Tag Archives: 1990s

Unim-odd

Lego Technic Mercedes-Benz Unimog U90 4x4

Just like your Mom, the Mercedes-Benz Unimog U90 is a bit… er, aesthetically challenged, but it likes to get dirty. With portal axles, four-wheel-drive and huge travel suspension the 1992 U90 series Unimog was about as capable an off-road vehicle as you could conceive, and it could be fitted with an enormous array of attachments and tools to suit almost any job. The strange off-centre hood was in fact designed to allow the driver to better see any tools attached to the front from the driver’s seat.

This neat Technic recreation of the asymmetrical ‘mog comes from previous bloggee Thirdwigg, and it’s just as odd on the outside and clever underneath as the real U90. Remote control drive and steering, four-wheel-drive via portal axles, live axle suspension, a 4-cylinder piston engine and a three-way tipper bed all feature, and you can see all of that lot plus a video of the model in action via Flickr, Brickshelf and Eurobricks.

Lego Technic Unimog U90 Remote Control

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Mazda MX-5 Miata – Picture Special

Lego Mazda MX-5 Miata

We love the Mazda MX-5 / Miata / Eunos here at The Lego Car Blog HQ. Although clearly stealing its exterior styling straight from the 1960s Lotus Elan, and launched with just 110bhp, the first generation ‘NA’ series MX-5 reinvigorated the sports car for the modern age.

Lego Mazda MX-5 Miata

Prior to the little Mazda’s launch in 1989 the small two-seat roadster species was almost extinct. The collapse of the British auto industry which had made most of the world’s roadsters, and the rise of the hot hatchback had seen the sales of sports cars plummet.

And then Mazda came along, with something small, cheap, fun and – uniquely for a roadster – reliable. The MX-5 sold by the boatload, and ensured the survival of the roadster formula as BMW, Porsche, Honda, Mercedes and others rushed to join the newly resurgent sports car market.

Lego Mazda MX-5 Miata

Mazda are now on their fourth generation MX-5 and it’s better than ever, but today we’re sticking with the original, the lovely early ’90s NA. This brilliant Creator-style replica of the first generation MX-5 is a commissioned piece and comes from Flickr’s BrickMonkey, featuring pop-up headlights, opening doors, hood and trunk, and including a detailed engine, interior and even chassis.

Lego Mazda MX-5 Miata

There’s loads more to see at BrickMonkey’s Flickr photostream. Click the link above to take your top off and have some fun in ’89!

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Having a Wankel

Lego Mazda RX-7 FD

This beautifully-constructed creation is the work of serial bloggee Senator Chinchilla and it is, as any fan of ’90s Japanese cars will know, Mazda’s legendary final-generation RX-7.

Powered by a Wankel rotary engine the RX-7 was just 1.3 litres in capacity, yet with twin turbo chargers the tiny unit made well over 250bhp. And this was back in the early 1990s too.

Production of the RX-7 ended in Japan in 2002 as Mazda geared up for the more usable RX-8 which followed it, and – fingers crossed – Mazda is readying the RX-8’s rotary-engined successor as we type. In the meantime you can check out this brilliant recreation of RX-8’s predecessor by visiting Senator Chinchilla’s photostream – click here to make the jump.

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Featured TFOL: Marco. QM

Lego Nissan Skyline GTR

You thought we’d forgotten about the ‘Featured TFOL’ (Teen Fan of Lego) feature didn’t you? Well you’re right. We had. But it’s back!

Here at The Lego Car Blog we have quite a strict criteria that must be met before a model is published. However occasionally we bend the rules just a little if a model is close, and if the builder is unlikely to have a billion bricks at their disposal. A Teen Fan of Lego for example.

Today’s featured builder is Marco. qm, who has been building cars for a little while. He’s also entered the recent Review My Set competition and suggested models himself via the Feedback and Submission Suggestions page. All of that is very nice, but it doesn’t earn a spot here. However, this does; his excellent Nissan Skyline GT-R R34.

Instantly recognisable, with opening doors, hood and trunk, and some interior and engine bay detailing too, it’s a model that’s worth a closer look. You can see more at Marco’s Flickr photostream, and you can discover all of our past Featured TFOL’s by clicking here.

Lego Nissan Skyline GTR

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Get Hard

Lego Technic Nissan D21 Hardbody

We’re not quite sure why Nissan’s late ’80s – early ’90s compact pick-up truck was called the ‘Hardbody’. All cars have a hard body. Well, apart from whatever this is. It’s also meant that today’s blog post titles are both a bit ambiguous in nature, so we’ll move on quickly and get to the technical stuff…

Built by previous bloggee Filsawgood of Flickr, this neat Technic Nissan D21 Hardbody is one of our favourite trucks of the year. It’s also one of our favourite trucks in real life, being the total antithesis of the hateful Dodge Ram and its ilk.

