Tag Archives: 1970s

Rockin’ Robin

Here at The Lego Car Blog we spend a lot of time mocking other countries’ cars, mostly because you don’t know who we are or where we live. However our home nation isn’t immune from making a vehicular anomaly or two, so today we’re very much looking in the mirror and  sheepishly recognising the plastic three-wheeled catastrophe peering back at us. Yup, it’s the Reliant Robin.

Britain produced a huge variety of tiny three-wheeled cars in the post-war years, a time when materials were rationed, many people were poor, and many more didn’t have driving licenses. Three-wheelers were one solution, requiring fewer parts (a 25% reduction in wheels alone) and only a motorcycle license to operate.

By far the most successful of these was the Reliant Robin, which was so numerous it remains the second best-selling fibreglass car of all time. This success led to it sticking around far longer than it should have done however, when Reliant – once Britains second-largest car maker by volume – really should’ve invested in other things. Production (and the Reliant company) finally ended in the early-2000s, and another British car manufacturer disappeared forever.

Today we’re paying homage to the humble slightly-rubbish British icon thanks to EvilEnderman and this heroically unstable BuWizz-powered Technic recreation, which is equipped with far more power than its three-wheeled chassis can handle. Cue a great degree of crashing, which you can watch at the Eurobricks forum here, plus you can find more images of the remote control Reliant at Bricksafe.

And if you want to see the real thing falling over, a lot, click on these words…

*Today’s title song, from way back when pop music could literally be about nothing more than the habits of a garden bird.

Land of the Rising Fun

This TLCB Writer would very much like an FJ40 series Toyota Land Cruiser. Because if there’s one classic off-roader cooler than the Land Rover Defenders we see every day around TLCB Towers, Japan’s answer is it.

With LEGO now having a licensing partnership with Toyota (and having released two Land Rover Defender sets), we’re super hopeful that an official Land Cruiser set may be on the cards, but until then the online Lego Community is filling the void admirably.

This is the latest fan-built Land Cruiser found by our Elves, and not only is it an orange FJ40 (an excellent start), it’s also fully remote controlled for maximum fun.

Built by gyenesvi, a suite of Power Functions components deliver motorised drive and steering, plus there’s live-axle suspension, a high/low gearbox, opening doors, hood and tailgate, and a folding windshield.

Building instructions are available and full details and images can be found at both Eurobricks and Bricksafe; click the links above for more classic off-road fun.

Out Of Africa

The most Germanic of German cars is – these days – African.

Nearly two million Mercedes-Benz W114 and W115s were built during the 1970s, with countless numbers registered as taxis across Germany.

Painted in mandatory primrose yellow, they covered hundreds of thousands of kilometres during their working lives, before – at the end of their service in Europe – being shipped to Africa to cover hundreds of thousands more, and where thousands of W114 and W115s are still in use today. It’s safe to assume taxi standards may not be quite as rigorous in their second countries of residence than they were in 1970s Germany.

Of course a sign on the roof is one of the many items that you don’t need in order to operate as a taxi in much of the world, thus battered W115s once owned by German businessmen in the ’70s are now also doing something far more important; keeping whole communities connected.

These two superb brick-built replicas of the car that continues to keep parts of Africa moving are the work of SvenJ. of Flickr, who has made free building instructions available so you can create his excellent Mercedes-Benz W115 too. There’s more of the model to see via at SvenJ.’s Flickr album, and you can head to 1970s Munich, or – more likely – central Africa today, via the link in the text above.

Wood & Canvas

Natural and/or flappy materials are notoriously difficult to recreate from LEGO. Rigid plastic blocks do not make for easy organic shapes, however Arian Janssens has managed to create realistic looking wood, canvas and rope for his stunning DAF FAS 2600 truck and drawbar trailer.

Arian’s superb truck includes a myriad of intricate detailing, including the load area, where ‘wooden’ sides, a ‘canvas’ cover, and ‘rope’ ties have all been beautifully replicated in brick form.

A dozen top quality images are available to view and you can check them all out at Arian’s ‘DAF FAS 2600’ album via the link above.

Blues Brothers

We considered linking to that infernal late-’90s Italian song in the title, and then thought better of it. But by then it was already stuck in our heads, so if we have to suffer you do too. And if you don’t click on that link we’ll still find a way of annoying you with Eiffel 65’s madness later in this post.

