Tag Archives: 2010s

Gives You Wings

The 2021 Formula 1 season is about to begin, with the team reveals arriving thick and fast. TLCB – with our finger on the pulse as usual – are bringing you a car from 2011…

Of course what colour sponsorship the teams have this year won’t change the fact that they’ll be fighting for second place, and we’ll be watching Formula-1-driver-cum-irritating-eco-warrior Lewis Hamilton cruise to an 8th World Championship in the dominant Mercedes-AMG.

However it wasn’t always Mercedes-Benz who ruled Formula 1. In fact there have been several teams that have dominated the sport for a period, including Williams (remember that!), McLaren, Ferrari*, and – just before the current AMG-whitewash – Red Bull.

From 2010 to 2014 Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel won four consecutive World Championships, in part due to this car; the fabulous Adrian Newey designed ‘blown diffuser’ RB7, that used exhaust gasses to create downforce even when the engine was coasting. Not bad for a soft drinks company.

This brilliant recreation of the title-winning Red Bull RB7 comes from Noah_L of Flickr, who has not only built and photographed his RB7 absolutely beautifully, he’s endowed it with some of the most realistic (and complicated) decals we’ve ever seen on a Lego model, even down to the ‘Pirelli P Zero’ labels on the tyres.

It’s a wonderfully accurate build, with removable rear bodywork, a highly detailed engine, and spindly ‘suspension’, and there are loads more stunning images to see at Noah’s ‘Red Bull RB7’ album.

Click the link to head to a time before Mercedes-Benz domination, taking the knee, spectator-less venues, and Lewis Hamilton tweeting that we need to do more for the environment from inside his private jet.

*We know the link isn’t to a dominant early 2000s Ferrari, because surprisingly the Archives reveal we’ve never blogged a Scuderia Ferrari from the Schumacher-era. However we will take any opportunity to remind people that Ferrari are scumbags… Here’s the link again.

The Future was Electric

This is a BMW i3, one of the first dedicated electric cars from a mainstream manufacturer, and one of the weirdest too.

Launched in 2013 the i3 brought the arrival of BMW’s ‘i’ sub-brand (‘i’ because German car brands have zero imagination and if in doubt, stick an ‘i’ in front of it), and it was quite unlike any of BMW’s other products. A suicide-doored B-Seg MPV-style hatchback, the i3 was powered by either an electric motor, or an electric motor backed up by a motorcycle engine generator.

Despite this oddity the i3 was mostly well received, and sales have climbed every year since launch as electrification has become increasingly accepted, although they still haven’t topped more than 40,000 annually. However the i3’s strangeness – and its moderate success – mean there will be no replacement.

These days you don’t need an electric car to be deliberately weird; a regular car that happens to be electric is the order of the day, thus there is no place in BMW’s line-up for a suicide-doored B-Seg MPV-style hatchback.

Nor is there a place for an EV sub-brand like ‘i’, as the UK and many other European countries implement new car combustion-engine bans from as little as four years’ time. By then, if you’re not selling EVs, you’re not selling anything. Which also means of course, that technically the electric i3 with its little range-extending petrol-powered motorcycle engine, will also be banned.

Still, it was fun while it lasted, and Rolands Kirpis has paid tribute to BMW’s first EV with this rather excellent Model Team recreation of the i3, complete with a brilliantly detailed interior, opening hatchback, front trunk, and even the weird suicide doors too.

There’s much more for the model to see at Rolands’ ‘BMW i3’ album, where several top quality images are available to view. Click the link above to take a look at BMW’s past vision of an electrified future.

In a Car Built For Two

The Smart Fortwo is brilliant.

The result of an unlikely collaboration between Mercedes-Benz and watch-maker Swatch, the original Fortwo launched in the late 1990s and it was a triumph of packaging. A little turbocharged three-cylinder was mounted under the boot floor, the ingenious Tridion safety cell was a visible part of the car’s exterior, and it was short enough that you could park end-on to the curb. It even qualified for Kei car status in Japan.

