Tag Archives: France

Matra MS80

Lego Matra MS80 Forumla 1

Matra may not a be a manufacturer familiar to many of you, but if so they’re one of the greatest companies you’ve never heard of.

Founded in the 1960s Matra have made everything from sports cars to air-to-air missiles, including probably the world’s first crossover and the world’s first MPV (albeit for Renault). However it’s their racing subsidiary, Equipe Matra Sports, that we’re most interested in here.

Equipe Matra Sports produced racing cars for an almost immeasurable number of categories, winning Le Mans three times, five Formula 2 Championships, and both the Drivers and Constructors Formula 1 World Championships in 1969, making them the only team besides Ferrari to win the Championship with a car not built in Britain.

This is that car, the gorgeous Matra MS80, powered by the ubiquitous Ford-Cosworth DFV V8 and run by Ken Tyrrell before he started his own team. In the hands of Jackie Stewart the MS80 won five of the ten races it entered in the ’69 season, winning the Championship by a huge margin, despite the fact that every other race winner that year used the same engine.

This fabulous Model Team replica of the Matra MS80 comes from classic racer extraordinaire Luca Rusconi aka RoscoPC, with a superbly-replicated Cosworth DFV engine, working steering and suspension, and some ace period-correct decals. There’s more to see of Luca’s brilliant Matra MS80 on Flickr via the link above, plus you can read our interview with the builder as part of the Master MOCers Series by clicking here.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

French Thunder

Lego 1905 Darracq 200hp

The French don’t often get much credit for their automobiles. Least of all here at The Lego Car Blog, even though France pretty much invented motor racing, the world’s most famous race is held there every year, and of course they’re (sort of) responsible for the world’s fastest production car too. Well today we put that right, with one of the most amazing cars from the early years of motoring.

Powered by a 200hp V8, the Darracq LSR was little more than a enormous engine bolted to two girders, an approach that we like the sound of very much. It set the Land Speed Record in 1905 at almost 200km/h and it still exists today, regularly tackling the Goodwood Festival of Speed hillclimb almost completely sideways, despite coming from a time long before drifting was a thing.

This neat Technic replica of the monstrous French racer comes from Nikolaus Löwe of Flickr, and it’s genuinely about as technically advanced as the real car, which isn’t hard. Take a closer look at one of the forgotten heroes of motor racing via the link above.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Technic Snail

Lego Technic Citroen 2CV

The Citroen 2CV, affectionately (and unaffectionately) known as ‘ the tin snail’ owing to its looks and glacial speed, is one one of the world’s most important cars. Yes, you did read that right.

Designed in the 1930s, Citroen’s Car-for-the-People was intended for France’s numerous rural workers who were largely still dependent upon the horse for transportation. Reliable, fuel efficient, easy to maintain, and above all cheap, the 2CV was engineered to mobilise an entire population class. And then Hitler decided to be ‘a bit of a dick’.

The German invasion and the subsequent commandeering of French factories to build stuff for blowing up the British meant production for the innovative and much-needed 2CV never started. Fearful of the Nazi’s stealing the design, Citroen hid their 2CV prototypes across France in the hope they would remain undetected (some of which are still being unearthed today).

Lego Technic Citroen 2CV

The Allied victory in 1945 left behind a ruined France, but thankfully for Citroen an undetected cache of 2CV prototypes. Three years later, and a decade after the car was first engineered, the 2CV finally reached production.

As much as Europe’s poor workers needed cheap reliable transportation before World War 2, they really needed it afterwards, and the little Citroen was a huge success. Half the price of Germany’s ‘People’s Car’ – the Volkswagen Beetle, the 2CV sold almost 4 million units in a production run that spanned five decades and nine different countries.

When Citroen 2CV production finally ceased in 1990 the car had become a bit of a joke, but for much of its life the 2CV was the most important car in Europe, and is surely one of the greatest car designs ever created.

Lego Technic Citroen 2CV

This fitting tribute to one of France’s icons of motoring comes from previous bloggee and Technic building legend Nico71 who has recreated the simplicity of Citroen’s engineering beautifully. The 2CV’s legendary leading and trailing arm suspension (designed so a peasant could carry eggs unbroken across a ploughed field) has been faithfully reproduced in Lego form, plus there’s working steering and the doors, hood and trunk all open.

There’s lots more of Nico71’s brilliant Technic 2cv to see via Brickshelf, plus you watch a video of the model on YouTube by clicking here.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Ocean Custodian

Lego RV Calypso Research Boat

Built by TLCB debutant Luis Pena, this is a 1:100 scale replica of the research vessel ‘Calypso’, complete with a helicopter and ‘diving saucer’ submersible vehicle.

The Calypso was originally a US-built wooden-hulled British minesweeper that served in the Mediterranean during the Second World War. Following the Allied victory the ship returned to US hands before being recommissioned as a Maltese ferry.

