Gran Turismo Trophy

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1960 Plymouth XNR Ghia Roadster wins Gran Turismo Trophy at Pebble Beach 2011

At the 2011 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance yesterday, Kazunori Yamauchi awarded this year’s Gran Turismo Trophy to a head-turning 1960 Plymouth XNR Ghia Roadster concept car. Created by influential car designer Virgil Exner (hence the concept’s name), it was intended to preview the direction of Chrysler’s designs in the 1960’s. It had enough muscle to back up its dramatic, asymmetrical look, producing 250 horsepower from a Valiant 225 Slant Six (more details on the car are available here).

Abarth 1500 Bertone B.A.T. 1 Coupe Wins Gran Turismo Trophy at Pebble Beach 2010

For the third consecutive year, Kazunori Yamauchi has been invited to the prestigious Pebble Beach Concourse d’Elegance to present the Gran Turismo Trophy – an award “to support those who make efforts to preserve irreplaceable, precious automotive culture for future generations to come”. This year, it goes to the one and only 1952 Abarth 1500 Biposto Coupe in existence – an unusual, quirky, and significant car. From the official announcement:

Kazunori Yamauchi at Pebble Beach 2009

You might remember last year when Kazunori Yamauchi handed out the “Polyphony Digital Trophy” at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.  At the time, his selection of a Lamborghini raised eyebrows in our forums, and it did turn out to be a pleasant case of foreshadowing!  This year, the award goes to a 1965 Alfa Romeo TZ2 – the company’s “last purpose-built GT racer”, of which only 12 were produced.  Before you get too excited, though, we should mention that there is no indication this car will be included in any GT game. It would be great, however, to see Polyphony Digital Trophy recipients included, much like the annual winners of the SEMA Gran Turismo Award…

Polyphony Digital at Pebble Beach 2008

GT series creator Kazunori Yamauchi was on hand at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance last month to award the first “Polyphony Digital Trophy”.  As an honorary judge, Yamauchi was given the chance to recognize his favorite vehicle from the hundreds of elite and storied competitors at the event.  His final selection, a 1967 Lamborghini Miura P400 Bertone prototype, is certainly an exceptional automobile, but it got people talking in our forums.  Could his recognition of a Lamborghini be a sign of things to come?  It’s a fun theory, but don’t hold your breath.  Instead, consider this unprecedented event a landmark for Polyphony Digital, and one of the highest recognitions the Gran Turismo series could possibly ever receive.  Who could have dreamed the first new award in more than 7 years at Pebble Beach would be in the name of a video game developer?  This respect and recognition is a testament to the professional, mature style that Polyphony and Yamauchi have crafted into the GT series over the years.  Check out more details about the event after the jump…