Tag Archives: 1990s

The Last Good Lancia

Lancia’s current range of one solitary ugly car is probably the most pathetic of any car manufacturer alive today. But it wasn’t always like that.

Back in the 1990s Lancia was still, er… troubled, but nevertheless capable of absolute magic, and this was one of their most magical moments.

The Lancia Delta HF Integrale was the final evolution of a humble (and rather good) hatchback that started life way back in the late 1970s, eventually becoming a turbocharged all-wheel-drive rally homologation special.

The HF Integrale is now a seriously sought after car, which Eurobricks member Pingubricks has recreated beautifully in Model Team form. There are opening doors (no mean feat considering the wide-arch bodywork), an opening hood under which sits a detailed engine, and a realistic interior too.

An impressive suite of further imagery can be found at the rather underused Eurobricks ‘Scale Modelling’ forum; click the link to jump to see more of Pingu’s brilliant brick-built homage to one of Lancia’s finest moments.

Topless Summer

It’s summer here at TLCB and it’s HOT. Elves are scattered everywhere panting, and the office ‘air conditioner’ (a fan gaffa-taped to a window ledge) is just moving hot air about like the one in the back of an oven, ensuring everything is equally cooked.

Those of you reading this in sunnier climes than the UK (that’s all of you) will be wondering what all the fuss is about, but this TLCB Writer is well-travelled and no-where gets hot like the UK. Thank the high humidity, limited air conditioning, and buildings designed to keep in, not out, for that.

It also might explain why the British buy more convertibles than the French, Germans, Italians, and Spanish. Put together. Thus we have two here today, and they’re both… um, a bit crap.

The Dodge Viper was basically a truck engine shoved in a kids’ plastic toy, and was predictably rubbish as a result. But on the other hand, it was a truck engine shoved in a kids’ plastic toy, and it was therefore excellent. This superb Speed Champions scale Dodge Viper convertible was suggested by a reader, and it comes from previous bloggee RGB900 who has nailed the 1990s American icon in 6-wide form.

Equally iconic (and rubbish) was the modern Volkswagen Beetle convertible; a bubble-shaped Golf with a pram roof stuck on the back that predictably became the must-have accessory for people that knew nothing about cars.

Fashion is fickle though, and without any substance whatsoever the modern Beetle is now dead, and its customers have all moved on to Mini convertibles. SP_LINEUP hasn’t forgotten it though, creating this excellent brick-built version that was also suggested by a reader.

There’s more to see of each convertible on Flickr via the links, and if you’re wondering why we haven’t featured good drop-tops instead of a kids’ toy and VW pram, just be thankful we didn’t find one of these to post. See, the British do stupid things when it gets hot.

Turn Your Nose Up

The wildly incompetent back-alley of the internet that is TLCB actually came to be because the proper Lego blogs were turning their noses up at vehicular creations. We’re not sure if ‘turning their noses up‘ translates internationally very well, but basically you had more chance of unearthing pirate treasure under your sink than seeing your car featured.

Cue the arrival of TLCB, and car builders still probably wishing they could appear on a proper website rather than here…

Anyway, a lot has changed since then, and proper sites like The Brothers Brick now not only blog vehicles, some even have vehicle builders on staff too. Which means that this splendid 1990 Tyrrell 019 Formula 1 car was not found by one of our Elves, as instead this TLCB Writer first saw it blogged on The Brothers Brick. Which makes this site rather pointless.

Still, our title is much more tenuous and you don’t get ‘Your Mom’s so fat…’ jokes over there, so we’re going to blog it here too.

Said Tyrrell 019 was – whilst not a race winner – a regular points scorer during the 1990 season, in part thanks to its revolutionary ‘high nose’ design that allowed maximum air underneath it, thereby generating more downforce along the car’s underside.

It set the template for nose cone design right up until Formula 1 banned high noses in 2012 due to fears over safety (in doing so making F1 cars horrendously ugly overnight), and it’s been replicated beautifully by builder Tenderlok in Model Team form.

Excellent custom decals, a replica Cosworth V8 engine, detailed cockpit, removable bodywork, and an ingeniuous (if slightly ‘illegal’) front wing connection technique add to the realism, and there’s more to see of Tenderlok’s Tyrrell 019, complete with its upturned nose, on both Flickr and at the Eurobricks discussion forum. Or The Brother’s Brick of course.

6-Wide Speed

Building an instantly recognisable vehicle from Lego bricks isn’t always easy, and it becomes increasingly difficult the smaller the scale becomes. That’s why LEGO have recently upped the size of their Speed Champions sets, to better capture the real-world cars they aim to imitate (with varying degrees of success).

