Tag Archives: 1970s

Scorpion King

Notable only for being Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s first lead role, the 2002 fantasy adventure ‘The Scorpion King’ is an appalling turd of a movie. A spin off from ‘The Mummy’ franchise, it took the shonkily CGI-ed character from the second Mummy instalment (itself only worth watching for Rachel Weisz) and dragged it out over ninety stupefying minutes.

However some scorpion spin-offs are worth a look, and the car in this post is one of them.

The Autobianchi A112 was created through collaboration by Fiat, tyre-maker Pirelli, and bicycle manufacturer Bianchi, launching in 1969 and being – as most Italian cars of the time were – rather excellent.

Over a million Autobianchi A112s were produced before the brand was eventually merged into Lancia, with the design also forming the basis of the rather good Fiat 127, the less good Seat 127, the pretty bad Polski-Fiat 127, and the miserable Yugo 45.

Of course being effectively a Fiat, Italian tuners Abarth got their hands on the A112 too, and uprated the tiny 900cc engine to 1,050cc, taking power from around 45bhp to a mighty 70 in the process.

Today’s post is an A112 in Abarth flavour, as built by previous bloggee Zeta Racing in full ‘Technic Supercar’ specification. Capturing the look of the real car brilliantly, Zeta has engineered his Lego replica with a working engine, gearbox, steering, and suspension, along with opening doors, hood, and hatchback. Zeta’s model also includes fully remotely controlled Power Functions drivetrain, with motors powering both the front-wheel-drive and steering, the gearbox, and equipping the car with working brakes.

It’s a fantastic build, presented beautifully, and enhanced with few choice decals (including the famous Abarth scorpion), and there’s much more of Zeta’s Autobianchi A112 Abarth to see at his photostream. Click the link above to check out one Scorpion King worth viewing.

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The World’s Most Expensive Recovery Truck

This astonishing creation is a fully working replica of the U.S Glomar Explorer, constructed by Master MOCer and world-renowned builder Paweł ‘Sariel’ Kmieć, and you’re in for a truly remarkable story…

It’s 1968, and the Soviet ballistic missile submarine K-129 has been lost with all 98 crew, plummeting over 16,000ft to the ocean floor. It’s just a few years after the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War is very real indeed. The Soviet Union is looking for its lost submarine, but 150 miles in the wrong place. The U.S. however, knows where it is…

And so begins one the strangest and most expensive recovery efforts in history, as the CIA commission the building of a ship designed solely to pluck the wreck of K-129 from the seabed to learn its secrets, without the Soviet Union knowing.

Costing $1.4billion, it was one seriously expensive recovery truck, although of course its true purpose was hidden behind a ‘drilling for magenese’ cover story, fronted by millionaire aviator and film-maker Howard Hughes.

Six years later and the 50,000 ton 600ft long ship was ready. Named the Transocean Glomar Explorer, it was positioned above the wreck using radio beacons (GPS being some way off) and the CIA began the enormous recovery of the 330ft, 2,700 long ton (before it was filled with water) nuclear-armed submarine.

A giant claw dropped through a moon pool in the centre of the ship, gripping the wreck of K-129 and winching it to the surface. However during the 16,500ft ascent a mechanical failure occurred, and two thirds of the submarine broke loose and sunk back to the ocean floor, taking with it the sought-after nuclear missiles and code book. However, two nuclear-tipped torpedoes and cryptographic machines were recovered, along with the bodes of six crew members, which were not returned to the Soviet Union, but back to the sea.

The Glomar Explorer was purposeless after the mission was (partly) completed, and in 1976 it transferred to the U.S Navy for storage in a dry-dock. In 1978 however, the ship was leased to test prototype deep sea mining equipment, before being converted to a drilling ship in the 1990s. It was finally scrapped in 2015.

Recreating this incredible feat of engineering is Sariel, whose floating brick-built replica of the Glomar Explorer measures over 3 metres in length, uses 60kg of LEGO pieces, and can really (partly) recover a lost Soviet submarine, thanks to a fully working recreation of the monumental grapple crane fitted to the real ship.

