Tag Archives: 1960s

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.)

Towering Inferno

This is the NASA ‘Launch Umbilical Tower’, designed to send the world’s most powerful machine – the Saturn V rocket – into space, and carried by the world’s heaviest land vehicle.

LEGO’s enormous 92176 NASA Saturn V set has allowed space fans to conduct their own bedroom-based lunar missions, but the ‘blast-off’ bit (in this writer’s opinion, the coolest bit) requires a few additional accessories not supplied by LEGO…

Fortunately Janotechnic of Eurobricks – here making his TLCB debut – has the answer, not only building this incredible 1:110 scale Technic Nasa Crawler and Launch Umbilical Tower, but doing so from three official LEGO Technic sets; the 42055 Bucket Wheel Excavator, the 42082 Rough Terrain Crane, and the 42098 Car Transporter.

That expansive parts supply has enabled Jano to equip his B-B-B-Model with a huge array of motorised functions, including drive and steering, crane rotation, retractable support swing-arms, and even a working lift within the tower!

It’s an incredible creation and one that (in simplified form below) you can build for yourself, as building instructions are available. There’s more of Jano’s amazing NASA Crawler and Tower to see – including a video of the model’s motorised and mechanical functions – at the Eurobricks forum. Click the link above and prepare to blast-off!

Horse Truck

Surprisingly we don’t think we’ve ever blogged a horse truck here at TLCB (and we’re reluctant to go into the Archives to check properly as there are rumours of a feral band of TLCB Elves inhabiting them).

Today doesn’t change that though, despite the title, as this lovely Dodge M-37 truck is not a horse truck per say, rather it’s here as ground support for [Maks] previously blogged UH-34D Seahorse U.S Navy helicopter.

That means no attractive horsey girls called Arabella, but still an ace scene that would have been commonplace in the 1960s U.S Navy. There’s more to see of [Maks] Dodge M-37 truck and superb Sikorsky Seahorse on Flickr – click the link above to take a look.

Fast Running Camel

Cheap ubiquitous ‘Peoples’ Cars’ have a habit of becoming off-roaders. There are Baja Beetles, beach buggy Beetles, the Mini Moke, and – if those are too fast for you – the Citroen Mehari.

Based on the already off-road capable 2CV and ironically named after a fast-running camel, the Mehari kept the 2CV’s 602cc two-cylinder engine and added plastic body panels and a removable roof, creating a kind of off-road roadster. Just a very slow one.

This superb Speed Champions scale recreation of the plastic snail comes from TLCB regular Jonathan Elliott, which is both built and presented beautifully, and there’s more to see at the link.

Skies over Suez

We love a ’50s MiG. Sure they were a symbol of the oppression of millions, a regime seemingly intent on causing nuclear annihilation (not on their own we might add), and the terror of the Cold War, but they looked so cool!

In service from the early 1950s, almost 11,000 MiG-17s were built for use by a wide variety of scumbag dictatorships, and – somewhat unbelievably – three militaries still operate them today, some ’70 years after the design first flew.

This particular recreation of the Soviet fighter is an Egyptian Air Force unit, as built by John C. Lamarck, and it looks every bit as cool as the real thing. A removable tail-section reveals the jet engine inside, there’s working landing gear, accuarate Egyptian Air Force decals, and a range of exciting-looking weaponry that was used in Egypt’s defeat of the British, French and Israelis during the Suez Crisis in 1967.

What were we saying about the MiG-17 and scumbag dictatorships? Yeh, in this case TLCB’s home nation might not be able to hold the moral ground…

Head to John’s ‘MiG-17F’ album on Flickr via the link above to blow something British up in 1967.

The Third Way

Volkswagen’s Type 1 (Beetle) and Type 2 (Transporter) are recreated in Lego bricks on a daily basis. They have been turned into official LEGO sets, built in life-size, and are recognised the world over. But there is a third way…

The Type 3 (or ‘Squareback’) is nowhere near as popular as its Type 1 and 2 siblings, and many people – even VW fans – don’t know it existed at all. And that for us makes it all the cooler.