Cue previous bloggee RGB900, who has not only constructed this immediately identifiable Honda NSX, he’s even managed to do so in the ‘old’ 6-wide Speed Champions scale. A few of the building techniques probably wouldn’t pass LEGO’s requirements for an official set, but there are no sticker-based cheats here!

There’s more to see of RGB’s excellent NSX on Flickr, and you can do just that via the link above.

Just Like a 911. Sort of.

The Porsche 911 is not the only rear-engined rear-wheel-drive European car. In fact there were loads, including Volkswagens, Tatras, Skodas, the Smart ForTwo, and – of course – Fiats.

Following the phenomenally successful 500, Fiat followed up with another rear-engined, rear-driven design, the near five-million selling 126.

Much of the 126’s technology was based on the 1950’s 500, which – considering it was produced in Polski-Fiat 126p form until the year 2000 – is both an astonishing achievement and rather frightening.

It’s the Polski-Fiat version we’re featuring here today, a car that mobilised Poland, although only if you were prepared to wait years or had communistical connections. Recreated in a fetching ‘hearing-aid beige’ / ‘baby-sick yellow’, Legostalgie‘s Model Team replica of the 126p captures the real car wonderfully, with a near perfect exterior, detailed interior, plus opening doors, front trunk and engine cover, with a realistic two-cylinder engine underneath.

Legostalgie has presented his model beautifully, and there are more top-notch images available to view at his ‘Polski Fiat 126p’ album on Flickr – click on the link above for all the drawbacks of a 1970’s Porsche 911, but none of the thrills…

Ferrari F50 GT | Picture Special

This is the Ferrari F50 GT, a GT1 racer designed to compete in the Global GT Series of the mid-’90s against supercars such the McLaren F1 GTR, Jaguar XJ220 and Porsche 911 GT1.

However, Ferrari being Ferrari, they were unhappy that homologation specials like the 911 GT1 were allowed to race, and so threw their hands in the air, shouted something Italian, and stormed off to continue monopolising Formula 1’s TV revenue.

Thus only three F50 GTs were built, none of which raced, and these days they’re probably worth a gagillion of any currency you care to pick. Fortunately this one is rather more attainable, being a (stunning) 1:10 scale Technic ‘Supercar’ replica.

Created by Jeroen Ottens, this beautifully presented build features all of the Technic Supercar requirements, including all-wheel suspension, functioning steering, a working V12 engine and four-speed sequential gearbox, plus opening doors and front and rear clamshells.

It’s a jaw-dropping model and there’s more to see at both Flickr and Eurobricks, where you can also find a link to building instructions so you can create Jeroen’s F50 GT for yourself. Just ensure you refuse to race it against a Porsche and shout a lot in Italian about things not being fair for the authentic Ferrari experience.

Nice Niva

We often mock Communist-era Eastern European cars for being slow, highly polluting, ageing designs built for far longer than they should have been. Because we’re so much better in the West…

So here’s a Communist-era Eastern European car that’s a slow, highly polluting, ageing design that’s been built for far longer than it should have been. And we absolutely love it.

No, we’re not consistent.

Anyway, this is the Lada Niva / VAZ-2121, a wonderful compact off-roader that was not only more advanced than the famous Western offerings of the time (cough Land Rover Defender cough), it’s still in production without becoming just another enormous luxury SUV (cough Land Rover Defender cough).

This lovely Model Team recreation of the Niva captures the real car brilliantly, with opening doors, hood and tailgate, a detailed interior and engine bay, plus some suitable over-landing accompaniments mounted on the roof.

Flickr’s Legostalgie is the builder and there’s more of this superb Soviet 4×4 to see at his ‘Lada Niva / VAZ-2121’ album – take a look via the link above!

New Sports Experimental

Honda’s current range of drab uninspiring boxes shows just how far a manufacturer can fall from their height.

Back in the 1990s Honda were on top of the world, winning Formula 1 races, building exceptionally popular cars most of which had a fun version, and even pioneering Hybrid technology before – for reasons unknown – looking that gift horse in the mouth.

All of which makes Honda’s current range of cars look narcoleptic by comparison. We mean, just look at this one.

No car highlights how far Honda’s slide into dismal mediocrity has come from than this; the amazing Honda NSX.

Built to be an everyday supercar, the NSX wasn’t massively fast (although little was back in 1990), but it was joyously engineered, comfortably beating Ferrari, Lamborghini and others in terms of its technical accomplishment.

Despite this, badge snobbery was just as prevalent in the 1990s as it is today, and the NSX was largely overlooked in favour of the established (and worse) competition. Not so now, where NSXs (and all cars from Japan’s heyday) are in serious demand, perhaps helped by the fact that Honda now make absolutely nothing exciting whatsoever.