We won’t write too much more here as there’s really only one way to appreciate this spectacular build – take a look at the video above (or click here to find it in the Eurobricks discussion), and watch how one of the most impressive Lego creations of all time was built, and how it can recover nearly all of a brick-built submarine from the bottom of a swimming pool…

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Wet Nellie

The second most famous Bond Car of all time is actually the best. Discuss. This is ‘Wet Nellie’, the Lotus Esprit S1 from 1977’s ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’, that ‘transformed’ – by the push of a button – into a submarine. And nothing in the world is cooler than that.

Suggested by a reader, this is Paul Nicholson‘s fantastic recreation of the aquatic sports car, and not only does it look absolutely spot-on, it transforms too, with the wheels tucking in to reveal submarining fins, and the rear fins and propellers also folding out from within. Of course it wouldn’t be a classic Bond Car without some evasive weaponry too, and Paul’s Esprit duly replicates the front missile launcher, mine layer, and the rear missiles (that really fire) used by Roger Moore to escape Karl Stromberg’s henchmen.

It all adds up to something that would make a superb official LEGO set, and whilst LEGO don’t have a Lotus license, they do have a 007 one, with Paul’s model constructed in a matching scale to the 10262 Aston Martin DB5 ‘Goldfinger’ set. Plus how cool would it be to add Lotus to LEGO’s ever growing list of vehicle manufacturer partners?

There’s much more to see of Paul’s incredible creation at his Flickr photostream, where you can ask him to add it to LEGO Ideas where it would surely get 10,000 votes so we can all buy it one day. For what it’s worth TLCB would be at the front of the queue. Get wet via the link above.

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Lime Horse

Painting a Ferrari in Lamborghini green will probably get you a ‘Cease and Desist‘ letter from Ferrari’s over-zealous legal department, but seeing as this one is constructed from left over bits of Lamborghini, it makes sense. Flickr’s James Tillson is the builder behind this lime green Ferrari Dino 246, and he has form, winning TLCB’s Lock-Down B-Model Competition with his previous Lamborghini-to-Ferrari conversion. His Ferrari Dino features the usual Technic Supercar functions and there’s more of the build to see at his photostream – click here to take a look before Ferrari write him an angry letter.

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Air Pirate

Is there anything cooler than a fighter jet with a skull and crossbones painted on it? The answer is no, and thus here’s Lennart Cort‘s Grumman F-14 Tomcat resplendent in VF-84 ‘Jolly Rogers’ livery. See more at the link!

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Chocolatey Contraband


The humble Kinder Suprise egg – one part tasty Italian chocolate, one part crappy plastic toy – is illegal in the United States. Appalling animal welfare and firearms are fine though.

Fortunately for our American readers, the Kinder contained in the back of this superb Scania 1-Series truck and trailer by Vladimir Drozd is all tasty Italian chocolate and no crappy plastic toy (which is the way we prefer it), so you can have munch too.

Recreated in 1:22 scale, Vladimir’s beautifully detailed Scania includes Power Functions remote control drive and steering, suspension on all wheels, and an automatic trailer hitch.

There are more top quality images of Vladimir’s Kinder delivery truck available to view at his Flickr album, and you can find full build details and a link to building instructions at the Eurobricks forum here.

Take look via the links above whilst we work on our elaborate plan to smuggle deadly Kinder Suprise eggs into the U.S inside some harmless assault rifles.

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Black Ace

This is the Grumman F-14A Tomcat, as flown by the U.S Navy’s Strike Fighter Squadron 41, the ‘Black Aces’ until he mid-’00s before being superseded by the F-18 Super Hornet.

First flying the in the early ’70s, the F-14 is a twin engine variable-sweep wing fighter that saw deployment in Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq, and is – somewhat oddly – still in service with the Iranian Air Force today, despite the U.S destroying its retired aircraft to prevent spare parts ending up in Iran.

This spectacular replica of the F-14A resplendent in ‘Black Aces’ markings is the work of Jonah Padberg (aka Plane Bricks) of Flickr, who has recreated the supersonic fighter in breathtaking detail.