Oh yeah, cars. These six brilliant Speed Champions scale classics were discovered by a soon-to-be-very-fat-Elf on Flickr. They come from previous bloggee Thomas Gion, and clockwise from top left – in various levels of blueness – are a ’69 Chevy Nova, a ’63 Chevy Nova ‘Gasser’, a ’66 Buick Riviera, a ’54 Ford Thunderbird, a ’70 Plymouth Barracuda, and a ’69 AMC AMX Superstock.

Each is excellent and you can check them all out via the link above. Da-ba-dee-da-ba-di!

Just a Small Slice

From yesterday’s vertically-adjusted vehicle to one that’s been altered rather more horizontally. Built for the Tillamook Creamery, several of these drastically shortened cheese-coloured Volkswagen Transporter ‘Yum Buses’ were (and are) used to promote Tillamook’s dairy-based deliciousness. This mightily complicated miniature version comes from regular bloggee 1saac W., who has captured the promotional vehicle beautifully, with a myriad of ‘cheese wedge’ bricks rather appropriately deployed to form the bus’s rounded shape. There’s more to see on Flickr and you can grab yourself a slice via the link above.

Stranger Danger

This classic Ford Econoline van, complete with some, er… ‘tasteful’ period modifications, was found by one of our Elves on Flickr, who clearly hadn’t listened to the office talk on stranger danger.

Driven by Brad, who makes a living selling foreign narcotics part-time, and his girlfriend Tiffany, who works in ‘entertainment’, this modified late-’70s to mid-’80s Econoline has got more red flags flying than a minefield.

But it’s also got a wicked three-tone stripe, side-pipes, a moon window, and is blasting Buckcherry out of the stereo, so maybe it’s worth a closer look after all… no. NO.

HCKP13 is the builder, and if you’re old enough there’s more to see of their superbly built and beautifully presented creation on Flickr, where alternatively if you’re not yet of age (or you’re a TLCB Elf), there’s also a bitchin’ monster truck version.

Variable Geometry

This is a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23, a 1970s Soviet fighter and fighter-bomber, and the most-produced variable-geometry fighter in history. Over 5,000 MiG-23s were built, with hundreds sold around the world to various scumbaggy dictatorships, some of whom still fly the aircraft today. This excellent brick-built version comes from John C. Lamarck and it includes the MiG-23’s variable wing sweep, working landing gear, and a variety of exciting looking weaponry. There’s more of the model to see at John’s ‘MiG-23 MF’ album on Flickr and you can take a look at cutting-edge Cold War aeronautics via the link above.


Communist Polish manufacturer FSC – makers of vehicular magnificence such as this – also made something not terrible. FSC’s Star truck line began in the late 1940s, and despite the shackles of the Iron Curtain produced reliable, cheap and reasonably powerful heavy duty trucks for a variety of markets until it was swallowed up by MAN in the 1990s. This is one such truck, the Star 660, as created really rather wonderfully by previous bloggee [Maks]. Ingenious parts usage, clever building techniques, and a custom mini-figure are all worth a closer look, and you can follow the pole star on Flickr via the link.

Grand Veneer

From one nuclear-armed Cold War superpower building a 1960s design for about two decades too long to another, and the Jeep Wagoneer.

Launched in 1963, the first generation SJ-Series Wagoneer was built all the way until 1991 and – despite it being as American as hot dogs and unnecessary gun ownership – it was also produced in some interesting markets outside the US, including Argentina (military dictator), Egypt (military dictator) and Iran (military coup d’etat). America’s veneer as the leader of freedom is about as thin as the Wagoneer’s wood.

This splendid Model Team recreation of the ’91 ‘Grand Wagoneer’ from its final year of production comes from Flickr’s Jakub Marcisz, who has replicated the luxury 4×4 brilliantly in brick form. Opening doors and hood, a dropping tailgate, working steering, an excellent interior and engine, and wonderfully authentic faux-wood panelling all add to the realism, and there’s much more to see at Jakub’s photostream via the link above.

Back to dodgy dictatorships, and what with there being a rather more strained relationship between Iran and the USA today, the Iranian company that built the Jeep Wagoneer for over a decade in the ’60s and ’70s now builds Renaults instead. The same Renault that just lost $2billion pulling out of Russia. Perhaps with those morals they deserve to lose £2billion after all…

Red Square

Russia isn’t exactly a bastion of commercial opportunity at the moment. Unless you’re a citizen able to buy a departing western brand at a knock-down price. Back in the 1970s though, Russia – and the wider Soviet Union – was seen as a land of opportunity. If you were Fiat anyway.

