Tag Archives: 1920s

Insert Obscure Reference

Lego Vintage Car

This is the 1927 Csikós Bismuth Sport Coupe, and it’s one of the strangest automotive stories of the 1920s.

Founded by a Hungarian monk in 1919, Csikós started by producing gear assemblies. A chance meeting with Giovanni Agnelli – the founder of FIAT – on a skiing trip in Italy saw the two bond over a mutual hatred of Communism and love of starfish, and an agreement was made to exchange FIAT engine technology for Csikós gears.

The result was Csikós’s first car, based loosely on a FIAT 501. Moderate success at home and in Italy gave the company the confidence to design their own car from scratch and the Bismuth was launched a few years later. Powered by a supercharged inline-4 of 3.7 litres, the Bismuth had a top speed in excess of 70mph and found fame with the Federation il Automobile Racing de Turin (FART).

Such success was short-lived though, as the company’s founder was killed in a freak land-yacht accident just four years later. Without leadership vehicle production slowed until the factory was requisitioned by the Nazis during the Second World War.

Today the factory is gone, replaced by Hungary’s national aquarium where – in memory of Csikós – the starfish tank still bares their company name.

1927 Csikós Bismuth

Except we made all of that up.

Flickr’s Chris Elliott is the inventor of the 1927 Csikós Bismuth Sport Coupe, and now that we’ve completely butchered whatever backstory there may have been you can see more at Chris’s photostream by clicking the link above! We’ve had a lot of sugar today.

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Bee Gees

Lego GEE BEE Aircraft

Sorry, we mean Gee Bees. An important distinction that avoids you having to hear this. Founded in 1925, the Granville Brothers Aircraft company built just twenty-four aircraft until their bankruptcy eight years later, but they left one hell of mark. In the ground mostly, with a trail of fire behind it, but we’ll come on to that in a bit…

Designed primarily as sports cars for the sky, Granville Brothers’ aircraft excelled at air racing in the ’20s and ’30s, winning multiple trophy races and speed records. Known as ‘Gee Bees’ the outrageous designs looked like caricatures, with absurdly short fuselages, tiny control surfaces, and hot-rod-esque engines.

The superb Lego recreations of two of Granville Brothers’ designs pictured here come from Volker Brodkorb of Flickr, and whilst they may look like exaggerated cartoons, their real-life counterparts really did look like this. Well, until they inevitably crashed of course…

The Gee Bee Model Z Super Sportster (above) was constructed in just five weeks in 1931, with the smallest possible airframe built around the largest possible engine. The Model Z’s enormous Pratt & Witney supercharged ‘Wasp’ radial engine gave it well over 500bhp, powering it to victory in every race it entered, despite it being ‘tricky’ to fly. Later that year Granville Brothers re-engineered the Model Z with an even bigger 750bhp Wasp Senior engine in at attempt at the Landplane Speed Record, when tragically a wing failure sent the aircraft spinning into the ground in a ball of flame, killing air-racer Lowell Bayles.

The next year Granville Brothers Aircraft built a successor to the destroyed Model Z, the R-1 Super Sportster (below). With a 25ft wingspan but just 17ft long, the R-1 was if anything even more dangerous to fly than the Model Z. Nevertheless the R-1 took victory in the Thompson Trophy in 1932 and the Landplane Speed Record the same year, before its inevitable fatal crash in 1933. Granville Brothers Aircraft re-built the wreck whereupon it crashed almost immediately.

Of the twenty-four aircraft built by Granville Brothers almost every single one was destroyed in a crash, with almost a dozen fatalities. By the mid-’30s the effects of the Great Depression – and a reputation as killers – meant that orders for new Super Sportster aircraft dried up, and the Granville Brothers Aircraft company filed for bankruptcy in 1934.

A few replica Gee Bees have been constructed since, however the Granville family have only shared the original designs with museums under the promise that the recreated aircraft will never be flown. Which is probably a good thing. Even so, we’ll stick with these fantastic and non-lethal Lego replicas. There’s more to see of each, plus Volker’s other planes, by clicking here.

