Crossovers come in all different shapes and sizes. No, we’re not talking about hatchbacks with plastic wheel arches, rather the car equivalent of Batman vs Superman. Partnerships like Aston Martin and James Bond, or Abarth and pretty much anything, have resulted in some truly brilliant offerings that have collectors on both sides of the conceptual fence salivating.
Only occasionally do we see the real and virtual automotive worlds crossover, though, which is disappointing for PH’s self-appointed videogame expert. Cars and computer games go hand in hand, giving you the ability to collect hundreds of cars that you can tune, paint and race without forking out the equivalent of a house deposit as you would do in the real world. No computer game has come close to embedding itself into actual real-world car culture like Gran Turismo. This was a crucial game for many, especially when it came to opening people's eyes to all the weird and wonderful corners of car culture. Think about it: would the Suzuki Escudo Pikes Peak car be as legendary as it is today without GT?
So, on the run-up to the release of Gran Turismo 4 in late December 2004, GT developer Polyphony Digital thought it’d be a good idea to finally bridge the gap between the real and digital realms with a limited-run car that could be driven both in the game and in real life. It teamed up with Nissan, which was busy celebrating the 35th birthday of the 350Z, to launch a small batch of Anniversary Edition cars with a copy of the game and a PlayStation 2 to play it on. Best of all, you could access the GT4 edition in-game so you can crash to your heart’s content on the Nordschleife without writing it off in the process.
Visually, there wasn’t a huge difference between the standard 350Z and the GT4 car. A new colour was released, Ultra Yellow, which a Nissan press release described as “eye-ball wrenching”. Hard to argue with that. If you didn’t fancy having your eyes violently stretched out of their sockets, a tamer Kuro Black was also offered. Each car was adorned with a Gran Turismo 4 logo on the dashboard, along with the build number out of the 176-strong production run. And if you had an extra £2,495 burning a hole in your pocket at the time, Nissan would bung-on a Nismo body kit designed in partnership with the GT creators.
As it’s based on the 35th Anniversary car, it gets a bunch of performance goodies, too. The 3.5-litre V6 received updates to the pistons and camshaft, along with electronic exhaust timing control, increasing peak power to 300hp – 20hp more than the base car. Straight-line performance was decent, with the GT4 taking 5.7 seconds to hit 62mph (a smidgen faster than the regular Zed) and making a darn good howl while doing so.
While not an all-out homage to the Gran Turismo series, the GT4 edition’s £2,500 premium over the standard 350Z was pretty decent value at the time. But is it special enough to be considered a collector’s item? Well, the previous owner of this car certainly wanted to see if that would be the case, as it’s only covered 555 miles over the past 18 years. The £29,995 asking price ought to gauge whether or not the GT4 edition is ready to join the ranks of skyrocketing Japanese specials. But, like finding a video game still in its original packaging, there’s surely a collector out there waiting for an example just like this. Just don’t expect to find a brand-new PS2 and copy of GT4 in the boot.
SPECIFICATION | NISSAN 350Z GRAN TURISMO 4 LIMITED EDITION
Engine: 3,498cc V6
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 300@6,400rpm
Torque (lb ft): 260@4,800rpm
Year registered: 2005
Recorded mileage: 555
Price new: £29,500
Yours for: £29,995
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