the challenge of building some of these cars in real life and they can do a wonderful job of it.
Other times, the game companies work to develop real versions of the cars as a promotional gimmick. It’s still astounding how cars that seem so fantastic are able to be created in real life near perfectly. From professional builds to random fans, these cars were brought into existence beautifully. Here are 25 video game cars created in real life to show how some fans go the extra step to enjoy a fun game ride.
24 Batmobile, Batman: Arkham Knight
It’s pretty common for major Bat-fans to create real versions of the Dark Knight’s iconic vehicles, from the TV shows to the movies. But it’s still impressive how Team Galag went all-out crafting the version of the Batmobile from the Arkham Knight game. It mixes together both a speed machine and an armored tank with the right touches only Batman can provide. It doesn’t boast the full rocket engine of the game and, obviously, it was built sans weapons. But it’s still fully drivable and is one of the best Batmobile replicas of any type out there.
23 Super Snake, Need For Speed
Even by the standards of the Need for Speed series, The Run showcased some astoundingly awesome rides. The Super Snake is one of the best. It’s based on a Ford Shelby GT500 that’s been specially modified for more speed. Given that a regular GT500 is one fast machine, that’s saying something. This was the last car built by Carroll Shelby and it was a great way to go out. The 750-hp monster engine fires up a huge speed with little drag. A special model was crafted to promote the game and though it can run nearly $150,000, it’s definitely worth it.
22 Sonic Car, Forza Motorsport 3
Sega has had its ups and downs over the years but Sonic the Hedgehog remains the company’s mascot and biggest star. He even makes his way into other games, including the hit Forza Motorsport 3. The biggest Xbox-exclusive racing series uses a few Sega names among the riders. So it’s no shock that one car shows up that’s basically a motor version of Sonic with a great design. One fan used it to craft a picture-perfect version, right down to the face and classic Sega logo. It may not reach the speeds Sonic is known for but it's still a fast ride.
21 Bugatti Vision, Gran Turismo 6
The Gran Turismo games differ from other racing games thanks to the incredible selection of high-end cars from Europe. Several are “concept cars” that won’t hit the market for years, so they stand out for the game. The Bugatti Vision looks great on screen yet even better when the developer crafted one model to help promote the game. Hezy Shaked ended up nabbing this beauty for a reported $5 million. Given this baby can hit 237 mph and has four remotes for its various devices, that’s worth the price for a serious speed machine.
20 1938 Phantom Corsair, L.A. Noire
Rockstar’s fantastic game is a well-detailed noir story of a cop investigating crimes in 1940s Los Angeles. The game boasts cars of the era that can be bulky in size but still handle rather well. This 1938 Phantom Corsair is a true beauty. Ahead of its time, with features such as faired-in fenders and a lower profile, the car has to be unlocked via special missions. But it’s worth it for one of the best rides in the game. A real Corsair is rare but this beautiful replica captures the digital version perfectly for both lovers of the game and classic automobiles.
19 Bumble V, Mario Kart
Fans love playing real-life Mario Kart. From race tracks to city streets, one can see fans riding go-karts dressed as Mario, Luigi, or other characters to see who’s the fastest. This special version of the Bumble V was created for a major show to promote the latest MK game. It’s used by Yoshi, Wario, and a few other characters and is notable for its design and some nice speed. This version is rideable for kids, although it obviously lacks the magical touches. Still, it’s impressive how this wild car is brought to vivid life.
18 Warthog, Halo
Halo was the game that made the Xbox a must-have system. The epic adventure is known as a top-notch first-person shooter. However, it also utilizes some nice driving sequences as gamers use the Warthog machines to get around the fields of battle. Bryant Havercamp spent five years building this nearly perfect replica of the machine, and it's based on a Chevy. Not only does it look great but it’s street legal, as well, so it can be driven. It may not boast real weapons or a futuristic engine but Master Chief would approve of this machine.