Lego GEE BEE Aircraft

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Fine Vintage

Lego Mercer 5 Sporting 1920

LEGO’s Speed Champions sets have brought some of the most exciting new and classic real-world cars to Lego fans in brick form. From modern McLarens to classic Mustangs, the range covers about 60 years of motoring greats. But what if it went back into the annuls of automotive history just a little further…

These three gorgeous Speed Champions style vintage cars come from Flickr’s Łukasz Libuszewski, who has done a wonderful job recreating their largely-forgeotten shapes in our favourite Danish plastic.

Lego 1928 Cadillac

The first (top, in red) is a 1920 Mercer 5 Sporting, built by the American motor car company that manufactured high performance cars from 1909 until the Great Depression put them out of business in 1925 some 5,000 units later.

The second (above, in green) is also a vintage American, but from a company that survived the depression era and is still making cars today. Founded in 1902 Cadillac are one of the oldest car companies in the world and have been owned by General Motors since 1909. The model pictured above dates from 1928 and Łukasz has used some ingenious building techniques to recreate the cycle-wings and carriage-type body typical of the time.

Lego Lancia Lambda 1922

The final of Łukasz’s three vintage builds (above, in brown) comes from the other side of the Atlantic and Italy, where Lancia have been producing cars since 1906. Lancia are now sadly a shadow of their previous greatness and today produce just one car (an ugly Fiat knock-off), making us fear that they’ll be gone altogether before long.

This 1922 Lambda was the polar opposite of their hateful modern offering, a revolutionary design that pioneered independent suspension, the world’s first unitary body, and that produced almost 70bhp from its four-cylinder engine.

The Lambda has been recreated beautifully by Łukasz in the model pictured above and there’s more to see of it the other excellent vintage Speed Champions cars shown here by visiting his photostream – click here to see some of the finest cars of 1920s.

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It’s a Gas!

Lego Gas Station 1920s Bugatti

Andrea Lattanzio (aka Norton74) is becoming a regular at The Lego Car Blog with his beautiful vintage motoring scenes. This wonderful Bugatti Type 35 has appeared here before, pictured being unearthed in an elderly farmer’s barn. This time Andrea takes us back to the when the car (and farmer) were a little younger, with this brilliant historic gas station scene. We’re not sure the Bugatti would be a new car, even in this era, as something much more recent seems to be poking out of the garage, but nevertheless we’re willing to bet that the Type 35 caused a bit of a stir at the Shell Service. There’s more to see of Andrea’s gorgeous build on Flickr – click here to step back in time, or here for today’s title song.

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75875 Rewound

Lego Hot Rod and Pick-Up 75875

LEGO’s 75875 Speed Champions set is a neat officially-licensed product, complete with a modern Ford F-150 pick-up and a retro Ford Coupe hot rod. Previous bloggee Jonathan Elliott is feeling even more retro though and he’s reworked the set backwards by around 40 years to create a 1970s F-150 and a 1925 Ford Model-T racer. Step back in time at the link above.

Lego Hot Rod and Pick-Up 75875

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Party Animals!

Lego Ford Model T Party Animals

Things are getting wild down on the farm! This menagerie of drunken farm animals doesn’t look dissimilar to the last party we had here at TLCB Towers. If you replace the Ford Model T with a wheelie chair. And the farm animals with a near-comatose TLCB staff writer. And the riotous abandon with remorseful crying. And ‘party’ with ‘drinking alone’.

Anyway, enough about this blogger’s Friday night, this wonderful scene comes from Paul (aka Brick Baron) of Flickr and it was built for this year’s BrickCon Lego convention. There’s more to see of his colourful party animals at his photostream – click the link above to make the jump!

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Barn Find Bugatti

Lego Barn Find Bugatti Type 35 Grand Prix

It’s every petrolhead’s dream to unearth an amazing classic car, unknown to the world for decades, hidden away in an unopened garage, workshop or barn.

It’s TLCB Master MOCer Andrea Lattanzio aka Norton74‘s dream too, so he’s decided to build his very own barn find, depicting the moment a farmer reveals the old Bugatti racing car that’s been sleeping untouched for half a century beside his hay.

