Icons of the Car World

Online Loans

April 12, 2021

Pictures are worth a thousand words. Or at least the attention of anyone even remotely interested in the car world.

In this article, OnlineLoans takes a look at some of the best car icons from around the world. Even if you’re not really into cars, some may ring bells.


F1 TunnelInitial D AE86Karussell gtDB5Mount Panorama


The Monaco F1 Grand Prix Tunnel

F1 Tunnel

“The unique aerodynamic properties of the tunnel cause cars to lose 20 – 30% of their downforce…”

Circuit de Monaco, the famous Formula One street circuit through the city streets of Monte Carlo, is iconic in the car world. Monte Carlo is located in the south of France.

Featured in countless video games and media is the Monte Carlo famous tunnel. The tunnel runs under the Fairmont Monte Carlo Hotel.

The luxurious Fairmont Monte Carlo Hotel, one of the largest resorts in Europe, was, until 2004, known as the ‘Monte Carlo Grand Hotel’. During F1 races, the corner of the track that the tunnel occupies is still known as the Grand Hotel corner.

Fairmont Monte Carlo

(The luxurious Fairmont Monte Carlo. Source: fairmont.com)

Effect on racing.

Aside from being one of the best car racing scenes in the world, the tunnel actually makes the track more dangerous.

The unique aerodynamic properties of the tunnel cause cars to lose 20 – 30% of their downforce as well as sudden changes in light which affect visibility.

Furthermore, during a wet race, the tunnel’s surface remains dry. This can cause sudden changes in traction as in wet races, cars are fitted with tyres to suit.

The changes in light, issues with downforce and dry surface make the track one of the most challenging.

Sony PlayStation’s Gran Turismo

Gran Turismo

“In 2013, a street in Bathurst, NSW was named ‘Gran Turismo Drive’”

24 years, over 80 million units sold and hundreds of millions of fans worldwide, pretty much any gamer or car fan knows PlayStation’ Gran Turismo series.

For car aficionados and gamers alike,  it’s automotive heaven.

First released in 1997 on the PlayStation 1, Gran Turismo quickly became a mature gamer’s choice with its real-life driving simulator approach and sophisticated options and settings. GT helped push the 1990’s ‘video games are high-tech kids’ toys’ stigma into something sellable to older gamers.

This was especially true with the game’s idea of winning races for money (or in-game credits) in order to buy vehicle modifications and new cars. This felt more in tune to mature gamers rather than kids.

Many GT fans will remember the hours spent staring at the iconic Nissan GT-R circular taillights, a vehicle that has always featured heavily in the game.

Australian wow factor: In 2013, a street in Bathurst, NSW was named ‘Gran Turismo Drive’ after the video game featured the Mount Panorama Circuit.

Gran Turismo Screen

(A screenshot from the latest instalment of Gran Turismo on the PlayStation 5. Source: playstation.com)

Gran Turismo holds the following Guinness World Records:

  • “Largest Instruction Guide for a Racing Game”
  • “Largest Number of Cars in a Racing game”
  • “Highest Selling PlayStation Game”
  • “Oldest Car in a Racing Game”
The Initial D AE86

Initial D AE86

(The ‘hero car’ from the Initial D series, the Toyota AE86. Source: carthrottle.com)

One of the most recognisable cars from cartoons (or, more accurately, Japanese anime), the Initial D AE86.

“…expect to pay over A$50,000 for one in your driveway.”

Initial D, if you’re not familiar with the series, is a popular Japanese anime cartoon dubbed into English, among other languages. Running from 1995 to 2013, the story is based around Japanese street racing, especially drift racing.

The story follows the main character, Takumi Fujiwara, a student and, at first, an unknown drift racing prodigy.

The ‘hero car’ is the cult-classic 1986 Toyota Sprinter Trueno (AE86). Not the most powerful, fastest or even best car in the Toyota line in the 1980s, the AE86 has, nonetheless, gained worldwide acclaim. Due to the AE86’s tunability, handling and, as Initial D proved, drifting potential, expect to pay over A$50,000 for one in your driveway.

James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5


(The ‘most famous car in the world’, the Aston Martin DB5. Source: jamesbondlifestyle.com)

Most people instantly think ‘James Bond’ when seeing this famous car. The Aston Martin DB5 was produced from 1963 to 1965 and first appeared in the James Bond film Goldfinger in 1964.

The original DB5 featured an all-aluminium 4-litre, 6-cylinder engine producing 282 bhp – pretty good for the mid-1960s.

Weaponry included a bulletproof rear window, dual machine guns, a smokescreen, tyre shredders and, of course, an ejector seat.

The DB5 also featured in later James Bond films:

  • GoldenEye (1995)
  • Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
  • Casino Royale (2006)
  • Skyfall (2012)
  • Spectre (2015)

It’s well known that movie cars command huge prices. A similarly-spec’d ‘Connery Bond’ DB5 sold for A$9.4 million in 2019.

Mystery: In 1997, a ‘priceless’ movie-prop DB5 was stolen from an airport in Florida, still missing to this day.

The Nurburgring’s ‘Karussell’ Corner


(The Nurburgring’s ‘Karussell’ Corner. Source: motor-fanatics.com)

“In fact, insurance companies in Europe are increasingly writing exclusion clauses into policies that won’t cover accidents at the Nürburgring.”

The Nurburgring is one of Europe’s (and the world’s) most famous race tracks. Nestled in the Eifel mountains in Germany, the 20.8 km track has hosted countless motorsport events.

Equally as well known as the motorsports events is the public access to the track. Anyone with a road-legal vehicle can drive on and around the track unless a race is taking place or it’s closed due to weather.

Interestingly, entry requirements stipulate that ‘any form of racing, including speed record attempts, is forbidden’.

Taking a performance car (or any car) onto the track has become a ‘pilgrimage’ for car enthusiasts. In fact, insurance companies in Europe are increasingly writing exclusion clauses into policies that won’t cover accidents at the Nürburgring.


(The Nurburgring is famous for many reasons, one being the paint on the track added by fans)

The ‘Karussell’ is a famous hairpin corner within the circuit. The corner consists of a bumpy inner concrete surface banked at 20° and an outer asphalt surface banked at 10°. Its infamous difficulty has proven itself both in real life on the track and in many video games.

The fastest car around the Nürburgring was recorded by a Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series in November 2020. The time to beat; 6:43 minutes.

Mount Panorama, Bathurst

Mount Panorama

(Mount Panorama. Source: speedcafe.com)

Almost all Australians know the famous Mount Panorama Circuit and its Bathurst 1000 race held each October.

The street circuit consists of public roads when races aren’t being held with a strict 60 km/h speed limit. Despite the heavy police presence, car enthusiasts often make the trip to say they’ve done it.

The circuit has a long history and even held the 1938 Australian Grand Prix. One of the fastest lap times recorded around the track was in an Aussie hypercar, the Brabham BT62.

Godzilla: Did you know that Nissan’s famous ‘Godzilla’ GT-R got its moniker at the Mount Panorama Circuit?

In the early 1990s, the R32 GT-R decimated the competition in Australia by winning the Bathurst 1000 in 1991 and 1992. Media at the time quickly dubbed the GT-R, ‘Godzilla’.


(‘Godzilla’: A Nissan GT-R negotiates a turn in the Bathurst 1000 in the early 1990s. Source: practicalmotoring.com.au)

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