A Gran Turismo Pebble Beach Winner has a Surprising Role in the Fallout TV Series

Eagle-eyed racing game fans may have spotted an unusual vehicle popping up in the background of Amazon Prime’s Fallout TV series, with a very firm connection to the Gran Turismo series.

Plymouth’s XNR is a concept car, created for and displayed at the 1960 New York Motor Show, and with a rather unusual history to match its unique looks.

Designed by Virgil Exner (and yes, if you take the vowels out of his name…) for Chrysler, it was part of a range of concept cars built by Carrozzeria Ghia that were intended to reinvent the brand’s image. Like the others, the XNR never made it to production and was shipped back to Ghia.

From there the car’s story is absolutely wild. It ended up being sold to a Swiss collector, then entered the possession of the Shah of Iran, and somehow made its way to Lebanon. There it was discovered, during a civil war, by a local car collector — Karim Edde — who kept it safe until he was able to send it for restoration in Canada in 2008.

In 2011 it was shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and caught the eye of Kazunori Yamauchi to become the fourth winner of the annual Gran Turismo Award. As a result it became part of the Gran Turismo series, and was included in Gran Turismo 6 — as well as subsequent titles. Edde sold the car at auction in 2012, with the hammer falling to a $935,000 bid from collectors Linda and Paul Gould of Pawling, New York.

It came as a surprise then to see the XNR turning up in the very first episode of the Fallout show, and perhaps even more surprising that it was just a background prop in a scene set in Los Angeles.

We only get a couple of glimpses of the car in the scene that depicts a pivotal moment from Fallout lore, in the nuclear exchange of October 2077 that predates most of the events of the games. Main character Cooper Howard (Walton Goggins) gallops past the car on horseback with daughter Janey (Teagan Meredith) in what we assume is an only partially successful attempt to escape the blasts leveling the city.

However, there’s a good chance that the vehicle is a replica rather than the original. Gotham Garage, of Netflix’s Car Masters: Rust to Riches, reportedly completed two examples of Plymouth XNR copies, with one currently at the Petersen Automotive Museum of Los Angeles.

While the car is a pretty solid match for the “raygun gothic” aesthetic of the Fallout series, it’s actually something of an anachronism here.

That’s because the Fallout games don’t actually feature any real vehicles at all. The series is set in an alternate timeline that diverges from our own after the end of World War 2, in which nuclear energy dominates technological development — including that of cars. Only one named car brand exists in the universe: Chryslus, along with its Corvega sub-brand.

Instead the Fallout show exclusively features real vehicles, from the excellent Kaiser Darrin driven by Howard to the Plymouth XNR above. Even the post-war Wasteland scrap cars are old Chevrolet, Dodge, and Plymouth cars — particularly at the Pine Barrens graveyard — although there is a nod to the Fusion Flea, in the shape of the Messerschmitt bubble car of Bud Askins (Michael Esper).

It’s a surprising choice from the producers considering how much effort has gone into making the Fallout show resemble the games — from Power Armor to Pip-Boys, Mr. Handy (voiced by Matt Berry) and all. Hopefully they’ll find a way to cram the Cherry Bomb into the already confirmed season two…

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