The Fortwo quickly became the must-have European fashion accessory, before – as with all must-have fashion accessories – becoming yesterday’s news. Sales dwindled, as European consumers decided to copy America for some reason and discerned that enormous SUVs are actually the most appropriate vehicle for crowded city streets. We’re genuinely worried for the future of humanity sometimes…

There are a few cities (such as Rome) where Smart Fortwos are literally everywhere, but these days the car only lives on as a small-selling EV, which everyone ignores from behind the wheel of enormous SUVs.

This neat Technic recreation of the second generation Fortwo comes from Matthew Terentev (aka osterum), and it’s packed with clever functionality. There’s working front and rear suspension, steering via both HOG and the (fur-wrapped) steering wheel, a three-cylinder piston engine hooked up the rear wheels, opening doors, and even a fold-flat passenger seat as per the real car.

There’s loads more of Matthew’s Technic Fortwo to see at both Flickr and Eurobricks – click the links above to take a look, whilst we ponder a car that should have transformed urban driving, if only we’d all been Smart enough to realise it.

The Answer’s Always ‘Miata’

Ask the internet any sports car question and the answer is always ‘Miata’. Except when it’s ‘Put an LS in it’. Although sometimes the answer is both.

Today’s answer is Miata too, courtesy of David Elisson‘s neatly recreated version of the iconic Japanese sports car in its fourth (ND) generation.

There’s space for two mini-figures, the doors and hood open (the latter revealing a well detailed engine underneath), and – rather impressively – the convertible roof works too.

Click the link above for the obvious answer.

AMG AdVantage

Aston Martin have always been on the brink of financial ruin. However the late ’00s proved something of a renaissance for the firm. Out from Ford control they created some beautiful and rather good supercars, which – in an unusual turn of events – actually made them some money.

The cars have got even better since then, but sadly the financial woes have returned. Hopes are pinned on the new DBX SUV, which is sad state of affairs but we suppose the Cayenne saved Porsche, and – horrible though it is – selling SUVs allowed the brand to survive and keep making 911s.

Aston Martin have also received some new investment, firstly from Mercedes-Benz AMG, who now supply their engines and electrics, and secondly from Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll.

If that name’s familiar to you it’s because he’s F1 driver Lance Stroll’s father, who ‘coincidentally’   now owns the team his son drives for, Racing Point, previously Force India.

Racing Point will become ‘Aston Martin Racing’ for the 2021 season, which fills us with dread (remember Ford shoving Jaguar into Formula 1 back in the early ’00s?…), but we guess it makes marginally more sense than their pointless current sponsorship of Red Bull Racing, who use Honda engines and have absolutely nothing to do with Aston Martin whatsoever, besides banking a cheque that could be better spent on literally anything else.

Anyway, we hope it works out, because Aston Martin can still build some wonderful cars, such as this; the AMG-powered V8 Vantage.

This excellent Model Team recreation of the 2018 V8 Vantage comes from previous bloggee Alexander Paschoaletto, and he’s captured the real car brilliantly. Opening doors and hood reveal a detailed interior and engine bay respectively, and there’s more of the build to see at Alexander’s ‘Aston Martin V8 Vantage’ album on Flickr.

Click the link above to take a look, and cross your fingers for Aston Martin in 2021…

Another 911

LEGO have a burgeoning partnership with Porsche. Sets like 42056, 42096, and 75895 have brought brick versions of real-world Porsches to bedroom floors everywhere, plus we’ve featured dozens of Porsche creations here at The Lego Car Blog over the years.

This is another, 3D supercarBricks Model Team 911 Carrera 4 GTS, and they’ve done a great job too. Opening doors, front trunk, and an accurate pop-up rear spoiler are included, and there’s more to see of 3D’s excellent 911 on Flickr. Click the link above to take a look.

Box Clever

Japan has two car markets; one for ‘normal’ cars like Corollas, Crowns and suchlike, and the other – the kei class – for vehicles such as these two.

Designed to ensure that car ownership in Japan’s tight streets and congested cities doesn’t completely break the road network, kei cars must measure less than 3.4m in length, 1.48m in width, and have an engine no bigger than 660cc (if powered by an internal combustion engine).

Denoted by their yellow number plates, kei cars benefit from lower taxation than regular cars, but they must comply with reduced speed limits too. Although that’s probably so they don’t fall over.

Over one in three cars sold in Japan are in the kei class, and the specs can be wild, with turbocharging, all-wheel-drive, and even convertible sports cars available.

