O Opinions & Commentary

Forget action figures and comic book tie-ins; we want a sports car!

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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.

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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).

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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.

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