Over one in three Americans are obese, but TLCB’s home nation isn’t far behind, with 28% of the population being medically categorised as ‘chunkadunk’. Today though, we have two really small Brits, each being constructed in diminutive Speed Champions scale, yet still instantly recognisable as miniatures of their real-world brethren.
The first (above) is a tiny car in real life too, being a delightful recreation of the late-’50s Austin-Healey ‘Frogeye’ Sprite by RGB900. The real Spite measured just 3.5 metres in length, making it almost a third shorter than McLaren’s ridiculously-long 5.1 metre Speedtail.
Suggested by a reader, this neat Speed Champions version of one of McLaren’s million special editions is the work of newcomer User 5346 and there’s more of each small-scale Brit to see on Flickr. Take a look via the links above whilst we go and eat a donut or six.
Cities can be wonderfully diverse places, where different cultures, races, and even languages mix together to create a greater whole. The automotive industry is rather similar, although these days certain quarters see this as some kind of evil globalisation, rather than countries making what they’re best at to, again, create a greater whole.
However back in the 1950s sharing production between countries wasn’t really a thing yet, until Nash came along with their design for a new sort of car (in the U.S. at least), railing against ‘bigger is better’ by making something… smaller. Their revolutionary mindset continued to production, which wouldn’t have been profitable in the U.S.
Instead Nash turned to Austin/Rover in England, who were selected to produce the car on behalf of Nash and fitted it with their own B-Series engine. The car became the ‘Metropolitan’ upon it’s return to the U.S where, in yet more revolutionary thinking, it became the first post-war American car marketed specifically to women.
The Nash Metropolitan received mixed reviews from an American motoring press rather unwilling to try anything that wasn’t sixteen feet long, but these proved to be rather different when people bought the Metropolitan and actually used it, whereupon it surpassed expectations.
It wouldn’t be until the oil crisis of the 1970s that America really took small cars seriously though, and marketing to women was probably further behind that even, yet Nash and Austin’s collaboration had proved the concept some two decades earlier.
Fast forward to today and we seem to be in some sort of ‘Tenet’ style inversion, as ’50s style ‘bigger is better’ and ‘not foreign’ are climbing America’s agenda once again. We’ll stick with the little ’50s Nash Metropolitan though, a revolution ahead, and now perhaps behind, the times…
Oh yeah, Lego… This beautiful little 4-wide recreation of the Metropolitan comes from previous bloggee 1saac W., and there’s more to see at his photostream. Click the link to join the revolution.
The world is currently balanced on a pinhead, with the slightest nudge in any direction sending the global economy into the greatest depression since the, er… Great Depression.
Beginning in 1929 and lasting right up until Germany started getting a bit ‘handsy’ in Europe**, it was the most severe recession the world has ever known. Vehicle sales tumbled – particularly from luxury marques – but there were still cars sold during the period, like this marvellous Austin 12 Burnham.
Like the current trend for SUVs, late ’20s cars were boxy, with high ground clearance and imposing radiator grilles – although this was more for functionality than today’s pointless need for ‘assertive, confident, aggressive’ styling or whatever the marketing types label monstrosities like this as.
This excellent recreation of the Austin 12 comes from Flickr’s 1saac W., who has replicated the 1929 tourer rather well. There’s more of 1saac’s model to see at his photostream – click the link above to take a look, whilst we ponder the worrying circularity of history…
It’s blue Smarties all round today as three Elves returned to TLCB Towers, each with a blue town-scale creation. It turns out all three are the work of the same builder, Flick’s de-marco, who is becoming a regular on these pages. Each has been constructed in LEGO’s classic ‘Town’ style (a favourite here at TLCB) and recreates a well known(?) real-world vehicle in mini-figure scale.
The first of de-marco’s build is perhaps the most true-to-life, a classic Dacia 1300 from a time when the Romanian brand was independent from Renault, but also simply built discontinued Renault products (and fairy badly at that…). It turns out that the Dacia 1300’s ugly blocky sloping shape is perfect for recreation from angular LEGO bricks and the result looks remarkably close to the real thing.
de-marco’s second Town vehicle is a classic Austin/Morris Mini in British police ‘panda car’ specification. LEGO’s ‘Maersk’ blue with white doors and a single blue light (using a piece from LEGO’s 9V lighting sets) works a treat, even if the car looks a little long for the famously small classic car.