This brilliant Speed Champions recreation of a modified Type 3 comes from previous bloggee PleaseYesPlease, and if it were a real classic Volkswagen it’d be the one we’d want! There’s more to see at Please’s photostream, where a raft of excellent imagery is available.

Delightful Sedan

We’re not sure what ‘DS’ stands for these days, as Stellantis (what?) seems be using the brand solely in an attempt to charge 50% more for some extra chrome attached to decidedly average Citroens.

Deeply Cynical’? Wait, that’s not an ‘S’. ‘Dollar Signs’ perhaps? ‘Devoid of Substance’? Whatever it is, it isn’t working.

However a long time ago Citroen did used to produce the world’s best luxury cars, leading the way with hugely advanced technology, styling, and comfort.

This is one such car, the magnificent 1950s-1960s DS19, a car with front-wheel drive, hydro-pneumatic self-levelling suspension (with variable ride-height), power steering, a clutch-less gearbox, and disc brakes. All in 1955.

This beautifully presented Speed Champions recreation of the DS19 comes from Jonathan Elliott of Flickr, who has replicated the iconic French design wonderfully, even tapering the bodywork from 7 to 6 studs wide along the model’s length.

Jump to ’50s French luxury via the link above, and for comparison you can find one of DS’s current offerings here, where you can mutter dejectedly at it. Because they’re Depressingly Sardonic. Ah, that’s it!

Oh Lord, Won’t You Buy Me…

Three Mercedes-Benz?

Mercedes-Benz have made all sorts of vehicles. Cars, vans, trucks, and buses, plus engines for cars, vans, trucks and buses have all borne the three-painted star.

Flickr’s Moritz Zielger has built several items from Mercedes-Benz’s diverse back catalogue, and we have three to share with you today.

First (top) is a ’60s Mercedes-Benz W112 ‘Fintail’ in two-door coupe form, whilst above is a more modern Unimog off-road truck (complete with a working tipping bed), and below the classic 300SL Roadster.

Each has been built and presented beautifully and there’s more to see of all three Speed Champions Mercedes-Benz models (plus a few more) at Moritz’s photostream. Click here to take a look!

*Obligatory title song.

Red Racer

The 2021 Formula 1 season is about to begin, in which some tiny sports car manufacturers (Aston Martin, Alpine, McLaren, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari) will fight over second place behind Mercedes-AMG.

Of course for three of the five teams above, it’s literally just the brand name stuck on the side of the car, which the team itself has nothing whatsoever to do with. Which might be part of the problem.

We’d go back to the more interesting (and sponsorship free) old days, where manufacturers built the cars they raced and the rules were lax enough to allow them to make what they were good at.

Regular bloggee Tim Henderson is enabling the time travel, and there’s more to see of his ‘Vintage Formula 1’ creation via the album of the same name by clicking here.

Small-Scale Sixties Sunday

We had a three-way Elf fight here at TLCB Towers today, as a trio of intrepid internet investigators returned with three sixties classics. This inevitably led to a fight over whose was best, but as all three are being blogged they’re all winners, much a like a pre-school sports day.

The first of today’s small-scale replicas is 1968 Mercury Cougar, in a rather fetching turquoise. Regular bloggee Jonathan Elliott is the builder and there’s more to see at his photostream.

Our second sixties classic is rather more exotic, being the first miid-engined supercar and arguably Lamborghini’s finest hour, the magnificent Miura. Moritz Ziegler is the builder behind this excellent orange Speed Champions recreation and there’s more to see at the link.

The final car in today’s trio steps down from Speed Champions to Town scale, yet somehow manages to be even more detailed.

Built by 1saac W, this brilliant late ’50s to early ’60s Nash Metropolitan is a refinement of a previously blogged build, enhanced with some clever chrome stickerage and really rather clever roof design.

There’s more to see of 1saac’s updated Nash via the link above, plus you can see the appearance of the original, which includes the backstory of this unusual car, by clicking here.

My Other Car’s Also Really Slow

The original Fiat 500 was so called because it was powered by a rear-mounted 500cc two-cylinder engine. Back in ’50s Europe though, you could go even smaller.

