Not a WRX

Subaru don’t just make the WRX. In fact they’ve made all sorts of weird things, from trains and planes, to wind turbines and generators.

From a vehicular perspective Subaru’s products vary widely too, some of which are rather further from the WRX than you might think.

This is one of them, the dinky Sambar micro-truck. A ‘kei’ car in Japan also badged as the Daihatsu Hijet and Toyota Pixis, the Sambar first launched in the ’60s, and today is on its tenth generation, powered by a 660cc engine and available in a variety of body-styles.

This is the pick-up variant, as built rather nicely by Joey Klusnick in Miniland style, replicating a Sambar owned by his local model shop. There’s more to see at Joey’s Flickr album, where his model is pictured alongside its real world counterpart.

Click the link above for a Subaru that’s not driven by an irritating bro with a blow-off valve.

High Five

It’s not just Chrysler from an earlier post this week that went mad for a bit. The French have a history of going berserk, automotively speaking, with even Renualt – who currently manufacture nothing but boring crossovers – having moments of insanity. This is their best.

The Renault 5 was an excellent city car. Front-wheel-drive, well packaged, safely slow. Not a rally car then. But Renault wanted to go rallying, and thus they took their aforementioned econo-box, removed the engine, turbocharged it, and then put it back in where the rear seats used to be. And let it power the rear wheels instead.

The result was the Renault 5 Turbo, a wild mid-engined super-hatch designed to go rallying, with just under 5,000 across two generations also produced for the road. Road cars made a healthy-for-the-time 160bhp, but in rally trim the R5 Turbo could make almost 400bhp (from just 1.4 litres!), and won the Monte Carlo Rally at the first attempt in 1981.

The spectacular Technic model pictured here is a recreation of the road going R5 Turbo, as built by TLCB Master MOCer Lachlan Cameron (aka Lox Lego). Featuring remote control drive and steering, LED lights, working suspension, opening doors, front trunk and tailgate, and – of course – a mid-mounted engine, Lachlan’s creation captures Renault’s moment of madness brilliantly, and there’s a whole lot more of it to see at his ‘Renault Turbo R5’ album on Flickr.

Click the second link above to make the jump to all the images, and the first to read how Lachlan creates his amazing models like this one.

Kongs in a Cart

This is not a car. But it is Donkey Kong (and Diddy Kong) riding in a motorised mine cart, which means it’s absolutely getting blogged.

Built by Peter Zieske, Donkey and Diddy’s cart is based atop a LEGO train motor, meaning an entire mine track could be constructed for it to traverse…

Whilst we dream of that you can check out more of Donkey Kong’s cart at Peter’s ‘Donkey & Diddy Kong album’ via the link above!

Prowler

In the late ’90s to mid 00’s, American car manufacturers went nuts. There was the Chrysler PT Cruiser, the Pontiac Aztek, the Chevrolet SSR, and this, the Plymouth Prowler.

Inspired by hot rods of the ’40s and ’50s, the Chrysler Corporation hoped the Prowler would reinvigorate the dying Plymouth brand, and the wild two-seat rear-wheel-drive sports car certainly made headlines upon its reveal in 1997.

Sadly though, like everything else coming from the Chrysler Corporation in the late ’90s, it was also complete crap.

A 3.5 litre V6 from Chrysler minivans – making just over 200bhp – mated to a four speed automatic gearbox (four!) did not an invigorating drive make, whilst interior and build quality was, well… typical ’90s Chrysler

Less than 12,000 Prowlers were sold before its demise, along with the entire Plymouth brand, in 2002, whilst Chrysler itself filed for bankruptcy just seven years later.

But here at TLCB we still applaud the Prowler, as we much prefer interesting cars to good ones (which is probably why we’re writing about cars and not managing a car company…). However it probably would’ve been better for everyone if the Prowler had been built by anyone other than late-’90s Chrysler.

Oh yeh, the model! This superb Speed Champions scale Plymouth Prowler captures the outlandish design brilliantly – no mean feat at this scale – and there’s more to see courtesy of Thomas Gion of Flickr. Click the link to take a look!

Grab Some Wood

This giant claw with a vehicle attached to it is a Volvo L180HL, a front-loader-based machine designed for moving logs. Lots of them.

This brilliant Technic recreation of the log-grabbing Volvo is the work of Akassin of Eurobricks, who built it for a recent Technic competition in which it took the silver medal.

A wealth of mechanical and pneumatic functions accurately replicate the real machine, with articulated steering, an enormous (and rather clever) two-piece boom powered by compressed air, plus a mechanical claw that’s able to grab bundles of ‘logs’.

It’s a hugely impressive creation with much more to see at the Eurobricks forum, and via the excellent video below. Grab some wood via the links.

YouTube Video

Home is Where You Park(ed) It

Some vehicles are more than the sum of their parts. They’ve transcended their original purpose to become, and stand for, something more. The Volkswagen Camper, the Toyota Prius, and the DeLorean DMC-12 to name a few, but each of those is still, at the end of the day, just a car. A car wrapped up in a million connotations, but a car nonetheless.