Most kei cars however, look like these two; a box measuring exactly 3.4m long and 1.48m wide, precisely maximising the interior space within the permitted exterior dimensions.

The Daihatsu Move Canbus and the Honda N-Box Slash pictured here are both the work of Flickr’s Ralph Savelsberg, who has constructed them in his trademark Miniland style.

Each packs as much detail as possible into a tiny package, which is appropriate, and there’s more of each build to see at Ralph’s photostream. Click the link above to see what’s inside the box.

Lamborghini SC18 Alston | Picture Special

Lamborghini have built more special editions than your Mom’s had KFC Bargain Buckets. This is another one that no-one in TLCB Office had heard of, the SC18 Alston.

Based on an Aventador, just one SC18 Alston was built to fulfil a single (and very bespoke) customer order, engineered under the supervision of Lamborghini’s motorsports division. Parts from the Huracan Super Trofio EVO and Centenario were used, alongside several parts unique to the car.

The result was another one-off Lamborghini, and – with such limited information available – a nightmare for anyone trying to recreate it from LEGO bricks.

That’s hasn’t stopped Noah_L though, who has not only managed to recreate the SC18 Alston, he’s absolutely nailed it.

Using building techniques that look like they required a degree in quantum mechanics, Noah has successfully replicated the SC18’s wild exterior to perfection, even gradually increasing the model’s width by a single stud down the length of the car. Scissor doors, a detailed engine bay under an opening engine cover, and a realistic interior complete the build.

An extensive gallery of stunning imagery is available to view on Flickr, and you can see more of Noah’s beautifully presented Lamborghini SC18 Alston by clicking here.

Yellow Tinted Glasses

The world’s most vibrant cities have often been defined by their public transport system. London’s red Routemaster bus, Tokyo’s Toyota Crown with its amazing self opening doors, Hong Kong’s wonderful Star Ferries, and – perhaps most iconic of all – New York City’s yellow cabs.

Checker sedans and Ford Crown Victorias were long part of NYC’s street furniture, and were big, softly sprung, and almost ridiculously inappropriate for taking one or two people a short distance at a low speed.

Despite their thirst, pollution, and unnecessary size, to a tourist they were somehow rather wonderful, however recently (and probably rightly) their days were numbered.

Today few cities have their own bespoke taxis. The cost of developing or adapting a vehicle for just a few thousand sales a year is too great, thus New York’s yellow cabs can now be one of any number of mainstream vehicles that are about as interesting as a white sock. Even if they’re yellow.

Flickr’s Ralph Savelsberg, whose glorious classic Checker NYC cab appeared here a few days ago, has now updated his brick-built taxi fleet inline with New York’s recent changes, building this excellent (and incredibly boring) Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

We’re sure that Toyota’s large SUV makes a far better taxi than the Ford Crown Vics and Checkers that preceded it, but when it’s the very same car used to collect Tommy and Ashleigh from school, it’s somehow not better at all.

There’s more to see of Ralph’s NYC Highlander at his ‘LEGO NYC Taxis’ album on Flickr, where you can also find his Lego recreations of a few other real-world yellow cabs that might not be as good, yet are somehow better in every way.

Brick Built Bimmer

Gosh do we hate the BMW X3. Not a much as the X7, which numerically we hate just over twice as much, but still. However, our thoughts on BMW’s affront to ‘compact’ SUV styling are – like pretty much everything we write – moot, because the X3 has been a phenomenal success for the German brand.

Now seventeen years and three generations in, around two million X3s have been produced, and today we can add one more to that number, courtesy of Jeroen Ottens and the brilliant Technic recreation you can see here.

Powered by two L Motors with a Medium Motor delivering the steering, Jeroen’s X3 can be controlled via bluetooth thanks to a third-party SBrick, which has also been programmed to operate the LED head and tail lights (including indicators), and the Servo controlled drive-mode select, which can send all the power to the rear wheels, 25% front and 75% rear, or 50/50 all-wheel-drive via a centre differential.

It’s an ingenious piece of engineering and there’s more to see on both Flickr and at Jeroen’s website, where building instructions are also available. Click the links to check it out.

