Tag Archives: 1990s

Beat It

‘Sports’ cars today have about a thousand horsepower and weigh sixteen tons. Except when they’re EVs, and then it’s double that. Which is why we love the Honda Beat.

Built to Japan’s kei-car regulations in the early ’90s, the Beat had only 660cc, 63bhp, and weighed in at just 760kgs. Which means your Mom could double the kerb-weight just by getting in. Not that she’d fit.

This neat Speed Champions Beat was found by one of our Elves on Flickr, coming from Ilya Muratov who has captured the ’90s kei icon wonderfully. Jump in via the link to Ilya’s Flickr album above. If you fit.

*Today’s title song. Of course.

Iveco Overland Adventure

Social media is bursting with #van/truck/buslife content. Attractive couples bedecked in hot pants and topknots regale their audience with tales of adventure, ethically-sourced all-natural vegan cuisine, and a life lived off the beaten track, only returning to civilisation to connect to Starbucks’ wifi to upload their latest vlog.

Back in 1995 though, a team of Italian overlanding experts did things properly. Using four amazing Iveco 330.30 6×6 trucks, each outfitted for a different overlanding purpose by specialists Mussa & Graziano, the team travelled over 170,000kms through 91 countries during the five year expedition.

Better yet, there wasn’t a ‘Like & Subscribe!’ in sight, with the expedition supporting Unicef (one of TLCB’s own chosen charities) and staffed by doctors, an Italian parachute regiment, Iveco mechanics, and other people that – whilst they might not have a topknot – do know what they’re doing.

This phenomenal Technic creation captures one of the four incredible Iveco vehicles from the epic expedition, and comes from previous bloggee Lucio Switch of Flickr.

With remote control 6×6 drive, steering, locking differentials, all-wheel suspension, and a fully-accessible cab and living quarter, Lucio’s model replicates the Mussa & Graziano modified Iveco 330.30 6×6 overland truck spectacularly, and there’s a whole lot more to see at both his Flickr album and via the video below.

Click the links to start your expedition. Topknot not required.

YouTube Video

Protecting the Earth from the Scum of the Universe

It’s 1997, the year the Kyoto Protocol ensured that CO2 emissions were reduced to avert climate change, a small ethical start-up called Google registered their domain name, and Will Smith cemented his legacy as a forever wholesome family rapper.

It was also the year that said wholesome family rapper starred in one of the biggest movies of the decade; ‘Men in Black’, wherein an organisation ‘more secretive than the C.I.A. and more powerful than the F.B.I.’ went on a recruitment drive to help protect Earth from the scum of the universe.

Will Smith’s character of course got the gig, entering him into a top secret world of memory-erasing pen thingies and carboniser fission guns, plus the rather unique vehicles that the ‘Men in Black’ had at their disposal, including a fleet of 1987 Ford LTD Crown Victorias.

In standard form the ’87 Crown Vic could have been an entry into TLCB’s Festival of Mundanity competition, so deep was its nondescriptness. However, the Men in Black version came equipped with a few… optional extras, most notably a little red button that initiated a sequence of the finest CGI that 1997 could muster.

Previous bloggee Peter Zieske has captured the effects of pushing the aforementioned button beautifully in brick form, with the result perhaps even more visually believable than its movie counterpart.

Further images of Peter’s brilliant transforming ‘Men in Black’ Ford LTD Crown Vic can be found at his Flickr album, and you can click here to take a look, whilst we ponder the fact that the entire world seems to have been on the receiving end of the ‘Men in Black’s memory-erasing pen thingy since 1997…

Senna & Cigarettes

Formula 1 was different in 1991. Cigarettes, a variety of engine configurations, and only one Unites States Grand Prix. Oh, and a titanic battle between McLaren’s Ayrton Senna and Williams’ Nigel Mansell, that culminated in a third Driver’s World Championship for Senna and the only Constructor’s World Championship ever won by a V12 powered car.

This is that car, the awesome McLaren-Honda MP4/6, as designed, liveried, rendered and presented beautifully by Robson M aka BrickDesigners, and there’s more to see of Robson’s stunning recreation on Flickr. Click the link above to race in ’91.

Beige Box

The early-’90s Lincoln Town Car. It’s daytime TV, your Aunt’s Facebook posts, and the Brothers Brick’s office party. If it were a food it would be a plain boiled potato. It’s lift music, a teenage girl’s Instagram feed, and a holiday with your parents’ friends. It is almost unfathomably unexciting.

Which means we think it’s excellent. At least, in Lego form. You couldn’t pay us to drive the real thing.

This fabulous Model Team recreation of one the single blandest vehicles ever devised comes from Flickr’s Jakub Marcisz, who has constructed the 1990 Lincoln Town Car in gloriously appropriate beige and brown magnificence.