This means that Honda’s spectacular engineering masterpiece is now way out of reach of us here at The Lego Car Blog, despite the vast fame and riches that blogging Lego models brings.

Cue TLCB debutant Pingubricks, who has recreated Honda’s finest moment brilliantly in brick form. Pingu’s Model Team NSX captures the design of the real car wonderfully, and there are opening doors, trunk, engine cover, and even working pop-up head lights via a lever in the cabin too!

There’s more to see of Pingu’s spectacular Honda NSX at the Eurobricks forum, and you can join us there via the link in the text above.

Three is the Magic Number

Britain has a long tradition of making crap cars. This is widely considered to be one of them.

The Reliant Robin has been the butt of jokes in TLCB’s home nation for years. Cheap, slow, and missing something that is taken for granted with almost every other car (a fourth wheel), it was derided for decades.

However, the humble Robin (and its Rialto and Regal forbears) was actually phenomenally successful. The second most mass-produced fibreglass car in history, the Robin’s success came from its ability to exploit loopholes, as with Germany and France’s microcar classes and Japan’s kei cars.

Three wheels meant the Robin could be driven on a motorcycle license, drivers paid less tax, and the oil crisis of the 1970s caused sales to rocket. It was this success that led to the derision, as there were actually loads of British three-wheeled microcars but no-ones heard of any of the others.

This brilliant Technic recreation of everyone’s (least)favourite British car comes from previous bloggee Danifill, who has not only replicated the Robin’s inline 4-cylinder engine, the steered and suspended centre wheel, and the live rear axle, he’s also equipped his Robin with a third-party BuWizz bluetooth battery and three (appropriately) Power Functions motors.

An XL Motor drives the rear wheels, a Servo powers the steering (which also turns the steering wheel), whilst a Medium motor controls a two-speed gearbox. There are also opening doors with functioning locks, an opening hood and tailgate, plus working head and taillights too.

It’s a great build of a crap but somewhat unfairly derided car and there’s more to see of Danifill’s ’90s Reliant Robin at the Eurobricks forum, where there’s also a video in which you can watch all three wheels in action.

Soviet Snowrunner

This is a UAZ 3151, one of the Soviet Union’s many fantastically-boringly-titled, but actually very capable off-roaders. Built by Keymaker, this stunning fully RC recreation of the Russian off-roader not only looks the part in both standard and off-road modified forms, it’s absolutely packed with brilliant Technic engineering.

Drive for all four wheels comes from two L Motors whilst a Servo controls the steering. A Medium Motor operates front and rear remotely locking differentials, and not only are both axles suspended, the suspension height can be adjusted via an L Motor to vary the ground clearance.

These off-road mods are apparently inspired the video game ‘Snowrunner’, and Keymaker has gone further with his Technic model equipping it with a removable hardtop roof, removable bodywork, folding rear seats, an opening glovebox, opening and locking doors, a working inline-4 engine, and LED head and tail lights.

It’s an incredible build and one that’s definitely worth a closer look. Head to Eurobricks for full details and a video of the UAZ in action, and to Bricksafe for the complete image gallery, where you can find outdoor shots and pictures of the model in various states of off-road modification.

F1x2

McLaren Automotive are continuing Britain’s long tradition of making cars that are excellent in almost every way, but which have the reliability Windows XP.

Back in the ’90s they outsourced this unreliability to BMW, but the results were still spectacular. The McLaren F1 was the fastest production car in the world, with a gold-lined engine bay and an amazing central driving position.

These two remarkably similar Speed Champions versions of the iconic ’90s supercar were independently found by two Elves today, sparking an inevitable Elf fight, and a dilemma for us in the office.

We’ve chosen to avoid conflict and publish both together, with the red car coming from Rolling Bricks, the grey one from Fabrice Larcheveque, and there’s more to see of each via the links.

Desert Storm

Saddam Hussein didn’t have the best record during his leadership. Despite his relative religious tolerance, creating world class healthcare and high quality education systems, and being an advocate for womens’ rights, Saddam still falls within TLCB’s unofficial ‘brutal scumbag dictator’ category.

Gassing his own people, crushing opposition, and numerous human rights abuses make sure the scales tip towards the negative, as does invading a neighbour in a despite over oil and effectively sending 50,000 Iraqi troops to their deaths, knowing full well the world would respond.

And respond it did, with a coalition led by the US of over thirty countries formed to liberate Kuwait from the Iraqi invasion. And it got a really cool name.