Featuring working flaps, ailerons, elevators, rudders and air brake, plus an opening canopy, functions landing gear, and an array of explody things slung underneath, Jonah’s F-14A is so realistic we wouldn’t be supposed if Iran try to buy it for spare parts. Which they can do, as Jonah is making his model available for purchase in kit form!

There’s more of Jonah’s incredible Grumman F-14A to see on Flickr, including detailed photos of the underside and all the explody things too. Click the link in the text above to visit Jonah’s photostream, where a few Iranian aviation maintenance people may also be snooping about…

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Soviet Station Wagon

The Soviets may have hated America, but they sure liked its cars. This is the GAZ-24, specifically the 2402 station wagon produced from 1971 all the way up until the mid ’80s, despite looking like something straight out of America in 1963.

Powered by either a 2.5 litre four cylinder or an American-aping 5.5 litre V8, the GAZ-24 was famed for its toughness, and whilst limited numbers were exported, it wasn’t really available to the common Russian man, being reserved only for those with a special permit that allowed its purchase. Because Communism.

Matthew Terentev has got himself a 2402 though, by building this most excellent Technic recreation, complete with accurate leaf-spring rear and independent front suspension, a working inline 4-cylinder engine under the opening hood, ‘Hand of God’ steering and a working steering wheel, plus opening doors and tailgate.

There’s lots more to see of Matthew’s superb Soviet station wagon at his photostream on Flickr – grab your special permit, click the link, and pretend you’re a 1980s Russian pretending they’re a 1960s American.

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Eastern Education

Every day’s a school day. Following yesterday’s post featuring a vehicle by a successful German truck manufacturer that we’d never heard of, here’s another.

This is an Industrieverband Fahrzeugbau W 50, or ‘IFA W50’ for short, which is what we shall definitely be calling it. Constructed in East Germany from 1965 to 1990, the IFA W 50 was titled simply after the conglomerate that ran all of the East German vehicle manufactures at the time, including Trabant, Wartburg, and a host of other rubbish Communist companies, plus a few designs pinched from West German DKW.

Like many manufacturers behind the Iron Curtain the W 50 was produced in huge numbers, partly because it was built for so long, and partly because, well… you couldn’t buy much else.

Almost 600,000 IFA W 50s were built during its 25 year production run across over sixty body varieties, with up to 80% exported throughout the Soviet Union and sympathetic countries in some years, until Germany reunified and the Union began to collapse, abruptly ending production in 1990.

This neat Lego recreation of the East German truck comes from Clemens Schneider (aka popider) of Flickr and it features a working tipper and a rather accurate drivetrain too. Head to Clemens’ ‘IFA W 50’ album via the link to see all the images.

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Death Proof

“This car is a hundred percent death proof. Only to get the benefit of it, honey, you really need to be sitting in my seat.”

Death Proof isn’t one of Tarantino’s best works (but the bar is unfathomably high), however it’s undoubtedly his best vehicular work.

Stuntman Mike’s 1970 Chevrolet Nova appears in Lego form courtesy of Jonathan Elliott, and you can see more at his photostream. Just make sure you don’t sit in the passenger seat.

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Red Square

The Swedes must have really liked straight lines in the ’70s and ’80s. Volvo of course became famed for their boxiness, but Scania were just as rigid, as proven by this remarkably upright LK 141 truck by Flickr’s Vladimir Drozd. It’s a build that’s also remarkably detailed, looking almost photo-real thanks to exquisitely smooth building techniques. Power Functions motorisation and working suspension also feature and there’s more to see of Vladimir’s red square at his ‘Scania LK 141’ album. Click the link above to head straight there.

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Lego Land Rover

This TLCB Writer is starting to see the new Land Rover Defender all over the place and, egh… he’s still not sure about it. As a cantankerous old goat he would rather have this one, from back before the Defender was even named as such, the Land Rover Series II.

