For many of us, the thought of our very first car evokes a stream of fond memories. Even if our first wasn’t anything flashy — even if, by the standards of the vehicles that we got to drive later, it was, frankly, a piece of junk — that first car usually carries with it the memories of youth, nostalgia for a time when life was simpler and when you weren’t weighed down with as many cares.
One Japanese grandfather, having lived all the way to the ripe old age of 93, knows this feeling very well. After everything that he’s lived through, his first car is many decades behind him, and yet he holds on to his memories of it just as we all do.
But what’s especially incredible and absolutely heartwarming is that, thanks to his grandson and a legendary video game franchise, he was able to feel what it was like to drive that first car again.
A Drive Down Memory Lane
The Gran Turismo series is legendary in the video game world for its extraordinary level of realism. Each installment of the game has featured hundreds of different cars from an extraordinary range of manufacturers. When gamers pop in a Gran Turismo game, they can enjoy the experience of driving anything from an ordinary car in which a typical person might commute to work to a top-of-the-line race car that speed demons the world over have used to burn rubber.
But the most extraordinary thing about Gran Turismo is their consistently realist physics. When you plug a steering wheel control into a console that runs the game, you will actually feel what it’s like to drive that car. The way each car handles in the game — the way it accelerates, steers and brakes — closely mimics how the real-life counterpart does these things in the real world.
And so, when our 93-year-old grandfather’s grandson found out that dear ol’ grandad’s first car was Mazda Savana RX7, he scrolled through Gran Turismo’s extensive lineup, found that very same car and decided to let his grandfather sit behind the wheel and drive it around.
The joy on the man’s face has to be seen to be believed. He originally drove his old Mazda about 30 years ago, way back during the early 1990s. Before that, he worked as a Tokyo taxi driver in the 1960s, and in the 1970s and 1980s, he was a dump truck driver. With so much driving experience, the old man was able to handle himself extremely well in the game.
It’s amazing to see how strong the nonagenarian’s skills are in the driving simulator. But his pure happiness over getting to feel what it’s like to sit behind the wheel of his old car again is absolutely priceless.
You can watch videos of his simulated drive here.