Operation Desert Storm restored Kuwaiti independence around seven months after the Iraqi invasion, with the final push into Kuwaiti City by coalition forces depicted here by Nicholas Goodman, in which a US tank and Humvee are cruising through a perfectly generic middle-eastern street.

Custom mini-figures, decals and weaponry add to the realism and there’s more to see of Nicholas’s recreation of Kuwaiti City in February 27th 1991 via both Flickr and the Eurobricks discussion forum.

I Owe You a 10 Second Car

‘The Fast & The Furious’ has a lot to answer for. Terrible dialogue, questionable physics, and finding a way (any way*) to keep characters going throughout the series (however absurd) are standard action-movie faux-pas, but the film franchise has had a larger and more irritating impact on the minds of internet commenters.

What? The new Supra doesn’t have a 2JZ? Not a Supra! What? The new Supra doesn’t have 1,000bhp from the factory? Not a Supra! What? The new Supra shares parts with BMW? Not a Supra!

OK internet commenters, here goes; The A80 Supra is not the fastest most awesomest car ever made. It was fairly fat cruiser for fairly fat people, with an engine that you could also get in a Toyota station wagon. Putting ‘NOS’ in it won’t give it 1,000bhp, and to get that power you’d need the world’s laggiest single-shot turbo, making the car borderline undrivable on the street.

Right, now that’s cleared up, here’s the fastest most awesomest car ever made, with ‘NOS’ and 1,000bhp.

Brian O’Conner’s modified A80 Toyota Supra Targa has become possibly the most revered movie car of all time, setting the stage for a dozen mostly terrible ‘Fast & Furious’ sequels, blasting fourth-generation Supra values into the stratosphere, and creating an unsurmountable barrier of hype for any future cars wearing the nameplate.

This glorious recreation of O’Conner’s A80 Supra brings the iconic movie car to life in full ‘Technic Supercar’ specification, with working suspension, gearbox, steering, and a replica 2JZ engine.

More importantly builder spiderbrick has faithfully replicated the slightly weird livery, bodykit, roll cage, nitrous system, and huge rear wing found on the movie car to such perfection that we can almost hear Dominic Toretto breathing the word ‘family‘ for the six-hundredth time for no discernible reason.

There’s loads more of Spider’s ‘The Fast & the Furious’ Toyota Supra A80 to see at his Brickshelf album, including a link to a video showing the model’s features, plus engine and chassis images. Click the link above to live your life a 1/4 mile at a time…

*Bad guy turns good? Check. Back from the dead? Check. Bad guy turns good again? Check.

New Sportscar Experimental

Honda’s NSX broke new ground when it launched in 1990. Whilst not the fastest or the most exotic supercar, it brought reliability and usability to a vehicular segment that had – in some cases – completely ignored these attributes in favour of silly doors.

This of course meant that the NSX was seen as a bit boring at the time, or even ‘not a super car’, at all, but time has been kinda Honda’s experiment, and it has become one of the most revered and iconic ’90s cars ever, with prices exploding in recent years.

This puts the NSX out of reach for most of us, but fortunately regular bloggee SP_LINEUP has constructed one that’s far more attainable, and just as awesome looking.

A detailed interior behind opening doors, a beautifully accurate engine under an opening cover, and – get this – working pop-up headlights via a lever in the cabin(!) all feature, and there’s much more to see of SP’s superbly presented build on Flickr. Click the link above to make the jump!

Mitsubishi Memories

Mitsubishi Motors make precisely nothing that we would ever want to buy, drive, or ride in.

That Mitsubishi’s recent emissions fraud in Japan meant their share price dropped low enough for the Renault-Nissan Alliance to buy them (and then confirm they were pulling the brand out of Europe altogether) only makes us pleased, because there’s less chance of us having to look at the back of one of these.

Which makes it all the sadder that Mitsubishi Motors used to make some rather excellent cars, such as the mid ’90s Galant, the weird FTO, and this, the Lancer Evolution.

With all four wheels driven by a two-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, the Lancer Evo and its Subaru Impreza WRX rival were way ahead of the European and American competition in the ’90s, as demonstrated by Japan’s utter dominance of the World Rally Championship at the time.

Both Subaru and Mitsubishi developed their cars every year or so too, with the latter handily applying roman numerals to the nameplate so it was easy to see who had the latest version.

This particular Lancer is a ‘V’, which appeared for just one year exactly halfway through the Evo’s development. Previous bloggee Fuku Saku has captured the Evo V brilliantly, using some properly clever techniques to recreate the late ’90s performance car icon.

There’s loads more of Fuku’s build to see at his ‘Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V’ album on Flickr; click the link above to make the jump, and remember a time when Mitsubishi made more than just air-conditioning units. And this.