This particular barn find would be sure to raise some global interest, with Bugatti Type 35 Grand Prix’s fetching around $1.5million at auction. Do you think he’ll sell it? Head over to Andrea’s photostream to ask the farmer really nicely.

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In the Bank

Lego Brooklands 1935

It’s time for some history here at TLCB, because we are – at heart – complete nerds.

The world’s first purpose-built racetrack (or what’s left of it) lies not far from TLCB Towers. The Brooklands race circuit opened in 1907, built partly for manufacturers of the newly emerging auto-industry to test their cars, and partly because driving really quickly is bloody good fun.

Measuring just under 3 miles long the Brooklands track was built from uncoated concrete banking, which in places reached 30ft high, and was simply unimaginably steep, far steeper than any modern banked circuit. With no safety barrier at the top and cars routinely getting airborne over the bumpy concrete the spectacle was incredible, and crowds topped a quarter of a million in the circuit’s hay-day.

The outbreak of the First World War saw Brooklands requisitioned by the War Office, as the site also included an aerodrome, becoming the UK’s largest aircraft manufacturing centre by 1918. The end of the war saw motor racing return the the track, alongside the continuation of aircraft manufacturing, but when Hitler decided that Germany hadn’t quite finished with Europe yet motor racing at the track ceased for good.

During the Second World War the Brooklands site became the hub of Hawker fighter and Wellington bomber manufacturing, amongst other aircraft, and the track’s survival as a piece of British heritage sadly, but necessarily, came second to the war effort. Trees were planted on the track to disguise it from German bombers, and whole sections ripped up to expand the runways.

By the end of the war the track was in a poor state, and the site was sold to Vickers-Armstrong to continue operations as an aircraft factory, at one time laying claim to being the largest aircraft hanger in the world. However as the UK’s aircraft manufacturing industry declined the Brooklands site was gradually sold off, becoming a business park, a supermarket, and the Mercedes-Benz World driving instruction track.

Today not much of the original circuit remains, but what does is managed by the Brooklands Museum, who are endeavouring to preserve possibly the most important motor racing, aeronautical and war-time manufacturing site in the world. A recent heritage grant aims to return both the aero-buildings and the famous Finishing Straight to their former glory, and a section of the incredible concrete banking is still standing. You can even take a car on it if you’re feeling brave.

If you’re in the UK and you get the chance to visit the Brooklands Museum we highly recommend it, but for our readers further afield you can get an idea of the insanity of the vintage racing that once took place there courtesy of this lovely scene recreating Brooklands circa-1935 by Flickr’s Redfern. There’s more to see of his 1930s Maserati, its racing counterpart, and his wonderfully recreated Brooklands banking his photostream. Click the link above to step back in time.

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Not Rod

Lego Ford Model A Tudor

Ford’s Model T is undoubtedly the most remarkable car in history. The world’s first mass-produced car, constructed using the world’s first production line*, built in at least 12 countries, and with production spanning eighteen years, the Model T was at one point more popular than all the other cars on sale worldwide put together.

With a 50% global market share, Henry Ford had a quite a daunting task to replace it, so – to use a phrase of the time (probably) – he dilly-dallied for ages, allowing competitors to catch-up and erode his company’s position.

Finally, at the end of 1927, the Model T’s replacement was ready. The new Model A was a huge jump over the old T, with twice the power, a 50% higher top speed, and – more importantly – conventional driver controls.

The Model A went on sale in December 1927, and just over a year later a million had been sold. 6 months after that the figure passed two million, and by the time production ceased in 1932 almost 5 million Model As had been produced across nine different body styles.

This version is one of the most common, the ‘Tudor’ sedan, recreated wonderfully in mini-figure scale by TLCB favourite _Tiler.

Unusually, _Tiler hasn’t hod-rodded his Model A, leaving it instead as Henry Ford intended. A staple of the hod rodding scene, due its popularity and readily available parts supply, the Model A probably exists in greater numbers today as a hot rod than it does in its production form.

However there’s something very cool about seeing an original un-modded A, and you can check out more of _Tyler’s, along with his collection of hot rods, via the link above.

