Tag Archives: Japan

‘Initial D’ AE86

Lego Toyota AE86 Initial D

Once every so often a car comes along that, for reasons mysterious and illogical, becomes more than just another metal box, a car that captures the imagination, and that becomes more than the sum of its parts. This is one such car, the legendary 1980s Toyota Corolla Levin AE86 / Sprinter Trueno.

If you’re a Japanese drift fan though, you might want to skip this next bit…

The Toyota AE86 was not a special car.

It was in fact a humdrum hatchback designed to take people from point A to point B reliably and at a reasonable cost. Just like every other humdrum hatchback at the time.

But it’s a manual with rear wheel drive we here you cry! It was indeed, but so was pretty much everything else on sale in Europe and Japan back then. So far so ordinary.

Lego Toyota AE86 Initial D

But then something strange happened. Moderately successful motorcycle racer / moderately unsuccessful car racer Kunimitsu Takahashi had started to throw cars sideways on track in Japan a few years earlier. Rookie racer Keiichi Tsuchiya liked what he saw, and applied the technique to the illegal street races that he was participating in, becoming a legend in the process.

Keiichi went on to forge a successful professional racing career following his antics on the street, and the car from his illegal racing days, his humble Corolla Levin AE86, became a legend as big as the man that drove it.

Japan’s illegal drift scene exploded, and the arrival of the Initial D manga cartoon in the mid ’90s, featuring a hero driver at the wheel of a Toyota AE86, did nothing to lessen the legend of both the man and the car credited with creating it.

The result is that the little Toyota Corolla Levin AE86 has become one of the most iconic and sought after cars of the ’80s, and as such prices have gone stratospheric. Pretty good for a humble hatchback designed to go to the shops.

If, like us, you don’t quite have the loose change to get your hands on a real AE86, Technic builder RM8 might have just the answer. This is his beautifully engineered AE86 model, and it captures the details of the real ’80s Corolla Levin brilliantly in Technic form. It’s also as fun to drive as drifting a real AE86 up a Japanese mountain pass (probably), with a Power Functions L Motor driving the rear wheels, a Servo Motor powering the steering, and a third-party SBrick bluetooth receiver controlling the signals to both.

There’s lots more to see of RM8’s Toyota Corolla Levin AE86 / Sprinter Trueno at MOCpages and the Eurobricks discussion forum, but much like the real car RM8’s model is something more than the sum of its parts. Take a look at RM8’s enthralling video below to see why…

YouTube Video

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Godzilla!

Lego Nissan GTR Nismo

A huge reputation, a legend of the car scene for almost as long as there’s been one, and incredible attention to detail… Firas Abu-Jaber and the Nissan GT-R have much in common.

This, as you may have guessed, is Firas’ latest build; a faithfully recreated replica of Nissan’s 2017 Nismo GT-R. The current GT-R is an old-age pensioner by car design standards, but like that elderly ex-marine at the bus stop, or your Mom in the buffet queue, you wouldn’t mess with it. Launched a decade ago in 2007, Nissan’s replacement for the much-loved R34 Skyline GT-R took the well known all-wheel-drive turbocharged formula and thoroughly Spinal Tapped it.

A hand-built 3.8litre V6 engine fitted with twin parallel Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries turbochargers gave the GT-R just under 500bhp at launch, a figure which when combined with Nissan’s trick all-wheel-drive system allowed the GT-R to obliterate almost any other car off the line and in the corners. Hypercars included.

Lego Nissan GT-R Nismo Firas Abu Jaber

Since its launch the GT-R’s power has steadily increased, with standard models up to 545bhp by 2012 and this, the 2017 Nismo version, reaching almost 600bhp. That extra 50bhp doesn’t come cheap though, as the Nismo GT-R costs around 50% more than the standard model, making it surely one of the worst value-for-money special editions in automotive history.

We’ll stick with the standard car thanks Nissan, which is genuinely still something of a bargain, and we’ll leave the Nismo GT-R, its mad carbon-fibre aero, and its even madder sticker price, to Firas Abu-Jaber’s spectacular Model Team recreation.

Firas has made an extensive gallery of stunning images available, including several showing the interior inside the opening doors, and the realistic twin-turbo V6 engine under the opening hood. See more of the legend for yourself at Firas’ photostream, and you can read our interview with the builder as part of the Master MOCers series by clicking here.

Lego Nissan GT-R Nismo

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Ferrari-Lite

Lego Toyota MR2

It’s hard to do justice here to just how amazing the second generation Toyota MR2 was when it was launched in 1989. Toyota, like most of the Japanese manufacturers at the time, were on a roll. Even so, the arrival of the ‘W20’ series MR2 was one of the most shocking the automotive community had seen in ages. Looking like a mid-engined Ferrari and – in turbocharged form – going like one too, the effect would be like Hyundai launching a 458 rival today. Of course most people at the time didn’t know it was only humble Toyota with a four-cylinder engine…

Lego Toyota MR2

This brilliant Model Team recreation of the early ’90s Toyota MR2 is the work of serial bloggee Senator Chinchilla, and he’s absolutely nailed it. Featuring opening doors, a well-replicated interior, an opening engine lid and a realistic engine, Senator’s MR2 is packed with quality detailing. There’s more to see at his photostream via the link to Flickr above, and if you can find a good second generation MR2 for sale – buy it. Their values are only going to go one way…

Lego Toyota MR2

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Jap Rod

Lego 1932 Ford Deuce Coupe Takehito Yamato

Japan’s product design may not have a reputation for originality, but the Japanese can take almost anything pioneered by another part of the world and make it better. See the Mazda MX-5 Miata, the Toyota Land Cruiser, the Nissan GT-R, and pretty much every electronic device ever invented.

