Tag Archives: 1980s

Ferrari 640 | Picture Special

Lego Ferrari 640 Formula 1

The 2018 Formula 1 season is nearly upon us. Grid girls are out, halo driver protection is in, and the sport continues its slide into boring, safe, mediocrity. We’re going to take a trip back to more exciting times then, when cars were powered by a variety of fire-spitting engines, the main sponsors were tobacco companies, and girls were allowed to look pretty.

Lego Ferrari 640 Formula 1

This is a Ferrari 640 Formula 1 car from 1989, and it was rubbish. Driven by Nigel Mansell and Gerhard Berger, there wasn’t a single race in the 1989 championship where both cars finished. The culprit was Formula 1’s first semi-automatic electrically-controlled gearbox which broke with clockwork regularity. Who’d have thought Italian electronics would be unreliable?

Lego Ferrari 640 Formula 1

When the gearbox electronics weren’t on strike though, the V12-powered 640 was incredibly fast. Of the thirty-two race starts in 1989 the Ferrari 640 finished just ten, but all of those were on the podium, including three race wins.

Lego Ferrari Formula 1 Car

By the end of the season the 640’s troublesome semi-automatic gearbox had been largely sorted, but it was too late for Mansell and Berger who finished just 4th and a lowly 7th respectively, thanks to frequent retirements. However a new line had been drawn. The following year the more reliable Ferrari 641 took six race wins and finished second in the Constructor’s Championship, and by the mid-90s semi-automatic gearboxes had become the norm in Formula 1.

Lego Ferrari Formula 1 Car

This wonderful Model Team recreation of the fast but fragile Ferrari 640 comes from Formula 1-building legend Luca Rusconi aka RoscoPC who has appeared here numerous times with his stunning racing replicas. His incredible 640 features beautifully replicated bodywork, including period decals, plus working steering, suspension, and V12 engine. There’s a whole lot more to see at Luca’s Ferrari 640 album on Flickr, plus you can read our interview with the builder as part of the Master MOCers series by clicking here.

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’80s Dub Club

Lego Volkswagen Golf GTI Mark 1

’80s cars are funny things. Worthless since about 1995, and without either the classic looks found before the ’70s or the rust-proofing of modern cars, they occupy of sort of automotive no-mans-land. This means that of probably any era of motoring, ’80s cars are the most endangered. If you think a McLaren F1 is rare try finding a Talbot Tagora. In our home nation there is just one example of his humble saloon left taxed on the roads. One.

Lego Volkswagen Golf GTI Mark 1

Thankfully there are a few more Mark 1 Golf GTIs left, but even these went through a near extinction phase. Fortunately Volkswagen’s original hot hatch is now rather sought-after and with so many scrapped in the 1990s and 2000s the surviving examples are rocketing in value, safeguarding the model’s existence. This lovely Model Team example of the an early ’80s Mark 1 GTI comes from Joe Perez (previously Mortal Swordsman) of Flickr, and it reminds us of why the original is such a well-regarded car.

Lego Volkswagen Golf GTI Mark 1

Beautifully clean lines (penned by Giorgetto Giugiaro), lightweight, and with just enough power to have fun, the original Golf GTI is the perfect antidote to today’s heavy, over-styled and ludicrously powerful yet un-involving hot hatches. Joe’s Model Team replica of the definitive ’80s hot hatch captures the iconic look brilliantly and we think it would make a rather good official set (LEGO have a license agreement with Volkswagen after all). There’s more to see of Joe’s 1980s Volkswagen Golf GTI at his photostream – click the link above and badger him to put it on LEGO Ideas.

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Brabham BMW BT50

Lego Brabham BMW BT50

This is a Brabham BMW BT50 and it was – frankly – a bit shit. Powered by a tiny four-cylinder 1.5 litre turbo the BT50 was hugely forward thinking for 1982, but also catastrophically unreliable. The Bernie Ecclestone owned team retired cars from 17 out of 22 race starts in 1982, although the car did prove fast when it worked, securing a race win at Canada.

Not one of Formula 1’s greats then, but nevertheless a car that pioneered the technology that almost all top-flight racing cars use today. This superb recreation of the Brabham BT50 comes from previous bloggee Greg 998, and it includes working steering, suspension, a well-replicated BMW Motorsport engine and a wealth of rather lovely decals. There’s more to see of the build at Greg’s Flickr album or via MOCpages – click the links to make the jump.

