Racing gamers driving up auction prices of Japanese classic cars

By dpa | 8 December 2022

LONDON: There was a time when enthusiasts used to laugh at the notion of a Japanese pocket rocket car becoming collectable, but now fans of racing video games are pushing up the prices.

"For a generation who grew up watching 'Fast and Furious', playing 'Gran Turismo' and 'Need for Speed', these JDM halo cars have fond memories and becoming increasingly desirable," said Gary Dunne of Britain's Classic Car Auctions company.

The turbocharged, sporty Subaru Imprezas and Mitsubishi Lancer Evo models are just two Japanese cars creating growing interest at classic car auctions after a period in the doldrums.

During that time many cars were wrecked, scrapped, left to rust or broken up for parts. Good surviving or restored examples now command a premium.

Lancer Evo

The Impreza appeared in more than 60 different video games and in law-enforcement trim was one of the stars of the UK reality show Police Interceptor. A virtual version of the Mitsubishi cropped up in 18 video race games.

Good Subara Impreza models now fetch between €46,000 (RM213,000) and €58,000 (RM268,000) at auction while the most expensive Evo went for more than €116,000 (RM536,000).

In its heyday, the range-topping WRX Subaru Impreza was one of the fastest compact saloons on the road. It can storm to a top speed of 255kph, with the rarer Evo topping out just a few kms behind.