Interchangeable bodywork is something that every LEGO vehicle is capable of, by virtue of them being, well… LEGO. However it’s particularly cool if you can swap the whole bodywork out in one piece. Even LEGO themselves tried this back in 1996 with their 8244 Technic set, although the results were a bit weird.
Not so Angka Utama’s attempt, which is properly cool. Entitled ‘Backbone’, Angka has designed three different bodies that can be mounted on his chassis design, and with reversible seats and a moveable engine it can switch between being front, rear or mid-engined in seconds. Take a look on either Flickr or MOCpages to see how it’s done!
Our set review of LEGO’s 1980 Technic 8860 Car Chassis is one of the site’s most popular pages of all time. And for good reason. 8860 is the genesis of Technic Supercars and took the whole concept of large LEGO sets in an entirely new (and brilliant) direction, without which we probably wouldn’t have 2016’s Technic Porsche 911 GT3. OK, perhaps that’s not a great example, but we’d certainly miss 8880, 8448 and many of the sets that followed.
Just thinking about 8860 gets much of TLCB office so wistful and nostalgic it’s like mentioning food rationing to your grandparents. Paul Boratko (aka Crowkillers) hasn’t helped productivity here today then with his wonderful modern interpretation of LEGO’s 1980 icon.
Built using the latest studless Technic parts Paul’s 8860 redux is instantly recognisable, yet upgrades the venerable old set in every key area. Working steering, all-wheel suspension, adjustable seats, and a functioning gearbox hooked up to a flat-6 engine all feature, alongside modern tyres and LEGO’s latest parts designs.
Our review of LEGO Technic’s 853 / 956 Car Chassis set is the most viewed individual page on the whole of The Lego Car Blog. It might have been flawed, but 853 is the grandfather of LEGO’s Supercar range, without which we probably wouldn’t have had some of LEGO’s best ever sets.
Previous bloggee, Master MOCer and Lego Professional Nick Barrett thinks it’s the most important set LEGO have ever made, and he’s given it and brilliant re-boot for the modern age. Updated using the latest Technic parts Nick’s 853 redux costs about half as much as the original 1977 set, yet retains all of its charm.
There’s an inline four-cylinder motor up front, a two speed gearbox in the middle, rear-wheel-drive, working steering and adjustable seats, all as per the original set. We think it’s the perfect candidate for the LEGO Ideas platform, and if you think so too you can let Nick know; take a trip to either MOCpages or Flickr to see more.
One of TLCB’s favourite small scale builders is back, with something rather clever. Angka Utama’s three beautifully retro supercars are all built on the same pull-back motor chassis, allowing the builder to switch between them. A wonderfully simple and yet gloriously playable solution to the age old ‘parts limitation’ problem that every Lego builder experiences. See more of Angka’s ingenious design on MOCpages, or Flickr.
Naked chassis. Let’s see what these tags do to our hits!
Nathanael Kuipers shows us how tidy Lego’s studless building pieces can be with this brilliantly thought out supercar chassis. If ever you need a starting point for a Technic supercar, look no further.
Welcome to the second in our series of Lego’s big car sets reviews. The year is 1980, and the sophistication of suspension arrives at Lego Towers. Not very brilliant suspension, but we’ll come to that..
First, the build. Still fairly straightforward, and the flaws of it’s 853 predecessor are skilfully dealt with – it’s nice and stiff, the steering works well (provided you’ve put the axle bushes on the right way round…), there was now a differential and it’s definitely sportier than before. Again, the engine is the only fiddly part, but if you set this up right it will run smoothly in all three gears (very fast in the lowest gear, which was intended purely for use with the motor and gets blanked off in the instructions. Leave it open and savour the noise!).
This is a truly satisfying model. The colours look right, there’s enough technical stuff going on and it’s playable. It seems like Lego’s designers made a concerted effort to include all the features they could manage with the pieces then available. Briefly, these include the sliding / reclining seats, the rear-mounted flat four engine with some lovely detailing, a three speed transmission, steering and swing axle rear suspension. This was Lego’s first attempt at a car’s suspension and, like the VW Beetle it resembles, it didn’t work brilliantly – forcing massive camber changes as the springs were compressed. Still, it was a start and better than nothing.
It’s an easy model to modify, too. Adding front suspension with the newer steering links and ball joints is pretty straightforward and, with a little rearrangement of the rear reinforcement there’s space for a pair of ‘+2’ rear seats. You now have something that’s exactly the right size and mechanical layout to build a Porsche 356 body on… this is the sort of thing you can mess about with for hours!
Oddly, the second model – some kind of weirdly scaled dragster – isn’t that good, but it’s easy to build something nice with this very complete selection of parts.
As with 853, the box is nice and solid and beautifully illustrated – although it would have been good to have as many ideas on it as 853’s had. It doesn’t need to be quite so big, either, but I’m nit-picking now….
Overall, this superb set deserves a 10/10 – it might not be flawless but, for the time, it’s deeply impressive and still stands up today as a good-looking, effective model. Get one and you’ll see why it was good enough to sit at the top of the Technic tree for eight years.
Welcome to what will be the first in a series of reviews of all of Lego’s ‘ultimate’ car-based Technic sets. We start, naturally, at the very beginning. In 1977, this was the ultimate and I was a lucky boy!
This red machine (still the longest model of any such set…) featured a reciprocating 4 cylinder engine, a forward/reverse transmission, working steering and adjustable seats and…. that’s it. At the time, this was plenty – greater sophistication would come later; the great thing about this set was that it showed, better than any other, how a car went together.
The build is fairly simple – the only complex part being the engine. It feels a little strange building a Technic car chassis by mostly snapping bricks together, but it also makes you wonder if the newer elements make things unnecessarily time-consuming. Slotting the engine/transmission unit and steering assembly into place makes you imagine workers doing the same thing on a production line. An enjoyable and educative experience.
The finished model is a delightfully vintage thing and highly playable. The best thing about it is the speed and smoothness of the engine’s running as you push it along, assuming the engine’s set up just so… This gives it a personality that’s lacking in most of the later cars, whose engines simply don’t make enough noise to be truly satisfying.
Flaws; well this is a very early effort so there are a few… the biggest of which being the chassis’ lack of stiffness. Blame the penny-pinching single layer of studded beams that form the car’s structure. Double these up and it’s fine. The front wheels drag on the chassis when on full lock – something that couldn’t happen in a newer set, mostly because newer sets seem to have hardly any steering lock… A differential would have been nice, but you can slot one in easily enough now. The lack of suspension can be forgiven, I think; especially as, if it did have springs, I suspect the chassis would flex more than they do!
Now we come to one of the best features of all these early sets – the box! A proper, sturdy box with plastic compartments for all the new and special pieces that came with this set, and beautifully illustrated with a wealth of model ideas, most of which had no instructions but served to inspire the young builder’s own creativity. Note to Lego: PLEASE BRING THESE BACK!
Overall, this set deserves a solid 9/10 – there was enough to inspire the budding petrolhead here and, if you can, I urge you to seek one of these out (expensive these days, I know..) and re-discover the simple joy of a charming model.