NFS was around way before test drive.
The street racing games were coined when "the fast and the furious" was all the rage. EA struck gold and the rest is history.
Test Drive (1987)
Test Drive was a car game released in 1987 by Accolade. It is the original that created the sub-genre of racing hot cars while outrunning the police, a concept successfully copied by newer franchises such as Need for Speed. In fact, Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit pays homage to Test Drive: one of the tracks, titled Rocky Pass, consists of roads along the side of a mountain. Test Drive was released in 1987 for DOS, the Atari ST and Commodore 64. The game was the first real racing game for DOS. In 1988 it was released for the Apple II and Amiga.
In this first version of the game, the player is given the choice of a variety of different sports cars such as Ferrari Testarossa, Lotus Turbo Esprit, Porsche 911 Turbo, Lamborghini Countach and C4 Chevrolet Corvette. The player then must race up a narrow mountain highway, avoiding the oncoming traffic, police and the guardrail-free cliff. If the player successfully makes it to the top within the time limit, they are given the (virtual) car for free to keep. The game's graphics were considered as impressive by contemporary standards, with the Atari ST and Amiga versions particularly standing out.
The game sold more than 500,000 copies for the PC