Tag Archives: 1930s

Knucklehead

Lego 1936 Harley Davidson 'Knucklehead' Motorcycle

This TLCB staff writer is not allowed a motorcycle. Well he could have one, but then he would no longer have a wife or a mother that would talk to him. Best make do with this then, and that’s OK because it might just be the single most beautiful motorcycle he’s ever seen.

Lego 1936 Harley Davidson 'Knucklehead' Motorcycle

Built by TLCB favourite Henrik Jensen it’s a near-perfect replica of a 1936 Harley Davidson ‘Knucklehead’, and it’s beyond gorgeous. Such perfection comes at a slight cost though, as a few parts have been (look away now purists) spray painted and chromed…

Lego 1936 Harley Davidson 'Knucklehead' Motorcycle

Still, you can’t argue with the result, which is surely one of the finest Lego motorbikes on the ‘net. There’s much more to see, including a description of how the model was built, at both MOCpages and Flickr. Take a closer look via the links. Just don’t tell this writer’s Mum.

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Rock Blunts Scissors

Lego Indiana Jones Tank

And tanks apparently. There was a point in time where tanks and horses fought side-by-side (and against one another) on the battlefield. At first it was definitely better to be on the horse, but so quick was the pace of development that just a few short years later the tank – and the various other machinery designed for us to kill one another more efficiently – had all but eradicated the horse from use in war. Which is good news for horses.

However that didn’t stop Indiana Jones who, in ‘The Last Crusade’ (which sadly proved not be thanks to the dreadful 2008 return), used his hoofed companion to shove a rock down the barrel of a tank cannon.

In reality this would probably just mean you got killed by both a rock and a tank shell, but hey – this is the movies! This glorious recreation of the famous scene from 1989’s ‘Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade’ comes from Flickr’s Joshua Brooks aka JBIronworks who has recreated both the Nazi tank and the scene’s dynamism brilliantly in Lego form.

There’s more to see of mini-figure Indiana Jones’s rock-based sabotage on Flickr via the link above, and in case you want to see the real one doing just the same click here to watch the original scene on YouTube.

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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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Deutschland Duel

Lego Technic Großer Mercedes 770

Iiiin the red corner, representing West Germany, driven by Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Hermann Göring and Pope Pius XI, and powered through the 1930s by eight cylinders and a supercharger, it’s the Großer Mercedes 770!

Aaaand in the beige corner, representing East Germany, driven by peasants, and powered through the 1950s… and 60s… and 70s… and 80s… and 90s… by two cylinders and hope, it’s the Trabant Combi!

Two very different yet very German cars today, represented by two very different but very excellent Lego creations.

Above we have the Großer Mercedes 770, built by Aleh of Eurobricks in Technic form and absolutely packed with amazing technology. Aleh’s recreation of one of Mercedes-Benz’s most opulent vehicles includes Power Functions drive and steering, an inline-8 engine hooked up to a three-speed+R gearbox, working all-wheel mechanical brakes powered by a Medium motor, all-wheel suspension, LED lights, and SBrick bluetooth control.

At the other end of the automotive scale we have this wonderfully replicated Model Team style Trabant Combi, resplendent in an authentic hearing-aid beige and built by fellow TLCB debutant Dan Falussy. With opening doors, hood and hatchback plus folding seats, Dan’s homage to the world’s finest cotton car (yes really) is about as well equipped as the real thing, and very probably better built.

There’s more to see of each model on Eurobricks (as well as Flickr in the Trabant’s case) via the links above. Take a look and choose your winner!

Lego Trabant

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Midnight Rumble

Lego Art Deco Cruiser

There isn’t an Elf in sight here at The Lego Car Blog Towers. Our mythical workers are easily spooked, and to be fair to them, we don’t think we’ve ever seen a car that looks as evil as this one*. Built by previous bloggee Redfern1950s this ‘Art Deco Cruiser’ looks absolutely terrifying, with a V8 up front for running you down and a tommy-gun in the trunk for when it catches you. There’s more to see at Redfern’s photostream – take a look via the link above whilst we try to coax the Elves out of hiding. Or we might just enjoy the peace.

Lego Art Deco Cruiser

*Apart from this of course.

