Tag Archives: Japan

Bwaaaarp!

If it’s red, with fart-cannon exhausts, and a giant wing on the back, then TLCB Elves will probably like it. Cue this Honda Prelude by Flickr’s SP_LINEUP, which is red, with fart-cannon exhausts, and a giant wing on the back. See more at the link, whilst try to stop the Elves running around the office making engine and tyre screeching noises.

Half-Size Supercar

This is an Autozam AZ-1, and it’s awesome! Produced from 1992 to ’94, fewer than 5,000 units were built across all three brands that marketed it (Mazda, Mazda’s kei car brand Autozam, and Suzuki, who supplied the engine), with sales hampered by a high list price, collapsing economy, and it being weird even by the standards of the Japanese kei-class.

Effectively a 1:2 scale mid-engined gull-winged supercar, the AZ-1 we have here is even smaller, at 1:11, but it’s as packed with interestingness as the real thing. Built by syclone of Eurobricks, this brilliant Technic recreation of the coolest kei-car of them all features remote control drive, steering and headlights, a working steering wheel inside a detailed cabin, independent front and rear suspension, a working piston engine (in there somewhere!), and – of course – opening gull-wing doors.

Building instructions are available and there’s much more to see of syclone’s brilliant Autozam AZ-1, including a video of it in action, at the Eurobricks discussion forum. Take a look at this fantastic 1:11 recreation of a 1:2 supercar via the link above!

Life-Size LEGO Supra

LEGO have a long tradition of building life-size vehicles. From build-your-own McLarens, to full size Lamborghini sets, via drivable Bugattis, a Fiat 500, and a Ducati superbike, all manner of vehicles have been recreated in 1:1 scale from little plastic bricks.

Cue LEGO’s latest full-size creation, this time constructed for Legoland Japan over 4,500 hours, it’s the stunning Toyota GR Supra.

Pictured above alongside the real car, LEGO’s replica faithfully captures the GR Supra’s wild lines from 477,303 mostly-yellow LEGO bricks in 1:1 scale.

LEGO’s life-size GR Supra recreation also features a few components from the real Japanese sports car, including the wheels, tyres, seat and steering wheel. Why the wheels, tyres, seat, and steering wheel? Because this brick-built GR Supra can drive!

OK, it doesn’t feature the real GR Supra’s 3 litre inline six, but nevertheless an electric motor hidden within does enable this full scale model to move. We assume Legoland Japan has a similarly enormous skirting board to crash it into too, for the full Speed Champions experience.

The model’s top speed of 17mph doesn’t quite match the real GR Supra’s electronically limited v-max of 155mph, despite it weighing not too much more than the real deal, but we suspect that’s probably fast enough in a vehicle held together by studs-and-tubes.

Our Japanese readers can check out the full-size LEGO Toyota GR Supra at Legoland Japan where the model is on display, whilst the rest of us will have to make do with something considerably smaller

Smaller than Expected*

This may look like a normal cab-over light duty truck, but it is in fact a kei car, Japan’s microcar class in which vehicles can measure no longer than 3.4m, no wider than 1.48m, and have an engine size no greater than 660cc.

It is, therefore, absolutely tiny. Plus, obviously, it’s a Lego model, so it’s even smaller than that…

This superb Technic kei-class truck is a Daihatsu Hijet S110P, and it comes from syclone of Eurobricks who has packed it with an unfathomably large amount of features.

Under the really rather good exterior is a full remote control drivetrain, complete with all-wheel-suspension, all-wheel-drive, servo steering (linked to the steering wheel too), opening and locking doors, dropping bed side walls, and even working headlights.

There’s loads more of syclone’s Daihatsu Hijet to see at the Eurobricks forum, including a video of the kei truck in action. Take a look via the link above!

*That’s what she said.

My Fat Lady

The Nissan/Datsun 280Z/Fairlady Z was never quite as pretty as its 240/260Z predecessors. However previous bloggee SP_LINEUP aims to address this by making his 280Z Fairlady well… a bit fatter. Unlike your Mom however, SP’s Fairlady Z wears its wider bodywork superbly, with black arch extensions, a front splitter, and phat exhaust. There’s more to see of SP’s modified Datsun on Flickr – click the link above to make the jump.

FJ40

If there’s one 4×4 cooler than the Land Rover Defender, this is it. The Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 is an off-roading icon, and thus – like all things old and Japanese – it’s now worth about a million pounds.