Occasionally though, a vehicle transcends its original purpose by actually, well… transcending it. These are rarely the cool cars. They’re the forgotten ones. The vehicles whose job as a vehicle has long been superseded in order to meet the more immediate needs of the owner.

Cue TLCB debutant pan noda, and their simply wonderful ‘RV House’, depicting a dead camper, extended, adapted and remodelled, to become a far better abode than when it was still rolling.

Gorgeous detailing and presentation abounds and you can click the link above to take a closer look. It’s not #vanlife. It’s something a whole lot more.

Barracuda Redux

The 6285 Black Seas Barracuda is probably one of the greatest LEGO sets ever released. Launched back in 1989 with just under a thousand pieces, 6285 is a high watermark for LEGO’s Pirates range that the company is yet to better. But that hasn’t stopped SuperSick.

Loosely based on the original set, SuperSick’s Black Seas Barracuda Redux adds a host of smooth techniques and piece upgrades, plus an additional twelve cannons, to create very possibly our favourite pirate ship ever. In fact, apart from the flags flying in the wrong direction (sailing basics SuperSick!), it could be the perfect ship.

Join the piratical adventure at the Eurobricks forum via the link above.

Cartoon Traction Avant

This wonderfully cartoonish Citroen Traction Avant was discovered by one of our Elves on Flickr today. Constructed by KMbricklab, a wealth of clever techniques have been deployed to accentuate the classic Citroen’s features, and there’s a whole lot more of the model to see on Flickr. Click the link above to forward yourself there.

Speed Champions 76911 007 Aston Martin DB5 and 76912 Fast & Furious Dodge Charger R/T | Set Previews

Dun dunu dun dun, dun dun – dun dunu dun dun, dun dun… and, er… whatever the music is from the Fast & Furious franchise. An explosion with Vin Diesel breathing the word ‘Family’ over it probably. Anyway, it’s new set time, and LEGO have introduced two iconic movie cars to the Speed Champions line-up!

76911 007 Aston Martin DB5

Think the Creator 10262 Aston Martin DB5 ‘Goldfinger’ set is a bit pricey? Well LEGO have revealed its smaller brother, the new 76911 Speed Champions 007 Aston Martin DB5, complete with a Daniel Craig-esque mini-figure!

Ultimately the same car as the one used in ‘Goldfinger’, Craig redeploys the DB5 in 2012’s excellent ‘Skyfall’, which raises all sorts of questions about Bond’s chronology. Anyway, let’s not dwell on Bond’s unfathomable age, but rather rejoice in the new Speed Champions arrival, which looks rather good.

A considerable portion of 76911’s realism is due to a myriad of stickers, which – placed as they are on curved pieces – will probably peel off immediately, but nevertheless it looks nice on the box. It’s disappointing to see the trademark Aston Martin grille is a sticker though – surely a brick-built version would’ve been possible?

We’re also a little disappointed that there are no gadgets, making 76911 more of a standard Aston Martin DB5 than 007’s Q-Branch version, but that’s still cool enough, and the decent printed rear canopy piece will be sure to crop up on all sorts of MOCs in time.

The new Speed Champions 76911 007 Aston Martin DB5 will reach stores later this year, and is a welcome addition to the line-up, even if it has got more stickers than Bond has killed henchmen.


 

76912 Fast & Furious 1970 Dodge Charger R/T

From one infamous movie franchise to another, and also another movie car that has already appeared in LEGO form in a larger scale. We quite like the Technic 42111 Dom’s Dodge Charger set, but it is admittedly a bit out of reach for many ‘Fast & Furious’ fans, who are likely a bit young for its 10+ target age and price point.

A ‘Fast & Furious’ Speed Champions set is probably a far better match, and 76912 looks a fine way to bring the franchise to LEGO fans. LEGO have captured the modified 1970 Dodge Charger R/T rather well (and without relying on stickers), plus never has a hairless-mini-figure looked more appropriate than it does here.

The new 76912 Fast & Furious 1970 Dodge Charger R/T looks like a good effort to us, and with LEGO also now having a partnership with Toyota, perhaps – if all wish for it hard enough – that Supra could be next…

El Campino

Aaaand at the other end of the Chevrolet cool scale we have this; a dilapidated El Camino camper, cobbled together from assorted junk, inhabited by someone you’d expect to see throwing dice in an alley, and parked in a swamp. It’s TLCB of cars.

Which means we feel right at home posting ‘Florida Man’s El Camino & Cab-Over Camper’ by previous bloggee IBrickedItUp, and you can join us huntin’ ‘gators in the swamp via the link above.

Low Level Coolness

TLCB Staff are absolutely, tragically, deeply uncool. We work for free in a building with less structural integrity than the Lego creations we feature, our workforce is formed of mythical creatures that could well be figments of our imagination, and for all he knows this Writer is typing these words from a secure psychiatric facility onto a Casio PT-80.

But if we were cool, and we really aren’t, this is what we’d drive.