Lastly de-marco has built something a little larger, in the form of this excellent Kamaz drop-side truck. As with all three creations the details are spot on, yet simple enough to fit into a Town scale build, and there’s more to see at de-marco’s photostream via the link. There are also video instructions available for each build – you can find a link to these under each image in de-marco’s photostream should you wish to jazz your own Town up with some iconic classics!
Not only does Monaco hold the world’s most famous Formula 1 race (although these days often the world’s most boring too), it’s also the location for probably the world’s most famous rally, the Rallye Monte Carlo.
Held since 1911, when cars would set off from a variety of places across Europe to meet in Monaco, where they would be judged not just on speed but on ‘elegance’ and ‘passenger comfort’, the modern iteration of the race takes cars through the French Riviera and a variety of conditions, including treacherous snow-covered passes, in a series of timed stages.
In mid-’60s this meant one car became a giant killer, the humble Mini Cooper S. Mighty in the snow, the Mini won the event four times* back to back from 1964 to 1967, defeating cars with four times the power.
Taking the Mini from the 75894 Speed Champions set previewed here earlier in the year, Flickr’s Simon Pickard has modified it to Monte Carlo Rally specification and then created one of the most brilliantly life-like roads we’ve ever seen built from LEGO. Ingeniously placed plates create a glorious curve of ice, which a Mini Cooper S is pictured sliding around beautifully.
There’s more to see of Simon’s spectacular scene at his photostream, including an aerial shot showing the complete layout. Click the link above to visit the South of France in 1965.
*This really annoyed the French who, in 1966, disqualified any car that wasn’t a Citroen. Seriously, look it up! Thus we’re still giving the victory to the Mini, which actually won. And came second. And third.
One of the most iconic vehicles in the world, London’s ‘Black Cab’ has remained visually unchanged for over sixty years. First built by Austin, which became British Leyland, and then by a succession of smaller specialist companies, the ‘Black Cab’ has ferried tens of millions of passengers around the streets of Britain’s capital.
This particular ‘Black Cab’ is an Austin FX4, a design first launched in 1958 that lasted right up until the late 1990s. Powered by various diesel engines the FX4, despite being a rather lovely vehicle, turned London’s air into a soot-filled soup, so thankfully they were banned from service in recent years (and their replacement is a far more air-quality friendly plug-in hybrid).
This brilliant Miniland-scale rendition of the old Austin FX4 comes from Peter Blackert aka Lego911 of Flickr and you can hail it for yourself via the link above. Just don’t breathe in what comes out the back…
The Elves usually don’t like taxis. They tend to be slow and old looking (London), or spectacularly dull (everywhere else). Plus we don’t like using them with the Elves in tow as we’ll inevitably have to pay the additional ‘soiling charge’. A charge that’s far more likely to required with this; Markus’ racing London Taxi FX4.
Markus has put a big tick in both the ‘fast’ and ‘stripes’ boxes with his brilliant competition entry, plus his taxi features working steering, opening doors, bonnet and boot, and folding jump seats. There’ll be a standard version posted soon too, and it could be one of the most realistic models of the year.
In the meantime you can see more of the version TLCB Elves prefer by clicking the link to Markus’ MOCpage above, and you can find out more about TLCB Sumer Building Competition entry requirements and the awesome prizes available by clicking here.
This Mini, recently posted to MOCpages by the incredibly talented Nick Barrett, is so lifelike it’ll probably start rusting soon. Underneath the remarkably accurate bodywork sits a real working model of the famous BMC A-Series engine, driving the fully suspended front wheels via a working gearbox. It has working lights, brakes, hand brake, door locks, tilting seats… in fact we’re fairly confident in saying this is the most accurate vehicle we’ve ever featured. Join us in awe on MOCpages.
Raw power! Ok, maybe not raw power. Er… Reasonable economy!
Another ‘not a car’ post, but this time it is car-related, honest. This little plastic thingumy is a 1:6 scale BMC A-Series engine, as fitted to all manner of dinky British cars for over 50 years. This wasn’t because it was the world’s greatest engine by any means, rather because the British were too lazy to bother replacing it. Still, they now have a thriving car industry, proving that such thriftiness is well judged and commendable. Is our sarcasm filter on? It is? Oh good. Anyway, this little power-plant did do sterling service in some well loved vehicles, including the Austin/Morris Mini, Morris Minor, Morris Marina/Austin Allegro… wait, maybe not that last one. Nick Barrett, a TLCB regular, is the mechanic behind it. See more, including a video of the engine working, on MOCpages.