Filsawgood’s recreation of the little Nissan looks the part thanks to a few well designed Model Team style details, and it’s packing some decent Technic functionality underneath too, including remote control drive and steering and all-wheel suspension. There’s lots more to see at Filsawgood’s photostream – click the link above to get hard.

Lego Technic Nissan D21 Hardbody

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Jurassic Jeep

Lego Jurassic Park Jeep Wrangler RC

Steven Spielberg’s 1993 blockbuster ‘Jurassic Park’ didn’t feature many vehicles. The stars of the movie were definitely the big lizards, but nevertheless the few vehicles that did appear in the film have gathered a bit of a following. This is one of them, the early ’90s Jeep Wrangler, and it’s been recreated beautifully in full Jurassic Park specification by previous bloggee Silva Vasil.

Lego Jurassic Park Jeep Wrangler RC

Powered by LEGO’s LiPo battery, Silva’s Jeep features remote control drive and steering (via an XL and Servo motor respectively), all-wheel drive, suspension, working headlights, opening doors, hood and tailgate, and a folding windshield.

Silva has photographed his build beautifully too, and you can see all of the images via his Flickr photostream – click the link above to go on an adventure 65million years in the making…

Lego Jurassic Park Jeep

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Civic Duty

Lego Technic Honda Civic EG

Ah, the humble Honda Civic. Built in TLCB’s home nation, and once – even if not any more – the byword for advanced yet reliable hatchbackery.

The Civic has since been overtaken by the Korean brands here in Europe, but early examples are still a reasonably regular sight on the roads due to their legendary reliability. It’s an even more common sight on the banger track, as early Civics are worth about £5 and they can take a serious amount of punishment before heading to the great carpark in the sky.

America is where the Honda Civic was really successful though, where – despite it being basically the same car as the one we have in Europe – the little Japanese hatch has trodden a very different path in the annuls of automotive history.

Today early Stateside Civics seem to all have one thing in common; modifications. Bad modifications. Here at TLCB we’re not really sure why this is, seeing as gas, cars, and insurance are so cheap in the ‘States why not just buy a faster car in the first place?

Lego Honda Civic

The upshot of this is that finding an original unmodified early Civic is like trying to find an educated climate change denier – it’s virtually impossible. Which is a shame, as the late ’80s and early ’90s Civics were great little cars when left as Honda intended.

If you’re reading this in America and have a hankering for an unmolested slice of early ’90s Honda pie, get on Craigslist, find 78 year old Mavis who’s recently given up driving, and buy her Civic. It’ll be a classic one day. Probably.

Alternatively though, you could build your own, which is exactly what TLCB regular Nico71 has done. Based on the ’90s fifth generation (EG) Civic hatch, Nico’s creation is gloriously simple looking. It’s not simple inside though, as a full RC Power Functions drivetrain and rear suspension system have been squeezed in.

It’s quite a feat of packaging and handily Nico has taken photos that show how it’s all been done. You can see all of the images of Nico’s little Technic Honda, inside and out, via Brickshelf – click the link above to make the jump to ’91.

Lego Technic RC Honda Civic

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Rat Race

Lego Nissan 180SX

As you can imagine with a blog as ropey as this one, an Elven workforce held together with Pritt Stick, and our penchant for your Mom, we very much like objects of a slightly aesthetically-challenged nature here at TLCB. This is one such object, an absolutely brilliant Nissan 180SX drift pig by VovaRychkov. What the Nissan lacks in sleek looks we’re sure it more than makes up for in smokey sidewaysyness, and we know which we’d rather have. There’s more to see at Vova’s photostream and you can check out all the images by clicking here.

Lego Nissan 180SX

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Dropped D21

Lego Technic Nissan D21 Remote Control

No sooner had we published a reader review of LEGO’s infamous buggy motor than two Elves returned to TLCB Towers with a Buggy Motor powered creation. Maybe they can read after all? The first of their Buggy Motor propelled finds you can view below, the second is this; Filsawgood’s brilliant 1991 Nissan D21 Hardbody pick-up.

Like today’s other blogged model Filsawgood’s D21 uses the combination of a Buggy Motor driving the rear wheels, a Servo for steering, and a third-party SBrick for control via bluetooth device, plus there’s all-wheel suspension and custom stickers.

The D21 hardbody is also a damn cool antidote for our deep-rooted loathing of the pick-up truck genre at the hands of hateful crap like the Dodge Ram. You can see more of Filsawgood’s glorious early ’90s Nissan at both Flickr and Eurobricks – click the links for the full gallery, build details, and a video of the truck in action.

Lego Datsun Nissan D21 Hardbody Pick-Up

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Black Plastic

Lego Mitsubishi Pajero

If there’s one defining characteristic of Japanese cars from the 1990s it’s Black Plastic. Lots of Black Plastic. Despite this affliction the ’90s were something of a golden age for Japanese manufacturers, when Toyota, Mitsubishi and Subaru all ruled the WRC, Mazda won at Le Mans, and Honda were Formula 1 World Champions.