This superb Technic recreation of the classic 4×4 comes from Kent Kashiwabara of Flickr, who has not only replicated the iconic look beautifully, his soft top ’90’ Landy also includes all-wheel-drive, working steering, an inline-four engine, and live-axle suspension.

There’s more to see of Kent’s model at his ‘Series II’ album via the link above, and with LEGO now having a partnership with Land Rover, perhaps an official classic Land Rover set is in the making…

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The Van


Almost every car manufacturer makes vans these days, however in Europe there was a time when there was pretty much just one; the Ford Transit.

So ubiquitous was Ford of Europe’s product that for decades the words ‘van’ and ‘Transit’ were interchangeable, like ‘vacuum cleaner’ and ‘Hoover’, or ‘hot tub’ and ‘Jacuzzi’.

Those days are long gone with the Transit now one of many, but Flickr’s Jonathan Elliott remembers a time when the Blue Oval had van market domination with his wonderfully pretty 6-wide Mk1 Transit.

Jonathan has captured the original Transit beautifully and there’s more to see at his photostream here.

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Pontiac Firebird Trans Am | Picture Special

This might just be the most American thing we’ve ever seen. Apart from Police brutality of course. This is the late ’70s-early ’80s second generation Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, GM’s sister car to the Camero, and the Mustang’s fiercest rival.

Powered by an expansive choice of enormous V8 engines ranging from 4.3 to 7.5 litres, plus some marginally less enormous six-cylinder motors, all of which produced about as much horsepower as a European or Japanese engine half the size, the Trans Am completely erased the words ‘oil crisis’ and replaced them with a giant flaming bird motif. Because America.

The iconic slant nose arrived in 1977, bringing with it huge sales numbers, with this iteration of the Firebird selling between 150,000 and 210,000 units annually until emissions regulations finally caught up with it in 1980. The Trans Am’s starring role in Burt Reynolds’ 1977 movie ‘Smokie and the Bandit’ can’t have hurt its popularity either, a film basically about little more than trucking, car chases, and beer*. Because America.

Recreating this icon of American automobiles is TLCB Master MOCer, regular bloggee, and all-round excellent human being Firas Abu-Jaber, who has captured the ’77 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am in astonishing detail. Firas’ model replicates the Firebird’s famous exterior beautifully, with opening doors, trunk, and hood (complete with giant flaming bird motif), plus an amazingly accurate interior, and with presentation as stunning as the model itself.

Over a dozen spectacular images are available to view at Firas’ Pontiac Firebird Trans Am album on Flickr, where a build commentary can also be found. Click the link above to take a closer look, and the first link in the text to read Firas Abu-Jaber’s Master MOCers interview here at TLCB to learn how he creates incredible creations like this one.

*Well, Coors, which is nearly beer.

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My Other Car’s a Camper

You may not be familiar with Matra, but they’re probably the most important car company you’ve never heard of. Enormously successful on track, Matra won the Formula 1 World Championship in 1969, and the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1972, ’73 and ’74. They designed the first MPV, the first crossover, and – for a while – they made this, the delightfully weird three-seat Bagheera sports car.

Powered by 1.3 or 1.5 litre Simca engines, the lightweight Bagheera was faster than most other European small sports cars of the time, and cheaper too. It was a trend-setter in other ways however, being appalling built to the point of winning the ‘Silver Lemon’ award in 1975 for poorest quality, which when combined with a chassis without any rust protection whatsoever, makes the Bagheera a very rare sight today.

One Bagheera that won’t rust is this excellent Model Team version by previous bloggee monstermatou, who has constructed his entirely from the parts found within the Creator 10220 Volkswagen T1 Camper set. Following his stunning Citroen DS19 built for TLCB’s Lock-Down B-Model competition, Monster’s Matra continues his weird-French-cars-built-from-LEGO-sets theme, and his run of incredible B-Model builds that you can find at his photostream.

There’s more to see of monstermatou’s Matra Bagheera on Flickr via the link above, along with a host of other ace alternates including the aforementioned Citroen, a Morgan built from a Mini, and a Fiat 500 constructed from the same Camper set as this classic French oddball.

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