However with the news that Toyota have become the latest auto manufacturer to partner with LEGO, we may one day see an official Land Cruiser set, which will be a far more attainable way to FJ40 ownership for this TLCB Writer, even with immense fame, glory and groupies that working for this site brings…

Until then though, regular bloggee Jonathan Elliott has created a Speed Champions scale Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 so good we doubt LEGO will do any better should they decide to produce one. And it’s yellow.

Glorious attention to detail and ingenious building techniques are in evidence everywhere you look, and there’s more to see of Jonathan’s brilliant FJ40 at his photostream via the link.

6-Wide Speed

Building an instantly recognisable vehicle from Lego bricks isn’t always easy, and it becomes increasingly difficult the smaller the scale becomes. That’s why LEGO have recently upped the size of their Speed Champions sets, to better capture the real-world cars they aim to imitate (with varying degrees of success).

Cue previous bloggee RGB900, who has not only constructed this immediately identifiable Honda NSX, he’s even managed to do so in the ‘old’ 6-wide Speed Champions scale. A few of the building techniques probably wouldn’t pass LEGO’s requirements for an official set, but there are no sticker-based cheats here!

There’s more to see of RGB’s excellent NSX on Flickr, and you can do just that via the link above.

New Sports Experimental

Honda’s current range of drab uninspiring boxes shows just how far a manufacturer can fall from their height.

Back in the 1990s Honda were on top of the world, winning Formula 1 races, building exceptionally popular cars most of which had a fun version, and even pioneering Hybrid technology before – for reasons unknown – looking that gift horse in the mouth.

All of which makes Honda’s current range of cars look narcoleptic by comparison. We mean, just look at this one.

No car highlights how far Honda’s slide into dismal mediocrity has come from than this; the amazing Honda NSX.

Built to be an everyday supercar, the NSX wasn’t massively fast (although little was back in 1990), but it was joyously engineered, comfortably beating Ferrari, Lamborghini and others in terms of its technical accomplishment.

Despite this, badge snobbery was just as prevalent in the 1990s as it is today, and the NSX was largely overlooked in favour of the established (and worse) competition. Not so now, where NSXs (and all cars from Japan’s heyday) are in serious demand, perhaps helped by the fact that Honda now make absolutely nothing exciting whatsoever.

This means that Honda’s spectacular engineering masterpiece is now way out of reach of us here at The Lego Car Blog, despite the vast fame and riches that blogging Lego models brings.

Cue TLCB debutant Pingubricks, who has recreated Honda’s finest moment brilliantly in brick form. Pingu’s Model Team NSX captures the design of the real car wonderfully, and there are opening doors, trunk, engine cover, and even working pop-up head lights via a lever in the cabin too!

There’s more to see of Pingu’s spectacular Honda NSX at the Eurobricks forum, and you can join us there via the link in the text above.

The Best Car Ever!*

*Well, according to The Straight Pipes at least.

Lexus are a curious car company. They make immensely dull econo-boxes like this, the ugliest car in the entire world, Jeremy Clarkson’s favourite car of all time, and then this; the stunning LC500, described by The Straight Pipes as the best car they’ve ever driven.

That might be going a bit far, but an atmospheric V8 in a car that looks like a concept from 2035 is quite a rare thing, so maybe they have a point.

This superb Model Team version of Lexus’ current flagship comes from previous bloggee Lasse Deleuran (aka gtahelper) who, um… owns one of Lexus’ dull econo-boxes. Still, his real-life Lexus CT200h is the same shade of red as his brilliant LC500 model, so they have at least one thing in common other than the badge.

There’s more of Lasse’s fiendishly complicated and utterly wonderful Lexus LC500 Coupe to see on Brickshelf, and you can take a look via the link in the text above.

SuperGreat

Unlike today’s other off-road truck post, this one certainly doesn’t have a bland name. The Mitsubishi Fuso SuperGreat FX 6×6 is an off-road military tow truck, depicted here in Technic Japanese Self Defence Force form.

All six wheels are driven by a Medium Motor, the steering is powered by a combination of a  Medium and a Micro Motor, whilst the crane rotation, elevation, extension, and outriggers are all controlled manually.

Leaf-spring suspension features too and there’s more to see courtesy of LXF (Brickshelf) / syclone (Eurobricks) via the links.

I Owe You a 10 Second Car

‘The Fast & The Furious’ has a lot to answer for. Terrible dialogue, questionable physics, and finding a way (any way*) to keep characters going throughout the series (however absurd) are standard action-movie faux-pas, but the film franchise has had a larger and more irritating impact on the minds of internet commenters.

