Tag Archives: 1960s

Spray Tan

Orange lines are usually not a good look. They are today though, thanks to Tim Henderson and this lovely ’63 Ford Econoline van. Tim’s model is based upon the customised Econoline owned by his friend Rose who runs Custom Vanner Magazine, and there’s more to see of Tim (and Rose)’s tan lines on Flickr via the link above.

Ghostly Antelope

“Hello, who are travelling with today?” “My brother.” “Did you pack the car yourself?” “Yes sir.” “Carrying anything back there? Live animals, fruit, explosives, weapons?” “Er…”.

This is a 1967 Chevrolet Impala, from back when large American cars were really cool. It was also the vehicle chosen as the star car for the TV show ‘Supernatural’, in which it’s used to hunt down various other-worldly monsters that are running amok.

This means a trunk full of paranormal paraphernalia, which previous bloggee Tony Bovkoon has duly recreated in Lego form to complete this superb Model Team replica of the Supernatural Impala.

There’s lots more of Tony’s creation to see (including the occult contents of the Chevy’s trunk) at his ‘Impala ’67 Supernatural’ album on Flickr – Click the link above to have an interesting conversation with the border guard…

Volkswagen Pride

It’s Pride Month, which used to be Pride Week and before that Pride Day, but – like that girl in the office who drags her birthday out over three separate weekends – it seems to have become wildly and unnecessarily long. Because really there shouldn’t be the need for Pride anything at all.

However, the fact that when the Volkswagen Type 2 Transporter was launched the government of TLCB’s home nation determined which sexualities were acceptable and which were not, and in many other countries the government still decides which sexualities are acceptable and which are not, probably explains the continuing need for Pride and the fight for equal rights.

Cue 1saac W.‘s excellent Volkswagen T2, pictured here in both monochrome, and a rather more rainbowy paint scheme in support of Pride Day/Week/Month. Click the link above to see more, whether you’re monochrome, rainbow, or anything in between.

What’s Brown and Smelly?

It’s time for another delve into the automotive curiosity cupboard that is the Eastern Bloc, a Communist alliance renowned for the oppression of millions, waiting lists that stretched into decades, and cars that were almost comically bad. This is one of them, the Wartburg 353.

As with many Communist creations though, the Wartburg was not a bad car when it launched in the late 1960s. A weird one perhaps, but not bad objectively speaking.

The 353 started production from a pinched BMW factory in 1966, and was powered by a 1 litre, 3-cylinder, 2-stroke engine that had its roots in a 1938 DKW. This made it as torquey as the larger engines in the west, and meant it had only seven major moving parts, but also made the car incredibly unrefined and polluting, leaving a cloud of burnt oil behind it whenever it went.

A unique freewheel system meant the 353 required no clutch to change gear, and the car was also front-wheel-drive, still fairly novel at the time, although the set-up imbued it with terrifying understeer characterises in the wet.

Despite the niggles, the Wartburg 353’s low price, reliability, and the fact it wasn’t a Trabant, led to success, and meant that – due to the ‘planned economy’ of East Germany – the waiting list stretched out to fifteen years for private citizens.

The 353 was also exported to several countries as the Wartburg ‘Knight’, presumably to bring in foreign currency (which must have been frustrating for those on the waiting list), as well as being used by the police and East German government.

Of course as time passed the 353 became increasingly outdated, and little was done to keep pace with Western products that were out of reach for those trapped behind the Iron Curtain. The government even repeatedly refused to upgrade the polluting 2-stroke engine, despite Wartburg’s engineers having developed working alternatives.

By the late-’80s the writing was on the wall, both for East Germany and Wartburg. The eventual addition of a modern 1.3 litre engine from the Volkswagen Polo in 1984 came too late, and the reunification of Germany finally killed the 353 – alongside many other long-obsolete East German offerings – in 1988.

This splendid Model Team recreation of the Wartburg 353 ‘Tourist’ is the work of previous bloggee Legostalgie, who has captured the East German family car beautifully in period-correct brown.

Opening doors, hood and tailgate, plus a detailed engine and interior all feature, and there’s lots more of the model to see at Legostalgie’s ‘Wartburg 353 Tourist’ Flickr album. Click the link above to join a fifteen year queue in East Germany sometime in the 1970s.