17 Bravado Banshee, GTA V
Usually, the GTA games utilize versions of real-life cars. From beaters to top-level supercars, you can drive almost anything in the game. The Bravado Banshee is based on a 2006 Dodge Viper and is one awesome car to drive in the game whether racing around the mock city or just touring the area calmly. Rockstar helped the company to put together a real version of the ride in 2015 that was entered in a fan contest. It was recently sold off for $68,000 to showcase how GTA can provide some sweet rides in real life.
16 Ice Cream Truck, Twisted Metal 2
The Twisted Metal series began the short-lived “demolition derby” genre of racing games. It’s still the best-known version of the form thanks to wild cars and nutty gameplay. The most popular was that ice cream truck known as Sweet Tooth. The vehicle of the clown Needles Kane is notable for the huge head bouncing on top. This fan has done a great job replicating it, from the head to exactly the right amount of details to make it look perfect. It may be an odd sight on the road but it’s a great one, as well.
15 GT5 Citroen, Gran Turismo 5
The Gran Turismo games are well known for using prototype cars to boost the action. This often means the automakers craft rare versions of the cars for shows to increase fan support. This Citroen was showcased in 2008 and only six were produced for real. The game's version boasts four electric motors delivering 778 horsepower. The real version isn’t quite that massive but it's still very powerful while looking absolutely gorgeous. If one were to purchase a GT5, be warned that the price tag can be over $2 million, which shows why more folks enjoy these cars in the game than in real life.
14 Hornet, Daytona USA
The Daytona USA games were notable for giving gamers the choice to shift their view from above or inside the car. This paved the way for scores of great racing games to follow and yet, the good animation still helps it stand out. The Hornet is the signature car and one fan decided to perfectly replicate it in real life. Building off a real stock car, it uses exactly the right amount of paint, decals, and more to make it look like it just roared off the gaming screen. It’s great from whatever view you look at it from.
13 Party Van, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade Game
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were taking off in 1989 when Konami crafted an action arcade game based off of them. It helped create the four-player style that would dominate arcades for the next decade and it's still loved today. In several segments of the game, the Turtles use their special van to get around, including a memorable scene on a highway. While it’s also based on the cartoon, this real-life version nicely captures the van right down to the “Foot Stinks” slogan. It’s so perfect, you can smell the pizza coming from inside.
12 Audi R8, Final Fantasy XV
The Final Fantasy games usually take place in amazing magical worlds. This version is a more modern fantasy locale, however, and thus uses real cars. The narrative includes the heroes using a terrific Audi R8 to get around and the action really ramps up in the car. A real version was created by Audi to help promote the game, which was only on sale in Japan. It’s beautifully in-depth, with a great V10 engine. It was won in a raffle by a lucky fan and, given its steep $470,000 price, it would be a major DLC prize.
11 Mario Kart
This was part of the collaboration in 2011 between Nintendo and West Coast Customs to help promote Mario Kart 7. It looks so much like the game version that you expect it to fire out turtle shells, banana peels, and skid around the track before launching off a cliff. It can be ridden but it's just as nice to look at and has been known to get major bids from real fans. As great as a simple go-kart with a Mario motif can be, this is astounding because of how it looks perfectly copied out of the game.
10 Dodge Deora II, Hot Wheels
Hot Wheels are, of course, famous as the toys that countless kids have played with. And yet, they also have had scores of video games aimed at all ages. They often use rare cars to highlight the games and the Deora II is pretty unique. There were high hopes for this thanks to its unique design but it never took off (probably because people didn’t want to buy a car that looked like a skateboard.) The Deora II tried to streamline the concept yet still didn’t connect. But it looks cool in real life to showcase a fun design.
9 Mach 5, Speed Racer
For years, the beloved manga Speed Racer has had a huge following in the U.S. The racing show still gets major attention thanks to its classic Mach 5 car. In 2008, a new video game was developed as a tie-in to the live-action movie. Mark Towle was inspired by both the game and movie to create one of the best real-life versions of the Mach 5. It looks perfectly like the game, to the point you expect it to show hidden tricks. While it’s not street legal like other versions, this showcases why this car is a joy in any medium.
