Lego Technic 8860 Review

Welcome to the second in our series of Lego’s big car sets reviews. The year is 1980, and the sophistication of suspension arrives at Lego Towers. Not very brilliant suspension, but we’ll come to that..

First, the build. Still fairly straightforward, and the flaws of it’s 853 predecessor are skilfully dealt with – it’s nice and stiff, the steering works well (provided you’ve put the axle bushes on the right way round…), there was now a differential and it’s definitely sportier than before. Again, the engine is the only fiddly part, but if you set this up right it will run smoothly in all three gears (very fast in the lowest gear, which was intended purely for use with the motor and gets blanked off in the instructions. Leave it open and savour the noise!).

This is a truly satisfying model. The colours look right, there’s enough technical stuff going on and it’s playable. It seems like Lego’s designers made a concerted effort to include all the features they could manage with the pieces then available. Briefly, these include the sliding / reclining seats, the rear-mounted flat four engine with some lovely detailing, a three speed transmission, steering and swing axle rear suspension. This was Lego’s first attempt at a car’s suspension and, like the VW Beetle it resembles, it didn’t work brilliantly – forcing massive camber changes as the springs were compressed. Still, it was a start and better than nothing.

It’s an easy model to modify, too. Adding front suspension with the newer steering links and ball joints is pretty straightforward and, with a little rearrangement of the rear reinforcement there’s space for a pair of ‘+2’ rear seats. You now have something that’s exactly the right size and mechanical layout to build a Porsche 356 body on…  this is the sort of thing you can mess about with for hours!

Oddly, the second model – some kind of weirdly scaled dragster – isn’t that good, but it’s easy to build something nice with this very complete selection of parts.

As with 853, the box is nice and solid and beautifully illustrated – although it would have been good to have as many ideas on it as 853’s had. It doesn’t need to be quite so big, either,  but I’m nit-picking now….

Overall, this superb set deserves a 10/10 – it might not be flawless but, for the time, it’s deeply impressive and still stands up today as a good-looking, effective model. Get one and you’ll see why it was good enough to sit at the top of the Technic tree for eight years.

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  1. totomtommy says:

    Great review, i’d love to have this set! Probably hve all the pieces to make it apart from the wheels.

  2. Madman Lt. Sorrows says:

    Excellent review. This is one of my favourite sets, I have built it 100s of times and will probably build it 100 times more.

  3. Ira Flank says:

    Only wanna state that this is invaluable , Thanks for taking your time to write this.

  4. lego911 says:

    Very good review – and all true. In the car engineering group that I work, more than half of us of the riight age had this Lego set. It is one of the chief reasons we went on to be automotive engineers.

    I haven’t seen any of the conversions you mention, but they sound like they would be straightforward. All you need is the new pistons arranged in a flat-six, and you have a Porsche 911.

  5. Aleks says:

    Wow. I remembered playing this 30 years ago and then I found your great description. Thanks!

  6. mawglobal says:

    I just retrieved all my Lego stored in my parents’ loft now that we have children of an age they can play with the basic blocks… so after the house chores were done, naturally I had to stay up late to build my old fave, the Car Chassis! Spot on description you have here, and even though times have changed this is essentially what Technic Lego is all about…

  7. […] transmission (sort of..), a winch and a tipping truck bed this is at least as playable as, say, set 8860, the car chassis from […]

  8. […] axles in the final step. If you are ever in need of a mental challenge, go and build one of the big Technic sets from the early 1980s and you’ll be thankful for Lego’s modern day approach to […]

  9. Toton Suhartanto says:

    i hope someday Lego will reproduce this set.. so i can have one. maybe as a limited edition collector items..

    • twohorse602 says:

      Nice as that would be, Lego tend to prefer looking forward and rightly so. There’s always ebay and Bricklink.

  10. […] set review of LEGO’s 1980 Technic 8860 Car Chassis is one of the site’s most popular pages of all time. And for good reason. 8860 is the […]

  11. nilsobrix says:

    As I already had the 853 chassis, the 8860 set came out too soon too spend so much money on Lego Technic, again. But now, as an AFOL, who already has got an 8880 set and a Unimog, 8860 ist definitely the next one on my list ;-).

    But I’m a little confused about the suspension struts. On the photos of the box you can see “built” suspension struts with axles, pins, connectors and single springs, but on set photos you can see the same assembled suspension struts as used for the 8845 Dune Buggy.

    Do both versions of the set exist or did they take the photos on the box using a prototype and the suspension was changed before the delivery of the first sets?

    • twohorse602 says:

      Hi Nils. The photos on the box are of a prototype, and all examples sold had the one-piece spring assemblies as per 8845. Don’t know why they never changed the pics over the eight years this was produced, but either way, you have to get it. It’s ace.

  12. […] There you have it, the 2017 Technic line-up is now complete, plus rumour has it that combining these sets allows you to build a modern take on the very first LEGO Technic supercar set too. […]

  13. […] the news that LEGO have designed a new version of their classic 8860 Car Chassis (available via the purchase of three of this year’s new Technic sets), it’s got us […]

  14. […] It all kicked off with a simple car chassis, a ‘New Technical Set’, 853. The single most viewed page here at TLCB, 853 introduced rack and pinion steering, a working piston engine and an operable transmission to LEGO fans. Its success allowed LEGO to develop the theme and three years later the second generation car chassis was released, this time with LEGO’s first attempt at working suspension, 8860. […]

  15. rgos says:

    Almost perfect: steering wheel was not in the middle of the seat.

  16. […] the Technic Car Chassis set back in 1980, LEGO have brought increasingly realistic ‘supercar’ sets to market, from […]

  17. […] pistons, making the Fatboy the first LEGO set to use a non-specialised brick-built engine since the Technic sets of the 1980s. The model’s authenticity is completed with accurate ‘wicked red’ colouring as […]

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