FJ40

If there’s one 4×4 cooler than the Land Rover Defender, this is it. The Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 is an off-roading icon, and thus – like all things old and Japanese – it’s now worth about a million pounds.

However with the news that Toyota have become the latest auto manufacturer to partner with LEGO, we may one day see an official Land Cruiser set, which will be a far more attainable way to FJ40 ownership for this TLCB Writer, even with immense fame, glory and groupies that working for this site brings…

Until then though, regular bloggee Jonathan Elliott has created a Speed Champions scale Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 so good we doubt LEGO will do any better should they decide to produce one. And it’s yellow.

Glorious attention to detail and ingenious building techniques are in evidence everywhere you look, and there’s more to see of Jonathan’s brilliant FJ40 at his photostream via the link.

We’ve Got Gas

Well, Thomas Gion aka HotDogSandwiches does, in the form of this marvellous 1960s Chevrolet Nova ‘Gasser’ style drag racer.

Thomas’s Speed Champions scale build features removable front bodywork, a brilliant brick-built engine, flame-shooting exhausts, wheelie bars, plus a range of wonderfully life-like tools and equipment.

There’s more of the build to see at Thomas’s ‘1963 Chevrolet Nova Gasser’ album – click the link above to take a look!

Sportvan Delux

The ’60s was an era full of wildly optimistic names. This is a 1965 Chevrolet Sportvan Delux, which Chevy’s marketing department must have spent literally minutes working on, before going outside to smoke a pack of cigarettes or three.

Still, it looks cool, particularly with a trio of surfboards on the roof. Flickr’s Tim Henderson is the builder and there’s more to see of his wonderfully built but stupidly named creation via the link above.

And surely no-one would be silly enough to give something a name as utterly pointless as ‘Sportvan’ these days

Cotton Communism

From one iconic classic to another, although this one perhaps for very different reasons…

The Trabant 601 was a reasonable little car when it first launched in the 1960s, despite the shortage of metal in post-war Europe forcing its construction from cotton, and its two-stroke 600cc engine.

The cotton body meant that it didn’t rust, which – combined with a near monopoly in East Germany and a production run until the collapse of the Soviet Union some thirty years later – led to well over two million Trabants being on the roads at one point.

That number quickly fell once East Germans could buy Volkswagens and Opels instead though, as even by the ’80s the 601 was hopelessly outdated, such is the folly of Communism.

Cue this excellent Model Team version of the Trabant 601, built by Flickr’s Legostalgie who has recreated the classic cotton car superbly in brick form. A detailed interior, engine bay, and opening doors, hood and trunk are included, and there’s more to see at Legostalgie’s ‘Trabant 601’ album by clicking here.

Ghost Pirate

Disney’s ‘Pirate’s of the Caribbean’ managed to successfully* combine both pirates and ghosts, which – to any 8 year old or TLCB Elf – made it the coolest thing ever.

Their piratical spectres were beaten by a few decades however, by the U.S. Navy, whose ‘VF-84 Jolly Rogers’ squadron operated Phantom II jets from the USS Roosevelt in the 1960s.

Featuring a variety of pointy weapons, superb building techniques, and a ‘skull and crossbones’ tail-fin motif (which – to any TLCB writer – makes it the coolest thing ever), previous bloggee [Maks] has captured America’s ’60s fighter in stunning detail, and there’s more to see of his airborne ghost pirate via the link above.

*Ok, maybe not by the third one. Which was (and still is) one of the worst sequels of all time.

My Other Car’s a Mustang

The Ford Mustang and Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia are two iconic ’60s coupes. However, whilst one was (in its day) a powerful, large-engined muscle car for the masses, the other… wasn’t.

With the air-cooled engine from a Beetle, but a larger heavier body, the Karman-Ghia was quite fantastically slow. But it was also gorgeous.

So too is this marvellous Model Team version, which previous bloggee monstermatou has built only from the parts found within the official LEGO 10265 Ford Mustang set.

Opening doors, a detailed interior and a lifelike engine are all included, and there’s more to see at monster’s photostream via the link above, where a link to building instructions will also appear shortly.