However, unlike today’s other ’90s Japanese post, this car isn’t one of the era’s highlights. The Mitsubishi Shogun / Pajero was quite a successful 4×4 (long before the term ‘SUV’ came into being), but it came from a time when all 4x4s were, frankly, a bit crap. This one is the three-door Pajero, which makes it particularly pointless. Oddly though, with the rise of the increasingly unnecessary small-SUV, it’d probably be quite popular these days.

This excellent Model Team replica of the Mitsubishi Pajero has been built by TLCB regular Senator Chinchilla, and he’s absolutely nailed the ’90s Black Plastic. There’s more to see at his photostream – click the link above to make the trip.

Lego Mitsubishi Shogun Pajero

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Nineties Nissan

Lego Nissan 180SX

This neat modified Nissan 180SX was discovered by one of our Elves on Flickr. It’s the work of VovaRychkov and it reminds us of a time when Nissan’s European line-up wasn’t entirely made of crossovers. There’s more to see of Vova’s classic ’90s Nissan at his photostream – click the link above to make the jump.

Lego Nissan 180SX

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Build-Your-Own

Lego Porsche 911 Convertible

We were very excited when we first broke the news of LEGO’s brilliant-looking 42056 Porsche 911 GT3 set, especially when TLCB anoraks deciphered that it would feature a working paddle-shift gearbox. Unfortunately the reality of 42056 – especially that much hyped gearbox – hasn’t lived up to the sky-high expectations that preceded it, a fact made all to clear here at TLCB. So what if you’d like a Technic Porsche that doesn’t cost the earth and that works? Well handily we have two answers for you today…

First up (above) is paave’s fantastic 964 series 911 cabriolet. With working steering, a flat-6 engine, and opening doors, hood and engine cover, paave’s creation has everything you’d expect to find in a small Technic set, and to these eyes it looks better than the official 42056 product too. You can see more of this excellent build on both MOCpages and Eurobricks via these links.

Second (below) is Horcik Designs‘ effort, and it too looks a fine home-brewed attempt at bettering LEGO’s official 911 GT3 set. With working steering, a flat-6 engine, a functioning gearbox, all-wheel independent suspension, a working clutch, and a pneumatically adjustable rear spoiler Horcik’s creation is what LEGO’s could have been if they hadn’t spent so much money on a fancy booklet for collectors (who won’t open the box anyway so it’s wasted on them). There’s more to see of Horcik’s Porcshe 911 on Flickr at the link above, and you can check out a very disgruntled review rant of the official LEGO Technic 42056 Porsche 911 GT3 set by clicking here.

Lego Technic Porsche 911

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Tignado

Panavia Tornado ECR - Tigermeet

We’re not sure why this Panavia Tornado ECR is wearing a tiger-stripe paint-job – if anything it’s more conspicuous – but we must admit that it looks ridiculously good. It’s the work of previous bloggee Kenneth Vaessen and you can see more at his photostream by clicking here.

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What’s in a Name?

Lego SAAB 39 Gripen

Company names are bit weird these days. Saab automotive died a few years ago when General Motors killed it off, but the Saab Aerospace and Defence business, which separated from the automotive company in 1990 (in the same way that the Rolls Royce aero engine and vehicle companies used to be one business until 1973) is going strong.

Powered by an RM12 after-burning jet engine produced by Volvo Aero (which no longer has anything to do with Volvo cars. Or trucks for that matter, although Volvo trucks do own Renault trucks, which have nothing to do with Renault cars… This is getting confusing…) the Saab JAS 39 Gripen can reach Mach 2 and is currently in service with four national air forces. Around 250 Gripens have been produced since launching in 1997, with several other air forces recently placing orders for the latest versions.

This superb Lego recreation of the Swedish fighter comes from previous bloggee Stefan Johansson, who is continuing his chronology of Saab aircraft. There’s lots more to see at his Flickr photostream at the link above, and you can see Stefan’s past Saab (aerospace) builds to feature here via this bonus link.

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UMM…

Lego UMM Alter II

This slightly sad looking vehicle is an UMM Alter II, built from ’86 until ’96 by Portuguese metal-works União Metalo-Mecânica, primarily for use in utilities and military applications.

Based on a design bought from France and mostly fitted with Peugeot engines the UMM Alter was a surprisingly tough and capable machine, with 10,000 finding a home in UMMs markets around the Mediterranean and Africa.

This perfectly recreated Model Team replica of the UMM Alter II is the work of Flick’s Biczzz and it features working steering, rear suspension and opening doors and hood. There a large gallery of images available and you can see more via the link above.

Lego UMM Alter II 4x4 Biczzz

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