Fans of both the Dodge/SRT Viper and Grand Theft Auto video game series know the Banshee well; a staple ride of the series ever since it went to 3D with 2001’s Grand Theft Auto III, the Banshee has always been a spitting image of the Viper (at one point, the game version even had the classic three-spoke rims first seen on the ’89 concept), save for brief sojourns into Corvette and Ferrari territory.
It always begged the question: how does GTA publisher Rockstar Games get away with it? How can they make a car that looks so much like the real thing without any form of licensing? It isn’t relegated to the Viper, either; R* seems to even have found a way to get around the thick red tape plastered around the Porsche name, as the it-can’t-be-anything-but-a-Porsche-Comet has existed in the GTA Universe ever since 2002’s Vice City edition. Not even proper racing games like Gran Turismo—games full of licensed content—have had Porsches in their stable.
Well, it seems that the good folks over at West Coast Customs have taken the Banshee love to heart, and decided, in a bizarre form of reverse-engineering, to build a real, working Banshee of their own in anticipation of the next installment of the GTA franchise, due out later this month (and yes, my pre-order is in).
They’re being coy about what the underpinnings of the “Banshee RL” (that’s my nomenclature, not theirs, by the way) consist of, but look past the GTA-specific headlamps, wheels and fender flares and the double-bubble roof, thick B-pillar and long hood scream “Dodge Viper” all the way; in fact, I’ll do you one better and say it’s of first gen GTS Coupe vintage.
It runs, too and to prove it, game retailer Gamestop is giving one away to a lucky GTA fan as part of their Epic Rewards Giveaway.