Grand Theft Auto game logo

"Grand Theft Auto" is a runaway success video game franchise from Rockstar Games. From its humble beginnings as a top-down point-of-view game running on 32-bit consoles to the immersive and massive first-player game that it is today, "GTA" has remained one of the best-selling video games of all time. According to HP, "GTAV" is second in sales only to "Minecraft" at 150 million copies sold to date.

Its cars are integral to gameplay, and the way Rockstar apes real cars is ingenious. Rather than paying for license agreements like so many game developers do, Rockstar creates a parallel world of auto manufacturing. "GTA" blurs the lines of fantasy and reality by creating cars that look unmistakably familiar, but just a little off. As the game has evolved, so has the selection of vehicles. Today, there are multiple manufacturers with multiple models available for gameplay, and each one has its own unique driving characteristics. To recount all of the cars featured throughout the franchise could take up pages and pages, so, for the sake of brevity, these are some of the most interesting "GTA" cars you can actually own.

Faggio / Piaggo Vespa PX 150

Faggio scooter in Grand Theft Auto

This is not a car, so maybe that’s a bit of a cheat — but the Faggio has been with the game since "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" and is a blast to drive while you’re playing. The added bonus is that the real-world version is also a blast to drive and an absolute joy to own, though not terribly fast.

In the game as in real life, the best part of driving a scooter is that you can drive it at full speed any time you are on it. With engines that typically top out around 10 horsepower, full throttle is never going to get you in trouble. While driving in the game, this makes it easy to control and less likely to go spinning out and crashing into a wall. The same is true on the streets. Scooters are a ball no matter where you are riding one.

In the game, the Faggio is a stand-in for the Vespa PX 150 made by the company Piaggio, which is known for being a rugged and reliable machine. This scooter has been in production in one form or another since the ’70s, with the last one rolling out of the factory in 2016, according to Top Gear.

Infernus Classic / Lamborghini Diablo

Infernus Classic in Grand Theft Auto

The Infernus has been in the "GTA" world almost since the beginning and has seen its cars come in a few different forms. While the Infernus Classic of "Grand Theft Auto V" represents the legendary Lamborghini Diablo, the Infernus from "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" looks more like a warped version of the Acura NSX.

The Drive reported on the 30th anniversary of the Diablo, which was built from 1990 to 2001. In real life, it was never a great car, with a heavy clutch, heavy steering, and unreliable parts. Things improved after Audi took ownership of the Italian marque, but the Diablo remained a difficult car to live with. The high point of the Diablo is its looks: Its glorious, classic ’90s supercar lines beckon to nostalgia lovers the world over. That is what makes it a perfect car for "GTA." In the game, it matters little how good the clutch is, and reliability is perfect — it always starts. It looks cool and gives instant street cred, and that makes it one of the best cars in the game.

Dewbauchee JB 700 / Aston Martin DB5

Dewbauchee JB700 in Grand Theft Auto

Borrowing from real life to add a car to a video game is pretty cool, but borrowing from spy-thriller fiction borrowing from real life is even cooler. In this case, the real car in question is the Aston Martin DB5 modified by Q for James Bond in the fictional world of Cold War-era spy-thriller movies. The DB5 is legendary in its own right and lays claim to the title of being a proper gentleman’s sports car, perfect for the debonair 007 types looking to hit the street in style.

Some of the defining features of "Grand Theft Auto’s" version, the Dewbauchee JB 700, are fender-mounted machine guns and the ability to leave oil slicks as it drives, no doubt an homage to 007’s Aston. The real DB sports a straight-six while the video game version has a V12 with six carburetors, which would be a venerable engine in any classic motorcar. The nice part about creating a car for a video game is that you can engineer it with any option you want, physics be damned.

Coil Voltic / Tesla Roadster

Coil Voltic in Grand Theft Auto

Anything in the modern day that deals with cars and pop culture must include a reference to Tesla. This often involves mentioning the CEO, but that will have to be another article. In "Grand Theft Auto," a car that closely resembles an early 2000s Lotus Elise shows up as the Coil Voltic. This makes it a shoo-in for Tesla as the first electric car from the company rode on a chassis and body supplied by Lotus, an English sports car company. The names Coil and Voltic are also obvious references to elements of electrical components.

The first Tesla car, the Tesla Roadster, was very much a developmental vehicle used as a platform for launching a more ambitious venture into electric automobiles. Inside EVs notes the first Tesla cars were made with a lot of carbon fiber to keep weight low, but as battery technology advanced, carbon fiber use was reduced while achieving the same range and lower cost. The Roadster was groundbreaking and, while only 2,500 were produced, it paved the way for a legion of Teslas to roam the streets today. As novel as many of the features available with any Tesla, the Coil Voltic can be seen in the game with a rocket powering it. As Tesla is dedicated to electric motivation, that feature is not likely to be seen any time soon in real life.

Pfister Neon / Porsche Taycan

Pfister Neon in Grand Theft Auto

Porsche is a perennial favorite among car enthusiasts as it is known for cranking out some of the fastest and best driving cars in existence. Sticking to tradition, the company holds steadfast to its rear-engine layout on its flagship 911, which has been in production for more than half a century at this point. Not only do the specs lend plenty of credibility to these cars, but their looks are also striking and desirable. The newest entry into the Porsche roster is the all-electric Taycan, which, according to Car and Driver, "makes driving fun paramount."

