Street Machine




IT’S fair to say Australia is pretty starved of real-world car action right now. Lockdowns across the country have seen the cancellati­on of more events than you can poke a stick at, and in some places we haven’t even been able to go for a recreation­al drive on our own.

Thankfully, there are still ways to socialise with like-minded gearheads, even if it’s in the virtual world.

The long-running Grand Theft Auto video game series has always featured cars and driving action, but GTA Online’s latest downloadab­le update has kicked things up a notch.

Los Santos Tuners is all about car culture, and introduces a whole new way to cruise and race against your mates. The LS Car Meet is a fresh addition to the online map, offering a space to show off your customised vehicles without any weapon-filled shenanigan­s. New racing modes including time trials, head-tohead showdowns and a motorkhana-style Scramble event.

There’s an array of new cars to buy, mod and race to your heart’s content. As per the usual GTA method, the new cars aren’t exact replicas of their real-world counterpar­ts, with just enough elements changed – names included – to avoid IP infringeme­nts.

The new metal is heavily customisab­le with a wide range of aftermarke­t performanc­e parts. Want a huge bodykit, drift-spec bumper delete or individual throttlebo­dies? Go ahead! Most of the in-game accessorie­s emulate real-life brands. Momo becomes ‘Mono,’ and HKS is ‘HFS’. Some cars can also be branded with other tongue-in-cheek logos, like the Samsung-based ‘Wiwang’.

Eight of the new cars are based on Japanese marques, ranging from a Datsun ute to Toyota’s newest Supra. There’s also the Audi-inspired Obey Tailgater, and our personal favourite – the ’69 Mustang-based Vapid Dominator GTT.

Having “pioneered the great American business model of low-quality mass production”, the Vapid brand is a clear parody of Ford. The Dominator avoids copyright issues by adding an extra set of brake lights to the rear end.

Though it comes stock with a carby-fed V8, under-bonnet options include a Coyote-style intake manifold, stack injection and even a chrome-plated blower. Outside are Shelby and Boss scoops, optional bolt-on flares, side-exit exhausts and more. Available liveries pay tribute to classic racers like Parnelli Jones’s yellow Boss 302, but our pick of the lot is the ‘70s Street Machine’, resplenden­t in orange candy paint and pinstripin­g galore.

Of course, there’s already a huge range of muscle in GTA Online, both chrome-bumper and modern. Another SM favourite is the Vapid Imperator, based on Australia’s very own XB Falcon hardtop. In ‘Apocalypse’ guise, it’s a ringer for the iconic Mad Max Pursuit Special, down to the Weiand-type blower, zoomie pipes and Concorde-spec front end.

So until we can get back to real life, we’ll see you in-game!

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