This is the Vespa 400, so called because – you’ve guessed it – it was powered by a rear-mounted 400cc two-cylinder engine, which came from a Piaggio motorcycle.

Said powerhouse afforded the 400 a top speed of just over 50mph (if you mixed the oil with the fuel correctly as it was two stroke), and like the 500 it could just about fit four people inside and featured a convertible canvas roof incase they were wearing tall hats.

This rather lovely Model Team recreation of the Vespa 400 comes from previous bloggee monstermatou, who has constructed it only from the parts found within the Creator Expert 10271 Fiat 500 set.

Monster’s got form too, with several of his ace alternates appearing here previously, one of which very nearly won the TLCB Lock-Down B-Model Competition.

There’s more to see of the Vespa 400 B-Model as well as monstermatou’s other alternates at his photostream, and you can do just that by clicking these words.

Shock of the Lightning

This is an English Electric Lightning, and it is the coolest fighter aircraft ever made.

Firstly, because it’s called the English Electric Lightning and secondly, because it was powered by two Rolls-Royce Avon axial-flow jet engines stacked vertically, one atop the other.

Such immense power a gave the Lightning a top speed in excess of Mach 2, making it the only fighter of the time able to catch Concorde, and it is to this day still the only U.K designed and built interceptor to achieve twice the speed of sound.

It was also capable of an exceptional rate of climb, reaching 33,000ft from take-off in under three minutes, with an operational ceiling well in excess of double that – an important ability given its brief to intercept Russian nuclear bombers during the Cold War.

This brilliant Lego recreation of the English Electric Lighting comes from previous bloggee Dread Pirate Wesley, who has constructed a 1:55 F.3 series aircraft as operated by RAF Squadron 56.

This particular Lightning is a preserved surviving example available to see on display, but if you can’t get to RAF Bruntingthorpe you can check out the next best thing via Wesley’s photostream. Click the link above to get to Mach 2 very quickly indeed.

*Today’s title song.

Lotus 18 | Picture Special

This beautiful creation is a Lotus 18, and it’s one of the most wonderful racing cars ever made.

Succeeding Colin Chapman’s Lotus 16 (what happened to 17?), the 18 was designed to compete in both Formula 1 and Formula 2, and was powered by a little Coventry Climax 4-cylinder engine, first in 2500cc and then 1500cc sizes when Formula 1 reduced the engine limit.

The 18 gave Lotus’ their first Formula 1 win, plus two-time World Champion Jim Clark his first Grand Prix drive, before he and Innes Ireland took Lotus to the Constructors Runner-up spot in the 1960 World Championship.

However it wasn’t just Team Lotus who raced the 18, with Rob Walker Racing leasing a car to be driven by a new hotshot driver by the name of Stirling Moss.

Moss won the 1960 Monaco Grand Prix for Rob Walker Racing, the first time a privateer team had ever one a Formula 1 race, with only two teams managing it since.

Moss went on to take another win later in the season, although the Lotus 18’s campaign was marred by Moss’s injury at Spa-Francorchamps which put him out for most of the championship, and fellow Lotus 18 driver Alan Stacey’s death at the same track, after the 26 year old driver hit a bird.

Moss returned to racing though, continuing to campaign the Lotus 18 successfully for Rob Walker Racing in 1961, winning another two races and taking third in the World Championship behind the two Ferrari drivers.

The Lotus 18 was quite an important car then. It gave not only Lotus, but several future racing greats their early wins, their first Formula 1 drives, and – sadly in Alan Stacy’s case – their last drive too.

This unfathomably good recreation of the Lotus 18 comes from Andre Pinto, whose stunning replica of Sir Stirling Moss’s 1960 race-winner is one of the finest historic racing cars that this site has ever featured.

Beautiful detailing and attention to detail is evident everywhere you look, and there’s lots more to see at both the Eurobricks discussion forum and at Andre’s ‘Lotus 18 Stirling Moss‘ album on Flickr.

Click the link above to take a look at one of the most important Formula 1 cars ever made.