Lego Brabham BMW BT50

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Hey Nikita

Lego Bentley Continental

There’s a lot of music this writer would like to have been old enough to hear first time around. Elton John’s ‘Nikita’ is not one of those songs.

Elton’s 1985 hit probably says something poignant about the Cold War and oppression behind the iron curtain, but to the casual observer it could appear as though he’s being chauffeured to a Communistical border post in a bright red Bentley just to mock those on the other side.

Whatever, this neat Lego replica of Elton’s Bentley Continental convertible – complete with Elton himself – comes from previous bloggee Ralph Savelsberg aka Mad Physicist and it’s a superb recreation of the car (which was Elton’s own) from the music video.

There’s lots more to see of the Bentley and Ralph’s other cars at his photostream via the link above, and you can try to work out what the hell Elton John is up to by clicking here.

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Perfect Pajero

Lego Technic Mitsubishi Pajero

This little red box is a 1980s 3-door Mitsubishi Pajero, and we want one. Launched long before the SUV/crossover craze arrived, the humble Pajero came from a time when Japanese off-roaders ruled, and they really could go off-road. This made them horrible to drive on-road of course, but back in the ’80s if you bought a Pajero there was probably a good chance that you did actually want to take it away from the black stuff.

Lego Technic Mitsubishi Pajero

This brilliant Technic recreation of one of the finest ’80s 4x4s comes from Kevin Moo of Eurobricks, and not only does it look absolutely spot-on it’s packing some neat functionality too, with remote control drive and steering, LED head and tail lights, working suspension, and an opening hood, doors and tailgate. There’s lots more to see of Kevin’s remote controlled Mitsubishi Pajero model at the Eurobricks discussion forum – Click the link above to make a jump to 1982.

Lego Technic Mitsubishi Pajero

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Teutonic Turbo

Lego Porsche 911 Turbo

Certain cars are synonymous with the technology with which they popularised. Early on in the SUV’s meteoric rise they were all called Jeeps, whether or not they were made by the Jeep Company, and until recently all vans in the UK were known as Transits, regardless of their actual model name.

And then there’s ‘Turbo’. Back in the ’80s everything was a turbo. Turbo bags, turbo aftershave, turbo sunglasses. Turbo became a synonym for ‘fast’, and everyone wanted to cash in. There was however one car that defined the turbo era. The Porsche 911 Turbo.

Produced from 1975, first with a turbocharged 3.0 air-cooled flat-6 and then a 3.3, the Porsche 930 series was indeed simply badged as ‘Turbo’ in some markets. It was also terrifying. With up to 330bhp on offer – all of which would arrive some considerable time after the driver pressed the accelerator peddle – 930s became the second largest killer of stockbrokers after cocaine.

We’ll stick with this one then, which looks far easier to pilot than the real thing. Built by previous bloggee Dornbi, who’s better known for his superb Lego aircraft, this brilliant Model Team mid-’80s Porsche 911 930-series perfectly captures the real Turbo. It’s even in 1980s white! There’s much more to see at Dornbi’s photostream – take a look via the link above. Just be careful with the throttle.

Lego Porsche 911 Turbo

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Toyota Hilux – Picture Special

Lego Toyota Hilux 4x4

Toyota’s legendary Hilux is now in its eighth generation, and it’s more impressive than ever. But we’d rather have this one, a glorious mid-’80s fourth gen. Still seen all around the world in the most inhospitable climates, the ’80s Hilux has become something of a cult car, helped no doubt by BBC Top Gear’s unsuccessful attempts to destroy one.

Lego Technic Toyota Hilux 4x4

Which makes it a little strange that we don’t see more Hiluxes recreated in LEGO form. However today, after three years of engineering, we do have a LEGO Hilux to share, courtesy of Technic wizard Egor Karshiev (aka rm8).

Egor’s N40 series Toyota Hilux looks absolutely spot-on, even including the famous ‘TOYOTA’ script on the tailgate. Underneath the accurate Technic bodywork Egor has installed a wealth of superb off-roading goodies, allowing his model Hilux to do everything the real one can. Only in miniature obviously…

Lego Technic Toyota Hilux 4x4 RC

An XL motor provides power to all four wheels via differentials on each axle, both of which are solid and fitted with three or four link suspension. Remotely controlled steering is provided by a Servo motor, LEDs illuminate the headlights, and a third-party SBrick bluetooth receiver allows the model to be controlled via a mobile phone.