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Technic Snail

Lego Technic Citroen 2CV

The Citroen 2CV, affectionately (and unaffectionately) known as ‘ the tin snail’ owing to its looks and glacial speed, is one one of the world’s most important cars. Yes, you did read that right.

Designed in the 1930s, Citroen’s Car-for-the-People was intended for France’s numerous rural workers who were largely still dependent upon the horse for transportation. Reliable, fuel efficient, easy to maintain, and above all cheap, the 2CV was engineered to mobilise an entire population class. And then Hitler decided to be ‘a bit of a dick’.

The German invasion and the subsequent commandeering of French factories to build stuff for blowing up the British meant production for the innovative and much-needed 2CV never started. Fearful of the Nazi’s stealing the design, Citroen hid their 2CV prototypes across France in the hope they would remain undetected (some of which are still being unearthed today).

Lego Technic Citroen 2CV

The Allied victory in 1945 left behind a ruined France, but thankfully for Citroen an undetected cache of 2CV prototypes. Three years later, and a decade after the car was first engineered, the 2CV finally reached production.

As much as Europe’s poor workers needed cheap reliable transportation before World War 2, they really needed it afterwards, and the little Citroen was a huge success. Half the price of Germany’s ‘People’s Car’ – the Volkswagen Beetle, the 2CV sold almost 4 million units in a production run that spanned five decades and nine different countries.

When Citroen 2CV production finally ceased in 1990 the car had become a bit of a joke, but for much of its life the 2CV was the most important car in Europe, and is surely one of the greatest car designs ever created.

Lego Technic Citroen 2CV

This fitting tribute to one of France’s icons of motoring comes from previous bloggee and Technic building legend Nico71 who has recreated the simplicity of Citroen’s engineering beautifully. The 2CV’s legendary leading and trailing arm suspension (designed so a peasant could carry eggs unbroken across a ploughed field) has been faithfully reproduced in Lego form, plus there’s working steering and the doors, hood and trunk all open.

There’s lots more of Nico71’s brilliant Technic 2cv to see via Brickshelf, plus you watch a video of the model on YouTube by clicking here.

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Gas Flow

Lego Airflow Gas Tanker

Large, old, and full of a flammable liquid. Nope, it’s not your Mom, but this absolutely wonderful art deco gas tanker from Flickr’s Redfern1950s. Based on a real Dodge Airflow used by Texaco in the 1930s, Redfern’s beautiful model captures the spirit of the original brilliantly in Lego form.

Lego Dodge Airflow Petrol Tanker

With opening doors, hood, side hatches plus a variety of pumping paraphernalia there’s loads to see at Redfern’s photostream. Head over to Flickr via the link above for the full gallery of top-quality imagery.

Lego Dodge Airflow Petrol Tanker

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Unterseeboot | Picture Special

Lego U-Boat VIIc

Britain in the Second World War was under siege. V1 flying bombs dropped out of the skies, the Luftwaffe bombed cities relentlessly, and a deadly terror lurked unseen under the waves offshore…

Lego U-Boat Submarine

Germany’s U-Boat, shorthand for Unterseeboot (which literally meant ‘under sea boat’ – the allies were definitely better at naming things) was a stroke of genius. Able to destroy a military ship (plus a few civilian ones too…) almost undetected, it must have been a terrifying time to navigate the cold waters of Northern Europe.

Lego U-Boat VIIc

Awfully effective though the U-Boat was, it’s not often we see one in Lego form. Discovered by one of our Elves today, this superb mini-figure recreation of U-Boat VIIc comes from Luis Peña of Flickr. Beautifully constructed inside and out Luis’ model features a wonderfully detailed interior underneath the cleverly sculpted hull, including a submariner using a torpedo for weights training, the captain manning the periscope, and a fully stocked galley complete with rat (aka tomorrow’s dinner).

Lego U-Boat VIIc

It’s a stunning build and we highly recommend visiting Luis’ photostream to see the complete gallery of images. Get ready to dive via the link to Flickr in the text above.