8 Tron Lightcycle
Ever since it first popped up in the 1982 classic, the Lightcycle has been beloved by sci-fi and motorcycle buffs alike. In 2010, Disney finally released a sequel, Tron Legacy, complete with a video game tie-in. This naturally put the cycling front and center, updating the machines for the 21st century. While it’s tricky, several gearheads have accepted the challenge of crafting a real-life light cycle to enjoy. They capture its sleek design and light it up to make it look cooler at night. They may not lay down the “light beams” but they still look awesome.
7 Sega Out Run
One has to give major props to the inventiveness of this ride. Sega Outrun was one of the first major driving games for the company and remains one of their best. From simple races to wild crashes, gamers paid millions of quarters to enjoy this experience. But Garnet Hertz tops them all. This unique ride scans the coming terrain then mixes it on the screen to create a video-game style version of the road ahead. Thus, Hertz can play and ride a real road at the same time. That is true genius in gaming machine form.
6 Red Bull X2010, Gran Turismo 5
Kazunori Yamauchi asked, “If you built the fastest racing car on land, one that throws aside all rules and regulations, what would that car look like, how would it perform, and how would it feel to drive?” The answer came in this astounding speed machine. Originally used for the latest in the well-detailed racing games, a real-life version was built by Yamauchi to promote the game. The enclosed wheels and “fan element” help enhance the car's speed. The prototype is still held by Yamauchi yet showcases that the Red Bull X2010 can be charged in real life.
5 Raggio, Ridge Racer
One of the hottest arcade racing games of the 1990s and 2000s, Ridge Racer always entertained with its fantastic graphics and top-notch racing. The Raggio was one of the standout cars of the game, notable for its amazing speed and durability. In 2006, to promote a new game, Namco revealed a live version at a Tokyo auto show. It’s based on a Honda NSX and utilizes a good design to look straight out of the game. The series continues with home versions to show how the Raggio is one sweet machine in any incarnation.
4 Deora, Hot Wheels
The 1965 Deora was an attempt to create a bold version of a station wagon mixed with a cab-over truck. It was notable for its amazing length with a small driver and passenger section and a massive trunk. It never quite took off but it ended up becoming quite a popular toy for Hot Wheels. When Hot Wheels began doing video games, the Deora was a popular sight thanks to its unique design. Since then, fans have taken to making their own versions, a few of which use original Deoras. The better ones are original models to give this forgotten car a new life.
3 Battlebus, Fortnite: Battle Royale
Fortnite has become a hugely popular online game. Gamers of all ages adore this wild mix of action and puzzles and it has truly become a phenomenon. Each battle begins with the characters leaping off a bus held by an air balloon to skydive into an area. The company has allowed fans to create their own versions of the bus, complete with the balloon. Obviously, it doesn’t really fly (unless carried by a crane) but it has become a popular sight at parties. Nothing sparks up a gaming event like this bus bringing the party around.
2 Police Car, Need for Speed
The Need for Speed series usually puts the focus on a variety of amazing cars that gamers can use for races. Yet, some gamers actually love the unique police cars that give chase to the racers and can occasionally be used for play themselves. This real-life version is based on a Ford Interceptor from the Hot Pursuit entry. It was crafted by EA in 2010 as part of a promotional gimmick. It’s perfect in its design, right down to the backward “police” label and it handles beautifully. A real cop car would be hard-pressed to catch this vehicle.
1 Convertible Cadillac, Crazy Taxi
This popular arcade series has gamers racing to get cab riders to a destination as quick as possible, including wild driving and doing crazy stunts to earn more points before time runs out. A few fans have managed to create versions based on the various entries in the game. It can be easy to take a beat-up old cab and do it up to look like the game. This version uses the convertible model and looks terrific. It seems all set to go roaring out on a wild fare straight out of the game.
Sources: Wikipedia, Magix Buttons, and Car Keys UK.