Finally the entire pick-up bed is removable, and the doors, hood and tailgate all open, revealing an engine bay and a detailed five-seat interior.

Lego Technic Toyota Hilux 4x4 RC

Egor has built both stock and ‘adventure’ versions of his remote control Hilux and has photographed them brilliantly both in-studio and in some awesome outdoor shots. There are lots more images available of both the stock and adventure versions on Flickr via the links above, you can read full build details at Egor’s MOCpage, and you can join in the discussion at the Eurobricks forum by clicking here.

Finally of course, no Technic model can be considered a proper remote control off-roader without a suitably cool video. Take at look at the Hilux in action below…

YouTube Video:

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Acceptable in the ’80s*

Lego Lancia Delta Peugeot 205 T16 Group B

We’re back in the 1980s today, and one of the greatest battles in rallying history. The Group B rally era from 1982 to ’86 created some of the wildest (and most dangerous) racing cars ever seen. Minimal regulations and the arrival of turbo-charging and all-wheel-drive led to huge speed, and the cars – whilst outwardly similar – had almost nothing in common with their road-going counterparts.

By the mid-’80s engines were mounted in the middle and surrounded by space-framed shells of composite and magnesium. Peugeot’s ridiculous 205 Turbo 16 took power to well over 400bhp from just 1.8 litres and won the final two Group B Championships in ’85 and ’86. Previous champions Lancia come in second with their carbon-composite Delta S4, the first car to be both turbo and super-charged (known as twin-charging). It was tragically this car that led to the cessation of Group B, when in 1986 Henri Toivonen and Sergio Cresto’s S4 left the road on the Tour de Course and burst into flames, killing both men. The FIA had to act and Group B, rallying’s maddest era, was banned.

MOCpages’ Fabrice Larcheveque remembers the fastest rally cars ever seen with his 6-wide replicas of both the Peugeot Turbo 16 and and Lancia Delta S4. Each includes a detailed engine and interior under removable bodywork, but our favourite elements are the stunning liveries, recreating those seen on the real cars brilliantly in miniature. There’s more to see of Fabrice’s Speed Champions-style Group B racers on MOCpages – click the link above to head back to 1986.

Lego Lancia Delta Peugeot 205 T16 Group B

*Today’s title song (and the only decent Calvin Harris song) can be found here.

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Yule Mog

Lego Technic Unimog 406 Remote Control

As you may be able to tell from the falling snow on this page (if you’re visiting at the time of writing), winter has arrived here at TLCB Towers.

This means our microwave will do double duty, both as the sole provider of nourishment for the TLCB Team and as an Elf-defroster, and TLCB vehicle fleet will likely rust even closer to a final drive to the scrapyard. What we need is one of these, a mighty Mercedes-Benz Unimog 406, built from the 1960s all the way up until 1989.

Suggested by a reader (so no Elf smushings today), this spectacular Model Team / Technic replica of the classic ‘mog by Functional Technic packs in just as much winter-beating tech as the real truck, including live-axle suspension, remote control all-wheel-drive courtesy of two XL Motors, steering via a Servo, a Medium Motor powered remotely operable diff-lock controlled by on-board pneumatic valve, a working Medium Motor powered gearbox, and five sets of LED lights.

All that lot is hidden within a wonderfully realistic Model Team-style body and mounted atop four of the huge wheels found within the 42052 Claas Xerion set, giving Functional Technic’s model genuine off-road ability (which you can watch below).

YouTube Video

There’s lots more to see of Functional Technic’s remote control Mercredes-Benz Unimog 406 at his website, including some superb on-location photos plus detailed images of the chassis construction.

There are also downloadable instructions available for some of the mechanisms used within both the Unimog build and Functional Technic’s other creations, including the remotely operable valve, all-wheel-drive system and functioning diff-lock. Head over to www.functionaltechnic.com to see more of the ‘mog and the builder’s other designs.

Lego Technic Unimog 406 Remote Control

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Ursus 912 | Picture Special

Lego Usus 912 Tractor

Founded in 1893 by a team of seven engineers and businessmen the Ursus factory began producing exhaust engines and trucks. In 1930 the company was nationalised during the Great Depression and Ursus switched to making vehicles, machinery and arms for the Polish military. Not enough of them sadly as Germany (and the Soviet Union weirdly) successfully invaded and then annexed Poland in 1939, triggering the start of the Second World War.

