Sega Rally Fan Turns Car Into Video-Game Star

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An AtariAge forum member got a bug up his tuckus and decided to turn his 1995 Toyota Celica into a replica of the Celica ST205 GT-Four from the classic video game Sega Rally Championship. Here's how he did it.

Confess: Every time you drive a car in a video game, you want it just a little. Age, make, model, condition — when you're spanking something across a digital landscape, none of these things matter. And if you owned an ST205-chassis Celica and happened to be a game freak, you'd probably think about doing something like this.

A little background, in case you were born too early, too late, or simply don't remember: In the early and mid-1990s, Japanese video-game firm Sega was on top of the world. Its consoles offered some of the most evolved graphics and gameplay in the industry, and its racing titles (remember, this is the company that gave the world the rear-view racing game in the form of 1982's Turbo), including Virtua Racing and Daytona USA, were the best on the market.


Sega Rally Championship, which debuted in arcade form in 1995, helped cement Sega's technical dominance. It was the first game to provide relatively realistic car modeling and to offer a wide variety of driving surfaces; oversteer, countersteer, and audio pace notes were all part of the package, and car behavior changed depending on which surface you drove on. The game's heart, however, lay in its cars.

Two cars were on offer: the Celica GT-Four and the Lancia Delta HF Integrale. Both were World Rally Championship stars, but when the game debuted, the Integrale was past its prime and the Celica was actively competing. It was essentially the first Japanese rally car to approach household-name status in the United States, and its cachet didn't hurt the game: Sega Rally proved to be one of its parent company's longest-lived brands, eventually being ported onto PC and the Sega Saturn (remember that?). It still exists today in the form of the Playstation/Xbox title Sega Rally Revo, and its influence can be felt in every driving game from Mario Kart to Forza Motorsport.

Given all that, it's easy to understand why the AtariAge guy did what he did. His car started life as an ordinary '95 Celica GT; $300 in decals and a bunch of aftermarket parts later, it is now something else entirely. And while you may look at this and wonder what the big deal is — with the exception of the cosmetics, the car is largely stock — we applaud it anyway. The cool thing here, after all, is that this was found on a video-game forum. The guy built this car not out of love for rally or love for Toyota — he built it because he loves a game. Car spawns sim spawns enthusiast spawns car: Amen.

Naturally, the dude in question wants to install a Sega Saturn in the center console. Can't say we blame him. (Next step: hiring a chopper to follow him around town and shoot mid-air rear-view footage. Makes sense, right?)