My Other Bird is a Horse

Nothing says ‘America’ like voter fraud apparently*. A close second however, is the Ford F-150 pick-up, especially in Raptor specification and with stars-and-stripes FORD lettering across the front.

This fantastic recreation of America’s favourite uprated off-road pick-up comes from Master MOCer and vehicle-building legend Firas Abu-Jaber, who has created it entirely from the parts found within the official 10265 Ford Mustang set.

Despite the limitations of its parts-base, Firas’ F-150 Raptor not only looks superb, it features working steering, opening doors, a functioning sunroof, a dropping tailgate, and a detailed engine underneath the opening hood.

There’s much more to see of Firas’ 10265 B-Model at his ‘Ford F150 Raptor’ album on Flickr, where around twenty stunning images are available to view.

You can also find building instructions for the Raptor available at Firas’ excellent new website Bricks Garage, where instructions for over a dozen of Firas’ builds are available for download, including a range of set alternates. Find out more here!

*Yes we are taking the piss.

Probably Pixellated Porsche

We’re not 100% sure that this superb Porsche 911 Carrera GTS by 3D supercarBricks is a virtual build, but that’s why it can appear here – it looks that good. Opening doors, a detailed interior, and some rather cunning SNOTery are all present, and there’s more to see of 3D’s probably digital Porka on Flickr via the link above.

Collection of Letters

We’ve said it before, but Mercedes-Benz’s naming structure is about as interesting and imaginative as a Brothers Brick article on piece sorting. Still, tremendously dull names aside, the cars are quite good, and the AMG GT S is no exception.

Fitted with the AMG 4.0 twin-turbo V8 that powers all sorts of Mercedes-Benz products (plus a few Aston Martins), the AMG GT S is a quick and refined way to cross a country, plus it’s the Formula 1 safety car which is cool. Lennart Cort is the builder behind this one and there’s more to see at his photostream via the link.

Concept_One

Usually when a new hypercar company starts up and claims to have designed a 1,000bhp car that can drive to the moon, the automotive world has a laugh, and goes back to buying Ferraris and Lamborghinis. Croatian start-up manufacturer Rimac however, have confounded expectations.

Firstly because they are indeed a manufacturer, having actually produced and sold their designs, and secondly because their cars are so ground-breaking that automotive giants are courting them as partners.

Porsche and Hyundai have bought shares in Rimac, and the company produces electrified components for Aston Martin, Koenigsegg, Pininfarina, and even Seat’s concept racing car.

It’s the car we have here that created such a stir, their 2013 Concept_One. Just ten units were produced (with nine remaining thanks to The Grand Tour crashing one), and with over 1,200bhp and a motor in each wheel, the Concept_One was the fastest accelerating electric vehicle at the time of its launch, completing 0-60mph in a little over two seconds.

Previous bloggee Vibor Cavor (aka Veeborg)‘s Model Team recreation can’t do that (unless you put it in a real Rimac Concept_One), but it does include almost everything else, including a replica removable battery in the ‘spine’ of the car complete with four brick-built motors.

Vibor might be able to put his creation inside a real Concept_One though as he lives just fifteen minutes from Rimac’s base in Sveta Nedelja. Head to Vibor’s photostream via the link above o see more of his Concept-One replica, and click here if you’d like to see why ten became nine…

Beautiful Letdown

It amazes this TLCB writer how many Range Rovers there are around TLCB Towers.

These massively-financed, privately-plated wealth statements are rather beautiful of course, both inside and out, and particularly so when compared to rivals such as this abomination. Or this one. Or this one.

However Range Rovers remain a triumph of brand image and beauty over substance, being some of the worst built and most unreliable products you can buy anywhere in the world, with near-Tesla levels of shoddy workmanship.

Perhaps both Land Rover and Tesla the best automotive examples of the shallowness of our social media society, one that values exterior sheen and a projection of success over substance or quality. And, looking at the numbers, maybe they’re on to something…

Thus our preference would be this neat Speed Champions style version of the Range Rover Velar, as built by TLCB regular SP_LINEUP. SP has captured the sleek SUV superbly, and not being constructed by JLR it’s sure to be far better constructed and more reliable than the real thing.

Head to Flickr via the link above to see more of one Range Rover Velar that won’t fall apart.

*Today’s title song.