The Ursus factory, now under German control, was forced into producing arms for the German military, building Panzer II and Wespe tanks. Following the Allied victory in 1945 Ursus returned to making tractors, copying designs from Germany and working with Zetor of Czechoslovakia to dramatically increase tractor production in Eastern Europe.

Lego Usus 912 Tractor

It worked too, with a combined 120,000 units produced across both brands annually at the firms’ peak. However, the Cold War loomed, and an over-ambitious state-sponsored expansion programme in the late ’70s and 1980s led to Ursus (and many other Polish businesses) incurring massive amounts of debt in the push for modernisation. Although up to 80% of these loans were eventually written off Ursus production was crippled, and now numbers around just 1,500 units a year.

Builder Marek Markiewicz (aka M-longer) remembers happier times at Ursus when orders were c60,000 a year with his gloriously accurate 1980s Ursus 912 4-cylinder tractor. Using the wheels from the LEGO Technic 42054 Claas Xerion set has enabled Marek to build his Ursus big and as such it’s absolutely packed with detail. An opening ventilated roof and a pendular front axle also feature and there’s a whole lot more to see courtesy of Marek’s Flickr photostream and via the Eurobricks discussion forum. Follow the links in the text above for the full set of images of Marek’s brilliant Ursus 912.

Lego Usus 912 Tractor

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Memory Lane

For builders of a certain generation Dennis Bosman has performed a miracle of Lego reconstruction. The 8889 Technic Ideas book was published in 1984, just four years after the original 8888 book. 8889 showed just how quickly the parts available and building techniques for the Technic part of the Lego System had moved on. As well as step-by-step instructions for some builds (this writer’s favourite was the strange 6-wheeled vehicle) there were photos of additional models. Across two double-page spreads was a massive truck. How to build it though? This is what Dennis Bosman has done, using only contemporary parts. Click this link to travel back in time…

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Tuesday Trio

Lego US Navy Aircraft

Flickr’s Dornbi has appeared here numerous times with his stunning Lego aircraft. He’s recently pictured three of his historic US Navy planes together, with the F14a Tomcat, A-6E Intruder and A-7E Corsair all faithfully recreated in grey and white bricks. There’s more to see of each at Dornbi’s photostream – click there for the full set of images.

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6698 Redux

Lego Land Rover Boat Tow

One of this writer’s very favourite sets is 6698, released before he was born, and featuring what was quite clearly a Land Rover Series 3 towing nifty little speedboat. Must trawl eBay…

Anyway, TLCB favourite Pixel Fox has decided to build his own, thoroughly rebooted for the modern age. At 6-studs wide Pixel’s Land Rover is 50% larger than the ’80s original, and bang on the right size to be a current City set. The speed boat and trailer take advantage of their increased scale too, packing in some lovely detailing.

Pixel has presented his latest build in his trademark vignette style and you can see the scene in more detail by visiting his photostream – click the link above to head to the seaside.

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Lampooned!

Lego National Lampoon's Vacation Wagon Queen Family Truckster

“You think you hate it now, but wait until you drive it!”. 1983’s ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’ may have primarily been a vehicle for Chevy Chase’s comedic brilliance, but it featured quite a vehicle itself. The Wagon Queen Family Truckster was a modified ’70s station wagon, disguising it from any manufacturer association, and it had quite a trip. This top quality recreation of the star car comes from regular bloggee and TLCB Master MOCer Ralph Savelsberg aka Mad Physicist, who has captured the unique crapness of the real car wonderfully! Hit the road to Flickr via the link above.

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Cannonball

Lego Porsche 956 Cannon

Six minutes and eleven seconds. The fastest ever lap of the fearsome Nurburgring Nordschleife, recorded not by a Formula 1 car or a Bugatti Veyron, but way back in 1982 by this; Porsche’s amazing Group C 956.

Powered by a development of the successful 936’s turbocharged flat-6, the 956 took power to over 600bhp and used the world’s first double clutch gearbox to send it to the rear wheels.

Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell debuted the car at the 6 Hours of Silverstone before taking pole, ahead of Porsche’s two other 956s in second and third, at the Le Mans 24 Hours. The race finished as it started, with Porsche taking a 1-2-3 and with Ickx and Bell claiming their third win together for the Porsche team.

This superb recreation of Porsche’s dominant early ’80s Group C Champion comes from Flickr’s Manuel Cara, which despite its small size is  wonderfully accurate, made more so by the authentic-looking period Canon decals. There’s more to see of Manuel’s 956 at his photostream by clicking here, and if you’d like to see the real car in action, take a look here!

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