If you're like us you've been playing a lot of Forza Horizon in those hours when you're not sleeping or pretending to work, but perhaps you've felt something was missing from the experience. Specifically, you've felt like you've been deprived of the retro Japanese, vintage Italian and classic American wagon-y goodness that makes life worth living.
What's better than dusting a guy in a tuned Camaro? Dusting him in a woodie.
It's for that reason we've partnered with Forza's creators to bring you yet another DLC full of the of cars you've been waiting to hoon virtually around the fictional open expanses of Horizon, Colorado. Six new cars (and a bonus) that will delight all manner of gearheads. Here are all the cars and why you absolutely must drive them.
(Full Disclosure: Jalopnik and Gawker Media receive no money for sales of this car pack, nor was there any kind of quid-pro-quo for advertising. This is an editorial tie-up alone. That said, we thought it best to be upfront and transparent about that - just like we are with everything.)
Rather than merely show you the cars we've got in the pack we've reached out to people who have actually driven and owned them to give you a little history, insight and background into the vehicles. We're also partnering with Forza for two challenges with prizes for the winners (more on that soon).
The latest Jalopnik pack will be available for purchase and download on Xbox LIVE on Tuesday, February 5th and will cost 400 MS Points (that's $5 bucks in real dollars). But for those who have already purchased the Forza Horizon Season Pass the pack will be free and come with a bonus car.
2013 Subaru BRZ
You've heard of the Subaru BRZ, yes? It's the car that cures cancer. Car-enthusiast cancer. With its sister Scion FR-S, the Toyobaru has not only returned rear-wheel drive to the 20-large price range — ticking boxes marked "light weight" and "rigid chassis" along the way — but it's also making people who don't normally talk about cars in excited tones say things like, "Do want," and "Where do I sign?" Whether those people actually buy them in any kind of mass number is a discussion for another model year.
Notwithstanding all the page-inch hype surrounding the BRZ/FR-S's arrival, the BRZ is a car you must drive, at all costs. Especially if you've driven nothing but new cars for the past decade, you'll tell right away the BRZ is special. Its chassis and tire grip matches note for note with the engine's throughput, meaning you can toss it around like it's a $500 LeMons-prepped E30 BMW. Power mongers will likely hang their bobbled heads at the thought of such low engine-output numbers, looking toward whatever juiced version is on the horizon. But for a platform available new at a dealership in 2013 (and one that's not a Lotus), it's a winner.
To solidify its position in the Jalopnik Forza pack with outside opinion, we turned to rally driver Mark Higgins, who last year took one around the Isle of Man TT course. Higgins, if you're unaware, is a three-time British National Rally Champion and Isle of Man TT course record holder, as well as a professional stunt driver who's worked on the James Bond films Quantum of Solace and Skyfall.
Last year was my first chance to drive the BRZ and to have the Isle of Man TT course closed off made it a fantastic experience. The car is nimble and very reactive to every small inputs, and becomes part of you when you drive. On the track the car drifts if you ask it, or holds the road and apex tight. Plenty of power to control the attitude of the car to set up corners and just plain fun to drive.
We would be the worst people if we didn't at least give you a virtual crack at something like that, no?
1973 Mazda RX-3
Quick! Name a car that's run all the famous 24-hour races — Le Mans, Nürburgring, Daytona, Spa — as well as the Bathurst 1000, Fuji 1000k and countless rallies and SCCA, IMSA RS and Japanese touring car meets. By the way, that car also happens to be the one that took the Japanese Grand Prix in 1972, touring car class, stopping the Nissan GT-R's winning streak at a mere 49 consecutive races.
Why yes, it was the Mazda RX-3, the company's third rotary experiment, known in Japan as the Savanna. The rotary engine? Isn't that the engine Ward's Automotive once said "would power 85 percent of the world's cars by 1980"? (To be fair, they were only off by 84.9 percent.) Still, to rotary fans — especially the motorsports-inclined ones — there's no replacement for that trackside sound: thousands of angry, Africanized bees plugged into a Marshall stack turned up to 11.
As was the custom with other Japanese makes of the time, America-bound RX-3s got the more powerful, freeway-friendly engine. In this case, it was the longer, two-rotor, three-lobe 12A rotary out of the sporty RX-2. It produced something like 124 hp, and only had to pull 2,150 lbs, giving the RX-3 a startling performance profile for its economy-minded category. The redline was 7,000, though buyers new to the rotary experience often lifted the throttle far earlier, thinking the universe was about to implode.
But the oil crisis was looming, as were 1975 emissions standards, and when the embargo hit, pushing the price of a gallon up to tens of cents, the thirsty rotary took a hit, and sales dropped precipitously. By '74, Mazda's "Rotary Engine Anti Pollution System" (REAPS) had robbed torque. These days, a real, early RX-3 experience is harder to find than tacos in Stuttgart. Good thing we've got the digital world, or the early-70s sport-rotary experience might one day have been lost forever.
1973 Datsun 510
As much as it shouldn't be, there's something primally sexy about the Datsun 510. In fact, it couldn't be more elementary. It's as if Merriam-Webster needed a dictionary drawing to publish next to the word "sedan," and some bored soul in the illustration pool just freehanded it on the way to lunch.
Who knew, in 1968, when such a rudimentary three-box design arrived on U.S. shores that it would become the standard for affordable performance cars. You can thank then-Nissan USA president Yutaka Katayama, aka Mr. K, for making sure the Datsun 510 was not only adequately powered for U.S. roads, but also raced its little, square ass off.
No doubt, the best-known Datsun 510s are the ones raced in the early 1970s by BRE — Brock Racing Enterprises. (Our own Alex Lloyd even drove one.) Peter Brock, along with driver John Morton and a cadre of tireless California gearhead-nerds, made the 510 a track icon, beating Alfa Romeo in one of the tightest SCCA Under 2.5-liter TransAm seasons ever. That 1971 victory launched Japanese-make racing into the public motorsports consciousness. Brock also developed a line of aftermarket add-ons that predated the import tuner scene by two decades.