Working steering, an opening hood, trunk and doors, and an interior of quite immense browness  completes the creation, and there’s a whole lot more of Jakub’s Lincoln to see at his photostream. Put on daytime TV, scroll through your Aunt’s Facebook posts, and head into a mindless void of mundanity* via the link above.

And if you like the mundane as much as we do, you can check out our recent Festival of Mundanity by clicking here. It’ll be the most boring thing you click on today. Unless you visit the Brothers Brick of course.

E36

BMWs have a weird lifecycle in TLCB’s home market. Mass-market Germanic greyness when new, they become increasingly popular with the scumbag portion of the population as their age increases and value drops.

During this phase many are poorly maintained, even more poorly modified, and then scrapped when something expensive inevitably breaks. But for the few that dodge the hands of the scumbags, a sunny future of classic status awaits.

The E36 3-Series is not yet at that point, but it’s not far off, making now the perfect time to buy. If you can find one that hasn’t been scumbagged of course.

Fuku Saku‘s BMW 3-Series E36 Coupe – with its big wing, bodykit and phat exhaust – is probably a car to steer well clear of in real life, but happily in brick form is rather excellent, and captures the E36 in its current usually-spotted state brilliantly.

A wealth of top-quality imagery is available to view, and you can check out Fuku’s E36 on Flickr via the link. Take a look whilst we trawl the ads to try and find one of the last remaining good ones.

Suzuki’s Peak

If you’re of a certain age (like this TLCB Writer) then you will absolutely know this car.

Playstation’s Gran Turismo 2 ruled racing games in the late ’90s. Populated with all manner of awesome mostly-Japanese cars from the county’s car-building zenith, pixilated racing glory could be yours at the wheel of an Impreza, a Skyline GT-R, a Supra, an RX-7, or a multitude of other machinery.

Of course you had to work your way up through a soup of crappy Suzukis and Daihatsus to get to the good stuff, but even they had some late ’90s monsters available in digital form. OK, Daihatsu didn’t, but Suzuki did; the mighty Escudo Pikes Peak.

Based on the humble Vitara (although it resembled the Vitara about as much as this TLCB Writer does Ryan Reynolds), the Escudo Pikes Peak produced almost 1,000bhp from a mid-mounted bi-turbo V6, and could do o-60mph in 3.5 seconds. On gravel.

Built for one race (the Pikes Peak…), the Suzuki Escudo won the 1995 event in the hands Nobuhiro Tajima, before he returned in the mid-’00s to win a further six consecutive Pike Peaks with Suzuki, by which time the Escudo was already a legend with an entire generation of Playstation owners.

This instantly recognisable Speed Champions homage to the iconic Gran Turismo 2 star and Suzuki outlier comes from Sergio Batista, with custom decals and bespoke wheels maximising the realism (far beyond what 1999 gaming graphics could manage…).

Building instructions are available and you can re-live your youth at Sergio’s photostream via the link above.

Twin Turbos

Suggested by a reader, these two Porsche 911 Turbos come from Petey Bird of Flickr, who has captured the 1990s incarnation of Porsche’s iconic sports car beautifully in Speed Champions form. Curve bricks are used in abundance to replicate the famous shape, with some rather clever side-windows too, and there’s more of Petey’s Porsches to see at his photostream via the link above.

EuroVan

This is the Volkswagen EuroVan, or the T4 Transporter to most of the world, produced from the early-’90s to the early-’00s, and available as a van, passenger vehicle, kombi, chassis-cab, pick-up and camper.

This one, being called a ‘EuroVan’, is the North American version, where the T4 Transporter was sold from 1992 and 2003, almost exclusively with VR6-power. In Europe we could get a 1.9 naturally-aspirated diesel with 60bhp, so really we think the ‘states should’ve got that one…

Anyway, this EuroVan comes from previous bloggee Danifill, who has recreated the ’90s Volkswagen brilliantly in Technic form. There’s remote control drive and steering via a BuWizz bluetooth brick, independent front and live axle rear suspension, working head and tail lights, and brick built VR6 engine under the opening hood.

There’s more to see at the Eurobricks discussion forum – make the jump to all the details, imagery, and a video of the van in action via the link in the text above.

My Other Car’s a Mustang

America likes naming cars after animals. Thus this viper is borne of a horse, being constructed solely from the pieces found within the excellent Creator 10265 Ford Mustang set.

Besides a few mis-coloured clips you’d be hard pushed to tell that Marcin Majkowski’s Dodge Viper is a Mustang in disguise, plus the doors and hood open, there’s a detailed interior, and a lifelike V10 engine too.

Building instructions are available and there’s more to see of Marcin’s 10265 B-Model on Flickr – click the link above to swap one animal for another.

‘That’ Toyota Supra

If there’s one car responsible for the over-hyping of an entire model line-up, this is it.

Brian O’Connor’s ’10 second’ Toyota Supra from 2001’s ‘The Fast and the Furious’ took a fairly fat, mostly automatic GT cruiser and turned it into a 1,000bhp legend. Complete with orange paintwork and the stupidest stickers, millions of teenagers suddenly had a new hero car, and the internet has been full of arguments about 2JZs ever since.