A range of obsolete Italian designs were sold to the Soviet Union, with the most famous being this; the Lada 1600 / VAZ-2106. Like the 2103 that preceded it, the 2106 was based on the 1967 ‘European Car of the Year’ Fiat 124, although now updated with the deletion of the chrome brightwork (dull black plastic was far more appropriate at ensuring the population knew its place) and a larger engine of Lada’s own design

The 2106 was hugely successful, becoming VAZ’s most numerous product, and being built in several factories across the Soviet Union including in both Russia and Ukraine. Production finally ended in the early-’00s, after which Renault became a majority stakeholder in the company and Lada designs switched from Italian to French.

Which brings us back to Ukraine and knock-down prices, as last year Renault sold their majority stake in the Avtovaz / Lada company for just two roubles ($0.026) due to Russia’s ongoing war with its neighbour. It cost Renault around $2billion, and created the bargain of the century for a lucky Russian buyer.

That lucky buyer is of course the Russian State (aka Vladimir Putin), who has Lada back in Russian hands, and with $2billion of modern French technology thrown in too. Who’d have thought we’d be longing for a Lada built from bits of old Fiat in Cold War Soviet Ukraine, rather than a re-badged Renault stolen via a vicious illegal war.

We are though, so here’s Legostalgie‘s superb Lada 1600 / VAZ-2106, which is not only wonderfully realistic visually, it includes four opening doors, an opening trunk and hood, a beautifully detailed engine and a lifelike interior, all presented via top quality imagery.

There’s lots more of the model to see at Legostalgie’s ‘Lada 1600 / VAZ-2601’ Flickr album, and you can jump back to a time when Ladas were old Fiats rather than stolen Renaults via the link in the text above.

It’s Be-Hind You

This is a Mil Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunship, a 1970s product of the Soviet Union that remains a formidable aircraft even today.

The MI-24’s speed, size, troop carrying, and attack capability have led to its use in a depressingly long list of wars, conflicts and insurgencies over the last five decades, with over fifty operators worldwide, including countries in direct conflict with one-another, and some less-than-reputable dictators, despots, and militias.

The U.S even have a few, as does much of the former Soviet Union, with this excellent brick-built example by Flickr’s Steffan Johansson flying in Ukrainian colours. Ukraine’s former Soviet comrade Russia flies the greatest number of Mi-24’s of course, with many currently deployed in the ‘Special Military Operation’ (read ‘Illegal War’) in Ukraine.

At least five Russian and one Ukrainian Mi-24 helicopters have been lost in the conflict to date, which is a number that is at least the right way round, and you can see more of this one at Steffan’s ‘Mi-24/35 Hind’ album on Flickr.

Click the link above to take a look, or here to donate to those whose lives have been devastated by Russian aggression against their former ally. Both sides may be deploying the Mil Mi-24 Hind in the current conflict, but one deserves your support.

Bricking Bronco

There’s a new Ford Bronco out. Which of course means a TLCB post saying ‘we’d prefer the old one’. But we would, so here it is, courtesy of TLCB regular 1saac W. Jump back to 1970 via the link.

Brown Range

It’s FebRovery, but it’s not all sci-fi lunar rovers here at TLCB. Nope, because here’s the real deal. Launched in 1970 the Range Rover took the immensely successful Land Rover, added coil springs, a luxury-ish interior, and a 3.5 litre V8 engine to create arguably the world’s first luxury off-roader.

Which means of course that the Range Rover is responsible for more hateful gargantuan vehicular atrocities than probably any other car in history, as its success led to the ever increasing SUV arms-race that has culminated in vehicles like this. Apologies if you’re eating whilst reading this.

Still, that’s not exactly the Ranger Rover’s fault, particularly as early 3-door cars were – by modern standards – tiny. And excellent.

Cue this fantastic (and fantastically brown) Creator-style version of the early first-generation Range Rover, as created beautifully by 1corn of Flickr.

Opening doors, hood and split tailgate, a detailed engine and interior, and working suspension all feature, and there’s more to see of 1corn’s superb recreation of the difinitive luxury 4×4 at his ‘Range Rover’ album on Flickr. Click the link above to take a look.

Old Lady’s Bathroom

This is a Trabant 601, accurately resplendent in the colour of an old lady’s bathroom, and made from a similar material too. Created by László Torma in Speed Champions (ironically) scale, this neat miniaturisation of the rubbish East German people’s car captures the original wonderfully, and there’s more to see – including a ‘Combi’ station wagon version – at László’s photostream. Click the link above for more Hearing-Aid-Beige communist wonders.