Back in the Dnepr

This wonderful creation is a KMZ-Dnepr K650, a Soviet Ukrainian motorcycle based on the 1930’s BMW R71. Whilst this version is 650cc, early bikes were fitted with a 98cc Wanderer engine design taken from Germany as part of reparations for World War 2, before KMZ’s own much larger 650cc was used for the rest of the design’s long production run.

Of course the BMW bit of the KMZ-Dnepr pre-dates war reparations, as the Soviet Union officially licensed the design from Germany before the two countries later went to war. In fact Germany and Russia held talks about becoming allies, with only Hitler’s ideological greed preventing Stalin from agreeing. Had they found common ground then this TLCB Writer would probably be typing this in German.

Fortunately Hitler and Stalin didn’t team up, and Germany invaded the Soviet Union just a year after the deal to license the BMW R71 was signed. This led – rather oddly – to the bike fighting on both sides of the conflict; the BMW version for the Axis Powers and the Soviet IMZ-Ural copy for Russia.

Production of the KMZ-Dnepr version shown here commenced in Ukraine in 1946, and continued right up to the fall of the Soviet Union, with both civilian and military versions produced. This beautifully presented replica of the KMZ-Dnepr K650 comes from KMbricklab, making their TLCB debut, and depicts the German-Russian-Ukrainian bike in both civilian and (awesome) military two-wheel-drive sidecar variants.

Gorgeous detailing and clever building techniques are evident in abundance and there’s lots more of KMbricklab’s superb build to see at their ‘KMZ-Dnepr K650’ album on Flickr. Click the link above to make the jump to Soviet-era Ukraine.

*Today’s lightly butchered title song.

Pill Bug

Small, grey, and shaped like a ball, Michael Jasper‘s 5-wide Volkswagen Beetle looks a picture of simplicity. Not so inside, where some seriously cunning techniques have been used to turn LEGO’s resolutely right-angled pieces into the famous shape. The knife bumpers might not pass pedestrian crash legislation but otherwise Michael’s nailed it. See how he’s done it on Flickr.

Build-a-Batmobile

Batman hasn’t always been dark and moody. There was a time when he was a little more… flamboyant.

These were his wheels from that more festive era; the Lincoln Futura-based, George Barris-designed 1966 Batmobile, and now you can build one too.

Flickr’s Orion Pax has recreated the ’60s television icon brilliantly and he’s released building instructions for his ’66 Batmobile model alongside the stunning imagery. Head to Orion’s photostream via the link above or visit his website here to see more and build your own!

Champagne Chevy Nova*

We like rusty cars here at The Lego Car Blog. The staff car park features several. Although in those cases the rust is due to neglect, age, and general decrepitness rather than some kind of rat-rod based badassery.

So too is Tim Henderson’s ‘barn find’ ’68 Chevy Nova, although unlike the office Rover 200 it somehow manages to look seriously cool as well as neglected, old, and decrepit.

A cunning deployment of mini-figure seats form the doors, an array of browns convey years of oxidisation, and there’s more of Tim’s ‘barn find’ Nova to see at his photostream here.

*Today’s magnificent title song.

Man-ic Monday

From the world’s biggest land vehicle to one of the littlest, and the official World Record holder for the smallest road-legal production car ever made.

The Peel P50 was built for just a few years in the early 1960s, capitalising on the demand for small cheap cars that could be driven on a motorcycle license. A few companies made a great success from this need, albeit not for ever, Peel… didn’t.

Ingenious though the P50 was, a car with 28mph top speed designed for city use, but coming from the Isle of Man (a small mostly rural island off the coast of England with no cities) had (very) limited appeal, and just fifty units were produced.

Around half survive today, and they’re worth a ridiculous amount of money, with one recently fetching $176,000 at auction.

Cue John Carpenter of Eurobricks, who has built one that’s far more attainable, and it’s not even that much smaller than the real thing!

There’s working steering, suspension front and rear, an authentic single-cylinder engine driven by the rear wheel, an opening and locking door, and even a working handbrake.

There’s lots more to see of John’s Peel P50 at the Eurobricks forum, including build details and a video of the working functions in action. Head to the Isle of Man c1964 via the link above! (Just be prepared for the villagers to point and laugh.)