Tony Bovkoon‘s magnificent ’64 Chevrolet Impala Lowrider might just be the coolest vehicle we’ve ever seen, and not only does it look spectacular, it really, er… lowrides, with four L Motors driving linear actuators that control the suspension movements, allowing the Impala to twist and bounce just like the real thing.

A further two L Motors and a Servo deliver remote control drive and steering when for when the Impala isn’t lowriding, but that’s like wearing a baseball cap the right way round. Or some other cool-based reference. Like we said, we really aren’t cool.

But Tony’s ’64 Chevrolet Impala is, and you can check it out on Flickr, plus you can watch it in action here. Take a look via the link above if you’re cooler than we are.

Insert Safety Car Here

Mercedes-AMG’s seven-year dominance of the Formula 1 World Championship finally ended in 2021. Well, sort of… they still won the Constructor’s Championship, making it eight-in-a-row, but Lewis Hamilton did not win an eighth Driver’s Championship, and as such may now never move ahead of the record he shares with Schumacher.

Of course we also say ‘sort of’ thanks the controversial way in which Hamilton lost the Driver’s Championship on the final laps of the final race to Max Verstappen.

Thanks to crash-a-holic Lattifi (who – if he wasn’t paying to drive the car – surely wouldn’t be in Formula 1), and an improbable safety car decision that eventually cost race director Michael Masi his job, Verstappen was able to pass Hamilton on the final lap, giving us the first new World Champion in four seasons, and ending years of ‘#blessed’ instagram posts from the bejewelled multiple-champion.

Cue much arm waving and shouting from Mercedes-AMG (unusual, seeing as Christian Horner of Red Bull had done it all season for various imagined grievances), an investigation, but the race result standing. Which, by the way, we’re all for.

Yes the rules hadn’t been followed, but we’re of the opinion that even if there’s just one corner of the race remaining, it is a race, and therefore it should be, well… raced. Plus it made for amazing TV.

Anyway, Verstappen took the Championship, Hamilton felt what it’s like to lose (although he’s more than familiar with that this season), and fans got a finale to talk about for years to come.

This is the car that took Verstappen to his first Formula 1 Driver’s World Championship, the Honda-powered Red Bull RB16B, as created in spectacular detail by previous bloggee Noah_L of Flickr, and joining his already-impressive roster of brick-built modern Formula 1 cars.

The incredible realism is enhanced by some frankly jaw-dropping decals, created for Noah by a fellow builder, and there’s more to see of his astonishing (and beautifully presented) creation at his ‘Red Bull RB16B’ album on Flickr, where a link to building instructions can also be found.

Click the link above to deploy the safety car…

*It’s the Azerbaijan Grand Prix today. If you’re a Hamilton / Mercedes-AMG fan, this link from the 2018 race may raise a snicker.

To the Joust!

Decidedly not a car, but thoroughly charming nonetheless, is Clemens Schneider‘s wonderfully whimsical horse and cart, entitled ‘On the way to Summer Joust’. A brick-built horse and knights add to the magic (although we’d definitely rather be the one in the cart), and you join them on their medieval journey at Clemen’s photostream. Head to the joust via the link above!

Crazy Cat

This magnificently obscure vehicle is a 1910s Holt 75hp Caterpillar, a part-track tractor produced by the company that would later become the world-renowned Caterpillar brand. Powered by a 23 litre 4-cylinder gasoline engine, and weighing 10 tons, the Holt Caterpillar was quite fantastically slow, but was reliable and could haul almost anything almost anywhere.

With war raging in Europe and limited photos of the newfangled British ‘tanks’ operating in the mire, Holt even converted one of their 75hp Caterpillars into a ‘tank’ as a PR exercise to parade to U.S citizens with the phrase ‘America First’ painted on it, dubiously attempting to take credit for something they had nothing to do with. Make your own Trump link…

This charming replica of the Holt 75hp Caterpillar (in conventional tractor form) comes from previous bloggee Nikolaus Löwe (aka Mr_Kleinstein), and includes BuWizz controlled drive and steering, as well as accurately reflecting the bizarre exterior of the original.

There’s more to see of Nikolaus’ Holt 75hp tractor at his photostream via the link in the text above, and if you think this is weird here’s a bonus link to the ‘tank’ version, which might just be the oddest thing you see today….

Tan Parade

In recent years most military vehicles – such as these these American ‘Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected’ (MRAP) light tactical vehicles – seem to be painted tan, what with all the oil being in the desert. Er, we mean the ‘complicated political nature of the Middle East’, or something.

Of course a certain minimally-endowed despot has changed the landscape somewhat, bringing war back to the greeny-brown lands of Europe, and we suspect many national militaries will be re-painting a proportion of their equipment accordingly, even if they have no intention of joining in.

However the ’90s-2010s will be remembered, in a military context at least, for desert-based conflicts, and the tan-coloured vehicles that operated in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other sandy locales.

Cue Robson M (aka BrickDesigners), and these excellent Middle-East spec MRAPs, armoured trucks, and personnel carriers. Each captures its real-world equivalent brilliantly, helped by custom decals and weaponry, and there’s more to see of all of Robson’s desert warfare vehicles on Flickr via the link.