With the Taycan, Porsche has not only introduced a good electric car, but it also brought style and panache with it. The cars are sleek and low and alluring. They make an excellent alternative to the Tesla or other EVs and fit well into the world of "Grand Theft Auto." The digital version of this car is the Pfister Neon. Legendary Motorsports, the fictional "GTA" auto dealer, says, "When the history of the electric car is written, it will begin with the Pfister Neon. Everything else — all the ridiculous eco-vans and hybrid fetishes — has been foreplay. Now Pfister have dropped their pants, and the battery-powered action can really begin" (via GTA Magazine). That may be a bit hyperbolic, but also maybe we should not expect much from a fictional car dealer, anyway.

Progen GP1 / McLaren F1

Progen GP1in Grand Theft Auto

No collection of desirable cars is complete without mentioning the McLaren F1 of the ’90s. Reigning as one of the world’s fastest road cars, it still commands respect from car and racing lovers everywhere. Spawned from the garage of the winning McLaren race team, the F1 was built to be as close as you can get to driving a race car on the road, and doing so in relative comfort. According to McLaren, no expense was spared in creating this ultimate machine, so much that they chose pure gold as heat shielding because it is the most reflective material available.

"Grand Theft Auto" presents us with the master of all supercars in the form of the Progen GP1. Looking at the Progen GP1 it is difficult to believe that Rockstar did not secure the rights to the likeness of the McLaren, as it looks remarkably similar. The side strakes are at a different angle and the rear fascia has a modified opening around the taillights, but the shape is unmistakable. The biggest difference between the two is the real car has a unique central driving position flanked by the passengers slightly behind while the digital version is a standard two-seater.

Albany Roosevelt / Cadillac Town Sedan

Albany Roosevelt in Grand Theft Auto

"Grand Theft Auto" has evolved to be a game with many purposes. Players have options to use it as a racing game, a first-person shooter, and a sandbox world in which they can create an alternative persona online. It makes a great place for some to build up car collections using in-game currency. As such, any self-respecting car collector would have to have some antique steel in their collection, and Rockstar has them covered with the Albany Roosevelt.

The Roosevelt’s credentials are hardly sporting as it is sluggish and handles like a bread box on wheels, per Sporstskeeda, but it has the classic Chicago gangster look. That appears to be its intention as it is modeled after Al Capone’s favorite car, the 1928 Cadillac Town Sedan. Neither car is fast and both of them are woefully under-equipped. However, they both look good, which is kind of the whole point. This car fits the bill for anyone playing the game who fancies themself some sort of Prohibition-era rum runner.

Truffade Z-Type / Bugatti Type 57 Atlantic

Truffade Z-Type in Grand Theft Auto

The title of this article mentions cars you can actually own. That may not be wholly accurate. The next car is an homage to the great Bugatti Type 57 Atlantic, which is a real car that you cannot own. You cannot own it because there are precious few in existence. The Drive says that only four of these were built, and when one does come up for sale, you better have a fortune in the bank before bidding. Still, an auction is not likely to happen soon as one of these rare cars is owned by Ralph Lauren and two are owned by the Mullin Automotive Museum of Oxnard, CA. The fourth car was lost during WWII and remains unaccounted for.

As an alternative to driving a car you are not likely to ever encounter, "Grand Theft Auto" offers the Truffade Z-Type. The "GTA" version does not hold completely true to the original but retains some of its distinctive flourishes, such as the weld line down the middle. The price of the car in the game is $10 million, which seems a bargain compared to the real thing, estimated to be worth north of $100 million. Fans of high-value classic Euro cars should aspire to have one of these in their online garage.

Tropos Rallye / Lancia Stratos

Tropos Rallye in Grand Theft Auto

If actual mechanical ability is a contributing factor to choosing a car for the online world of "Grand Theft Auto," the Tropos Rallye should be near the top of the list. Much of the driving done in the game is a mix of surfaces both on and off the road, with many challenges taking players through various terrain. Rally cars are well suited to this as they race on dirt and tarmac, and the Lancia Stratos, a king among rally cars, is the basis for the Tropos.

While the actual driving characteristics of the game can get a little wonky, it is still fun to imagine doing the wild driving that can have you traversing hillsides, running over all manner of obstacles, while coming out the other side relatively unscathed. Having a sublime rally car is not imperative, but it sure is fun. The real car was built to be light, nimble, and fast. With a power-to-weight ratio of 472 horsepower per tonne, according to Top Gear, it nearly has the capability of taking flight. The good news is in 2018, Italian company Manifattura Automobili Torino built a new version of the Stratos with modern updates, but in the spirit of the original. The bad news is they only made 25 of them, so expect them to be nearly unattainable.

Ocelot Ardent / Lotus Esprit

Ocelot Ardent in Grand Theft Auto

Sean Connery’s James Bond made the Aston Martin DB5 a most desirable car for legions of 007 fans throughout the ’60s and ’70s. But when Roger Moore took the helm, he turned on the next generation of adoring fans to the Lotus Esprit and made it an object of desire worthy of a new crop of wall posters. "Grand Theft Auto" may be turning on yet another generation to the car through its inclusion of the Ocelot Ardent, based on the Esprit.

The Lotus Esprit is an iconic ’80s car and instantly recognizable to car buffs everywhere. It gained notoriety from the films but is a good-looking and capable car in its own right. According to Motor Trend, Lotus produced the car for 28 years — an eternity in automotive life cycles — with minor upgrades and technological improvements along the way. It started selling in 1976 equipped with a four-cylinder engine and fiberglass body, and only weighed 2,200 pounds. With 140 horsepower, its lightness made it relatively quick but it still wouldn’t win many straight-line races. It ended production with a twin-turbo V8, which made the car properly fast.