We can probably add hot rods to that list now too, thanks to this gorgeous 1932 ‘Takehito Yamato’ Ford Deuce Coupe. This Lego recreation of the real-world car comes from Master MOCer and previous bloggee Andrea Lattanzio aka Norton74, and he’s replicated the original vehicle superbly in Lego form, even building a beautiful period-correct workshop in which to house it.

There’s more to see of the Takehito Yamato at Norton74’s photostream – click the link above to head over to somewhere inbetween America and Japan.

Lego 1932 Ford Deuce Coupe Takehito Yamato

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Digital Daddy

Lego Toyota Supra

With Toyota’s legendary Supra nameplate set to return next year after sixteen years out of production, we take a look back at the original. Nope, not the be-winged ’90s incarnation from the Fast and Furious movies, but this, the humble A60 type from the early 1980s.

With (much) less than 200bhp, the early Supras were essentially Celicas with pop-up headlights and an extra two cylinders. And they were wonderful. This superbly recreated digital version of the A60 Supra comes from Flickr’s Alex Sonny, and whilst the image above might not feature any real plastic bricks (making it suitably eighties in appearance), Alex’s Supra is about as realistic a replica as you will find.

More images available at Alex’s photostream – click the link above to make the jump.

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Not a Car

Lego Mitsubishi Zero

But it was made by a car manufacturer, and very probably their most famous product too. This is of course a Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter from the Second World War, and it’s been neatly recreated in Lego form by James C of MOCpages. James’ updated build includes a mini-figure pilot, working landing gear, and custom decals, and there’s more to see on MOCpages via the link above.

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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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Not a Car…

Lego Mitsubishi Zero

…but probably the most popular plane to appear here at The Lego Car Blog. Lego builders love the Mitsubishi Zero, and they keep finding new ways to recreate Japan’s most famous fighter. This version comes from MOCpages’ James C, and he’s captured the Zero’s iconic shape beautifully. There’s more to see at his MOCpage – click the link above to fly over.

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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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Asian Delivery

Lego Technic Isuzu Truck

Considering they are so numerous in the real world we see surprisingly few Isuzu trucks recreated in Lego form. Isuzu are the backbone of the Asian heavy commercial vehicle market, and even if a truck doesn’t say ‘ISUZU’ on the front, it’s probably got an Isuzu diesel engine powering it.

This lovely Technic version of the prolific commercial workhorse comes from previous bloggee Shineyu and it’s packed with functions, including working steering, opening doors and an operational tail-lift. There’s more to see on MOCpages – click the link above to make the jump.

Lego Isuzu Box Truck

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Zero

Lego A6M Zero

The Lego Car Blog has featured numerous Mitsubishi A6M Zeros over the years, and Flick’s Daniel Siskind has been refining his mini-figure scale version of the famous fighter aircraft for almost as long. This is his latest version, and it’s pretty much perfect. See more at his photostream via the link above.

Lego Mitsubishi A6M Zero Fighter Plane

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V-Sign

Lego Mitsubishi Evo V

Good things come in fives. We tried to think of some examples to prove this but we got stuck after Oceans, Fingers and Toes, so we’ll move straight onto this; Senator Chinchilla‘s lovely Model Team replica of Mitsubishi’s Evolution V. The fifth in Mitsubishi’s now-discontinued line of four-wheel-drive rally weaponry, the Evo V was the performance car to have in the mid 1990s. Unless you were a Subaru fan of course. You can see more of this ace example on Flickr – click the link above to make the jump.

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Not an Evo

Mitsubishi A6M Zero Lego

Mitsubishi might be best known for the Lancer Evolution (although we’re not sure if anyone’s actually buying them anymore), but it wasn’t a car that put the Japanese company on the map. It was this, the deadly A6M Zero fighter. This lovely recreation of the classic warplane has been built by Flickr’s LegoUli and you can see more at his photostream by clicking here.

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My Fairlady

Lego Datsun Fairlady Z

This gorgeous Datsun Fairlady / 240Z was discovered by one of our Elves on Flickr. It’s the work of Cagerrin and we love absolutely everything about it. There’s a whole host of images available to view on Flickr – click the link above to see more.

Lego Datsun 240Z

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Hoonivan

Lego Bosozoku Toyota Hiace Van

Toyota’s Hiace van wouldn’t be high on our list of the best vehicles to modify, but the world’s car tuners do seem to make odd choices sometimes. In Europe the Volkswagen Beetle and Transporter are perhaps the most inappropriate, whilst the Japanese modifying scene has gone a similarly daft route with ‘Bosozoku’ – the style in which builder filsawgood has created his splendidly ridiculous Toyota Hiace drift van.

Underneath the be-stickered Technic bodywork is a Technic buggy motor powering the rear wheels and a Power Functions servo motor which steers the fronts. These are linked to the previously featured third-party SBrick which enables control via a tablet or other mobile device.

For more details on the Hiace Hoonivan and to see a full gallery of images head over to Eurobricks via the link above.

Lego Technic RC Van

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