However even TLCB Team, convinced though we are that the ‘Fast & Furious’ movie franchise is one of the worst Hollywood has ever produced, have to admit that LEGO is on to a winner by turning the films’ star cars into official sets.

The Technic 42111 ‘Dom’s Dodge Charger’ set is rather good, and LEGO have now shrunk the big bald baby’s car to Speed Champions scale as well. But LEGO don’t just have a license with Dodge. They have one with Toyota too…

We’re pretty sure that an official LEGO ‘Fast & Furious’ Toyota Supra set will follow, but ArtemyZotov of Eurobricks couldn’t wait, and thus has built his own ‘Brian O’Connor’s Toyota Supra’ from the first ‘Fast & Furious’ movie, matching the scale of the official Technic 42111 Dodge Charger set.

So good is Artemy’s Technic Supra that we think LEGO will struggle to top it, and not only does it really look the part (stupid stickers included), it features remote control drive and steering, opening doors and hood, and a modular chassis and body.

There’s lots more to see at the Eurobricks forum and via the video below, plus Artemy has made building instructions and a download for the decals available too, so you can build this Supra for yourself at home. If you own the Technic 42111 Dom’s Dodge Charger set and a LEGO train, you know what you need to do!

YouTube Video

Pink & Slippy

This is resolutely not this TLCB Writer’s kind of car. But the rest of the staff are ‘busy’ in the corridor doing something with a remote control bulldozer and some Elven ‘volunteers’, so it falls to him to write about a pink drift-pig BMW.

That said, whilst this model is based on a real and eye-searing car, Fuku Saku‘s brick-built homage to the sideways E36 is thoroughly excellent, being both instantly recognisable as an E36 3-Series Coupe, and managing to replicate the drifty modifications of the real thing.

The doors and hood open to reveal further cleverness within, and there’s more to see of Fuku’s E36 Drift Car at his album of the same name on Flickr. Click the link above to go sliding about in something pink.

Prowler

In the late ’90s to mid 00’s, American car manufacturers went nuts. There was the Chrysler PT Cruiser, the Pontiac Aztek, the Chevrolet SSR, and this, the Plymouth Prowler.

Inspired by hot rods of the ’40s and ’50s, the Chrysler Corporation hoped the Prowler would reinvigorate the dying Plymouth brand, and the wild two-seat rear-wheel-drive sports car certainly made headlines upon its reveal in 1997.

Sadly though, like everything else coming from the Chrysler Corporation in the late ’90s, it was also complete crap.

A 3.5 litre V6 from Chrysler minivans – making just over 200bhp – mated to a four speed automatic gearbox (four!) did not an invigorating drive make, whilst interior and build quality was, well… typical ’90s Chrysler

Less than 12,000 Prowlers were sold before its demise, along with the entire Plymouth brand, in 2002, whilst Chrysler itself filed for bankruptcy just seven years later.

But here at TLCB we still applaud the Prowler, as we much prefer interesting cars to good ones (which is probably why we’re writing about cars and not managing a car company…). However it probably would’ve been better for everyone if the Prowler had been built by anyone other than late-’90s Chrysler.

Oh yeh, the model! This superb Speed Champions scale Plymouth Prowler captures the outlandish design brilliantly – no mean feat at this scale – and there’s more to see courtesy of Thomas Gion of Flickr. Click the link to take a look!

Caprice Classic

TLCB’s home nation didn’t get to the enjoy the delights of ’90s full-size American sedans. And by ‘delights’, we mean oversize bodywork, fantastically lazy engines, and the plastics quality of a Kinder Egg toy. This is one such car, the Chevrolet Caprice Classic.

Launched in ’91, the fourth generation of Chevy’s full-size sedan wore new aerodynamic but unpopular bodywork, carried over V8 engines from the previous generation, and rode on a chassis from 1977. Which unbelievably was enough to earn it Motor Trend’s ‘Domestic Car of the Year’, showing just how rubbish American cars were in 1991.

This excellent 6-wide homage to the early-’90s American barge comes from aaref1ev of Flickr, who has captured the Caprice Classic brilliantly, also rendering the design in NYPD and Taxi Cab flavours. Head to aaref1ev’s photostream to jump back to the early-’90s, and be thankful that automotive era is long over…

Proper Off-Roader

We love a proper off-roader here at TLCB, and they don’t come much properer than this; the Jeep Cherokee XJ. Particularly when they’ve been outfitted for proper off-roading like this one has.

Builder filsawgood has equipped his fully remote controlled Technic ’90s Jeep Cherokee with a snorkel, lifted suspension, wide arches and oversize tyres, a winch, roof cage, and a differential locker, and there’s lots more to see of his off-road modded Jeep (including a video) at the Eurobricks forum.

Click the link above for some proper off-roading.