Lego U-Boat VIIc

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Voodoo Psychosis

Lego Ford Model A Hot Rod Voodoo Psychosis

Pastel green is normally a colour reserved for beach huts and handbags, but gosh can it look good on a car! The car in question is a ’31 Ford Model A hot rod, inspired by a real vehicle built by custom-car legend Larry ‘Voodoo’ Grobe. Redfern1950s is the builder behind this brilliant Model Team version, and you can see more of both it and the real hot rod that inspired it by clicking here.

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Blue Comet

Lego Blue Comet Steam Train

Operating from the late 1920s until the early 1940s in New Jersey, the Blue Comet pulled carriages between New York and Atlantic City, taking just three hours to complete the journey (including a ferry crossing to Manhattan Island), and able to reach speeds of over 100mph. This magnificent recreation of one of America’s most beautiful locomotives comes from Flickr’s Cale Leiphart who has faithfully recreated not just the locomotive, but the tender and carriages too. An extensive gallery of superb images is available to view at Cale’s photostream – click the link above to buy your ticket.

Lego Blue Comet Locomotive

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Class A

Lego Ford Model A

This gloriously sinister scene comes from Pixel Junkie of Flickr, whose Ford Model A convertible and muted grey street gives us the shivers. Of course the driver could be on his way to pick up his girlfriend from work and take her for ice cream, but it’s more interesting to imagine something much darker…

Whatever is going on there’s more to see at Pixel’s photostream via the link above, where there are some lovely details to be found including the use of spears and daggers as metalwork plus a beautifully simple yet instantly recognisable postbox.

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B-Model

Lego Ford Model B Hot Rod

This lovely hot rodded ’32 Ford Model-B ‘3 window’ coupe appeared on Flickr over the weekend, built by previous bloggee Jonathan Elliott. Featuring some very cunning parts orientation there’s more to see at Jonathan’s photostream – click the link above to make the jump.

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Duesenberg SJ Dual Cowl Phaeton – Picture Special

Lego Duesenberg SJ Dual Cowl Phaeton

This astonishing creation comes from one of our very favourite builders, TLCB Master MOCer and published author Dennis Glaasker aka BricksonWheels. It’s a 1935 Duesenberg SJ Dual Cowl Phaeton, one of the most expensive and luxurious cars ever made.

Lego Duesenberg SJ Dual Cowl Phaeton

With a supercharged 6.8litre straight-eight engine producing 320bhp (a huge figure for 1935) the SJ Phaeton cost around thirty times that of a regular car, and today commands a price well into the millions. Driven by movie stars and the social elite, just 36 Duesenberg SJs were made before the Great Depression and the Second World War put an end to the production of super-luxurious vehicles.

Lego Duesenberg SJ Dual Cowl Phaeton

Dennis Glaasker’s incredible Lego recreation of the 1935 SJ Duel Cowl Phaeton is a near-prefect replica of the original car, and contains over 5,000 pieces, many of which have been professionally chromed, and 5,200 pieces in both open and closed roof configurations.

Lego 1935 Duesenberg SJ Dual Cowl Phaeton

A host of brilliant images are available to view via Dennis’ Duesenberg SJ Dual Cowl Phaeton Flickr album, plus you can read more about the build at the Eurobricks discussion forum and you can read our interview with builder as part of the Master MOCers Series by clicking here.

Lego 1935 Duesenberg SJ Dual Cowl Phaeton

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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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Jap Rod

Lego 1932 Ford Deuce Coupe Takehito Yamato

Japan’s product design may not have a reputation for originality, but the Japanese can take almost anything pioneered by another part of the world and make it better. See the Mazda MX-5 Miata, the Toyota Land Cruiser, the Nissan GT-R, and pretty much every electronic device ever invented.

We can probably add hot rods to that list now too, thanks to this gorgeous 1932 ‘Takehito Yamato’ Ford Deuce Coupe. This Lego recreation of the real-world car comes from Master MOCer and previous bloggee Andrea Lattanzio aka Norton74, and he’s replicated the original vehicle superbly in Lego form, even building a beautiful period-correct workshop in which to house it.

There’s more to see of the Takehito Yamato at Norton74’s photostream – click the link above to head over to somewhere inbetween America and Japan.

Lego 1932 Ford Deuce Coupe Takehito Yamato

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