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Blow Job

Lego Blower Bentley

LegoGallifrey‘s ‘blower’ Bentley is not a new build, but it is superb, and it’s been recently updated to include even more period realism, plus – and most importantly – it allows us to post a smutty title.

Built between 1927 and 1931, the Bentley 4½ litre was designed to take on the European performance cars of the time, and with a supercharger fitted (or ‘blower’ as it was known), power jumped by over 100bhp to 240, allowing Bentley to set several speed records, including a recorded 138mph at Brooklands.

Only 55 of the 720 Bentley 4½ litres built received a supercharger and they command truly astronomical prices today, so if you want one LegoGallifrey’s version is probably as close as you’ll get. Head over to Flickr via the link above to take a closer look.

Lego Bentley 4 1/2 Litre Blower

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A Single Shade of Grey

Lego Ford Hot Rod

We are never ever going to read the cancer on literature that is 50 Shades of Grey. However, we do quite like grey LEGO bricks, and over the years LEGO have probably released 50 shades of the stuff. This can make it tempting to use multiple shades in creations, however, unless you’re building a castle wall it can look a bit messy.

Not so here, where previous bloggee Jonathan Elliott has kept it simple with just a single shade, and his ’29 Ford Pick-Up hot rod looks wonderfully clean as a result. Photographed beautifully in his Red Room of Pain, Jon’s build features opening doors, a dropping tailgate, and a fully detailed engine and interior, and there’s more to see at his photostream via the link above.

Lego Ford Hot Rod

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Bulldog

Lego Lanz Bulldog

This weird agricultural oddity is a Lanz Bulldog tractor. 220,000 of these were built in Germany from the early 1920s up until 1960, making it one of the most popular European tractors of all time. Many Germans still use the word ‘bulldog’ as a generic name for tractors today.

The Bulldog’s popularity was down to its incredibly crude single cylinder hot bulb engine. Yup, just one cylinder, which came in a capacity of up to 10 litres, but which could run on just about anything – crucial in war-torn and then recovering (and then war-torn again) Europe.

This Town-style recreation of the vintage tractor comes from previous bloggee Peter Schmid on Flickr, and you can see more of his Lanz Bulldog build at his photostream by clicking here.

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Today’s Programme is Brought to You by the Letters ‘T’ and ‘U’

Lego Ford Model T

Some wise words from Sesame Street, which has been playing on the old TV in the Elves’ cage room to help them learn to spell. A human hand hidden inside some fuzzy felt with eyes stuck on top is clearly an effective learning aid, as following Elmo’s alphabetical directive the Elves have returned with two letter-based finds today!

Our ‘T’ creation (above) comes from Flickr’s Jonas Obermaier, a neat 1920s Ford Model T pick-up in mini-figure scale. Mini-figures who are up to no-good we think, as any 1920s vehicle near a ‘Keep Out’ sign usually spells trouble. Find out what they’re up to at the link above.

Today’s ‘U’ creation (below) was also found on Flickr, and comes from Joshua Brooks. It too is mini-figure scale, and it’s apparently a UT-60D U-Wing fighter from one of the many Star Wars battles in which some plucky pilots try to thwart a giant evil space station. It could therefore be from literally any Star Wars story as far as we know, so for a fuller back-story (and to check out what is a really lovely creation) click the link above or wait for it to appear on a blog that’s nerdier than this one.

Lego UT-60D U-Wing Star Wars

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Smooth Saturday

Lego FIAT Grand Prix Racer

Going smooth requires a fair bit more effort than staying au-natural, but it’s definitely worth it. These two old-timey vehicles from Pixel Junkie and RGB900 show how to do it. There’s more to see of Pixel’s vintage Fiat and RGB’s Morgan inspired 3-wheeler on Flickr – click the links above to get waxed.

Lego Morgan EV3

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Mr. T

Lego Ford Model T

Long before jibba-jabba was quit and fools were pitied, Mr. T was rather different. Here he is doffing his cap to a lady on the sidewalk while taking his splendid new automobile out for a drive. Flickr’s _Tyler is the builder of this neat Model T scene and there’s more to see here.

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