What? The new Supra doesn’t have a 2JZ? Not a Supra! What? The new Supra doesn’t have 1,000bhp from the factory? Not a Supra! What? The new Supra shares parts with BMW? Not a Supra!

OK internet commenters, here goes; The A80 Supra is not the fastest most awesomest car ever made. It was fairly fat cruiser for fairly fat people, with an engine that you could also get in a Toyota station wagon. Putting ‘NOS’ in it won’t give it 1,000bhp, and to get that power you’d need the world’s laggiest single-shot turbo, making the car borderline undrivable on the street.

Right, now that’s cleared up, here’s the fastest most awesomest car ever made, with ‘NOS’ and 1,000bhp.

Brian O’Conner’s modified A80 Toyota Supra Targa has become possibly the most revered movie car of all time, setting the stage for a dozen mostly terrible ‘Fast & Furious’ sequels, blasting fourth-generation Supra values into the stratosphere, and creating an unsurmountable barrier of hype for any future cars wearing the nameplate.

This glorious recreation of O’Conner’s A80 Supra brings the iconic movie car to life in full ‘Technic Supercar’ specification, with working suspension, gearbox, steering, and a replica 2JZ engine.

More importantly builder spiderbrick has faithfully replicated the slightly weird livery, bodykit, roll cage, nitrous system, and huge rear wing found on the movie car to such perfection that we can almost hear Dominic Toretto breathing the word ‘family‘ for the six-hundredth time for no discernible reason.

There’s loads more of Spider’s ‘The Fast & the Furious’ Toyota Supra A80 to see at his Brickshelf album, including a link to a video showing the model’s features, plus engine and chassis images. Click the link above to live your life a 1/4 mile at a time…

*Bad guy turns good? Check. Back from the dead? Check. Bad guy turns good again? Check.

New Sportscar Experimental

Honda’s NSX broke new ground when it launched in 1990. Whilst not the fastest or the most exotic supercar, it brought reliability and usability to a vehicular segment that had – in some cases – completely ignored these attributes in favour of silly doors.

This of course meant that the NSX was seen as a bit boring at the time, or even ‘not a super car’, at all, but time has been kinda Honda’s experiment, and it has become one of the most revered and iconic ’90s cars ever, with prices exploding in recent years.

This puts the NSX out of reach for most of us, but fortunately regular bloggee SP_LINEUP has constructed one that’s far more attainable, and just as awesome looking.

A detailed interior behind opening doors, a beautifully accurate engine under an opening cover, and – get this – working pop-up headlights via a lever in the cabin(!) all feature, and there’s much more to see of SP’s superbly presented build on Flickr. Click the link above to make the jump!

Mitsubishi Memories

Mitsubishi Motors make precisely nothing that we would ever want to buy, drive, or ride in.

That Mitsubishi’s recent emissions fraud in Japan meant their share price dropped low enough for the Renault-Nissan Alliance to buy them (and then confirm they were pulling the brand out of Europe altogether) only makes us pleased, because there’s less chance of us having to look at the back of one of these.

Which makes it all the sadder that Mitsubishi Motors used to make some rather excellent cars, such as the mid ’90s Galant, the weird FTO, and this, the Lancer Evolution.

With all four wheels driven by a two-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, the Lancer Evo and its Subaru Impreza WRX rival were way ahead of the European and American competition in the ’90s, as demonstrated by Japan’s utter dominance of the World Rally Championship at the time.

Both Subaru and Mitsubishi developed their cars every year or so too, with the latter handily applying roman numerals to the nameplate so it was easy to see who had the latest version.

This particular Lancer is a ‘V’, which appeared for just one year exactly halfway through the Evo’s development. Previous bloggee Fuku Saku has captured the Evo V brilliantly, using some properly clever techniques to recreate the late ’90s performance car icon.

There’s loads more of Fuku’s build to see at his ‘Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V’ album on Flickr; click the link above to make the jump, and remember a time when Mitsubishi made more than just air-conditioning units. And this.

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.

Bōsōzoku!

Japan’s ‘Bōsōzoku’ scene is a sub-genre of car culture that we really don’t understand, but that we’re really glad exists. Ralph Savelsberg is too, having created this magnificent Bōsōzoku-ed Nissan Skyline C110 complete with a wild bodykit, skywards exhausts, and a cool-looking Japanese character to drive it. See more on Flickr at the link.