Within a year however, British millionaire Thomas Loel Guinness purchased the ship and gave it to the diving pioneer, film-maker, conservationist and adventurer Jacques-Yves Cousteau for use as a marine research vessel, a role the Calypso fulfilled for five decades. During an incredible half-century of oceanic exploration Cousteau and the Calypso made numerous discoveries, including the wreck of the HMHS Brittanic sunk during the First World War, the ability of marine mammals to use echolocation, and halted the dumping of radioactive waste in the Mediterranean Sea.

In 1996, almost fifty years after it entered service with Cousteau, the RV Calypso was accidentally rammed by a barge in Singapore and it sunk in the harbour. A week later the ship was raised and transferred to a shipyard, however Jacques-Yves Cousteau died the following year of a heart attack aged 87, and the Calypso was left to rot as various parties fought over the boat’s ownership, its restoration, and unpaid bills.

Today the ship, which has featured in film, documentaries, song, and even has a namesake in Star Trek, is still quietly dissolving in a shipyard in France, a victim of mankind’s inability to put progress over profit. However Cousteau’s legacy remains almost unfathomably huge, and continues to today via the environmental protection foundation that he created which now numbers over 300,000 members.

This beautiful homage to a ship which as done probably more than any other can be found in greater detail at Luis’ photostream on Flickr, and includes both above and below the waterline versions (each pictured here). There’s more to see via the link above, and you can read more about the Cousteau Society that continues Jacques-Yves’ work today by clicking here.

Lego RV Calypso Research Boat

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

La Goutte Grise

Lego Peugeot 607

France has built many fine luxury cars. This is not one of them.

Launched at the end of the millennium, the Peugeot 607 was an anonymous grey blob of a car that sold like anthrax cupcakes. Built at the height of Peugeot’s reliabilities issues, the last thing anyone wanted was a French car loaded with extra equipment which would inevitably and immediately go wrong.

This meant that like Renault’s (admittedly very adventurous) luxury offerings at the time, the Peugeot 607 was destined to be used almost exclusively as a tool for French Government officials, and then later – after the free-fall depreciation had kicked-in – as a taxi at Portuguese airports.

Lego Peugeot 607

This Lego homage to one of the world’s least good luxury cars is the work of Rolands Kirpis of Flickr, and it is quite simply an exceptional build. Everything that makes the real Peugeot 607 look like a part dissolved dishwasher tablet makes it one hell of a tricky car to reconstruct from right-angled Danish plastic, however Rolands has done a remarkably effective job of capturing the 607’s, er… blobby-ness? Blobicity? Blobery? Whatever.

Featuring a detailed interior, an opening hood with a neat and recognisable engine underneath, an opening boot, and four opening doors with some of the most intricate window frames we’ve ever seen, Roland’s Lego 607 is definitely worth a closer look. You can see the fully gallery of images at his photostream by clicking on the link above, and we’ll leave you with one more shot capturing an inevitable moment in mid-2000s Peugeot ownership…

Lego Peugeot 607

Tagged , , , , ,

Art Lego

Lego 1939 Delahaye 136

France probably lays claim to our least favourite car in the looks department. The first generation Peugeot 308 was built at the very lowest point of French automobile design, being both painfully dull and yet somehow also managing to resemble a deep-sea fish that’s washed up on the shore.

Thankfully those dark days have passed as the French have re-discovered some of their joy de vivre, so we’re holding out hope that French car design can come full circle, and give us something like this again.

The fantastically luxurious 1939 Delahaye 136 was an utterly gorgeous machine, and probably took the art deco school of design further than any other car has ever managed. Sadly production was cut short by Hitler being a dick, and unfortunately post-war France then had no place for a vehicle manufacturer as opulent as Delahaye, with the brand quietly slipping away in the 1950s.

We remember when French design ruled the roads thanks to previous bloggee Lino Martins, who has recreated the Delayhaye 136’s incredible art deco shape beautifully in standard LEGO bricks. There’s more of his spellbinding creation to see at his photostream – click the link above to visit France circa 1939.

Lego Delahaye 136

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Gallic Garage

Lego Town Garage

This charming Town garage comes from newcomer brickbink of Flickr, and it is quite gloriously French. A Citroen 2CV van, Renault 4 (we think), and a baguette all add gallic authenticity, and there’s more to see at the link above.

Lego Town Garage

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

French Fighter

Lego Dassault Rafale-M

This magnificent Dassault Rafale-M complete with carrier-deck was found on Flickr today. Previous bloggee Kenneth Vaessen is the builder and he’s recreated France’s current maritime fighter beautifully in brick-form.

Designed to replace France’s various military aircraft with a single multi-role fighter, the Rafale was introduced in 2001 and it’s been in action over Syria, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan since, most notably launching strikes on the utter shitbags that are Daesh (otherwise known as Islamic State).

There’s lots more to see of Kenneth’s top-quality recreation of the French fighter at his Flickr photostream – click the link above to take off.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: