It’s not often that The Lego Car Blog Elves are enthusiastic about a Lego model, beyond it resulting in a meal token. Today however, they’re beyond excited, as – in their minds – their ancestors sponsored the 1985 Lotus 97/T that gave Ayrton Senna his debut win.
What with it being the ’80s, John Player Special cigarettes did too – and it’s debatable which is worse for your health – but nevertheless that JPS gold-on-black livery sure does look cool.
A stunning recreation of the Elf/JPS livery, perfect presentation, and some rather clever building techniques make Robson’s Lotus 97/T well worth a closer look, and you can jump to 1985 via the link above, along with a bunch of excited TLCB Elves.
This beautiful creation is a Lotus 18, and it’s one of the most wonderful racing cars ever made.
Succeeding Colin Chapman’s Lotus 16 (what happened to 17?), the 18 was designed to compete in both Formula 1 and Formula 2, and was powered by a little Coventry Climax 4-cylinder engine, first in 2500cc and then 1500cc sizes when Formula 1 reduced the engine limit.
The 18 gave Lotus’ their first Formula 1 win, plus two-time World Champion Jim Clark his first Grand Prix drive, before he and Innes Ireland took Lotus to the Constructors Runner-up spot in the 1960 World Championship.
However it wasn’t just Team Lotus who raced the 18, with Rob Walker Racing leasing a car to be driven by a new hotshot driver by the name of Stirling Moss.
Moss won the 1960 Monaco Grand Prix for Rob Walker Racing, the first time a privateer team had ever one a Formula 1 race, with only two teams managing it since.
Moss went on to take another win later in the season, although the Lotus 18’s campaign was marred by Moss’s injury at Spa-Francorchamps which put him out for most of the championship, and fellow Lotus 18 driver Alan Stacey’s death at the same track, after the 26 year old driver hit a bird.
Moss returned to racing though, continuing to campaign the Lotus 18 successfully for Rob Walker Racing in 1961, winning another two races and taking third in the World Championship behind the two Ferrari drivers.
The Lotus 18 was quite an important car then. It gave not only Lotus, but several future racing greats their early wins, their first Formula 1 drives, and – sadly in Alan Stacy’s case – their last drive too.
This unfathomably good recreation of the Lotus 18 comes from Andre Pinto, whose stunning replica of Sir Stirling Moss’s 1960 race-winner is one of the finest historic racing cars that this site has ever featured.
The second most famous Bond Car of all time is actually the best. Discuss. This is ‘Wet Nellie’, the Lotus Esprit S1 from 1977’s ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’, that ‘transformed’ – by the push of a button – into a submarine. And nothing in the world is cooler than that.
Suggested by a reader, this is Paul Nicholson‘s fantastic recreation of the aquatic sports car, and not only does it look absolutely spot-on, it transforms too, with the wheels tucking in to reveal submarining fins, and the rear fins and propellers also folding out from within. Of course it wouldn’t be a classic Bond Car without some evasive weaponry too, and Paul’s Esprit duly replicates the front missile launcher, mine layer, and the rear missiles (that really fire) used by Roger Moore to escape Karl Stromberg’s henchmen.
It all adds up to something that would make a superb official LEGO set, and whilst LEGO don’t have a Lotus license, they do have a 007 one, with Paul’s model constructed in a matching scale to the 10262 Aston Martin DB5 ‘Goldfinger’ set. Plus how cool would it be to add Lotus to LEGO’s ever growing list of vehicle manufacturer partners?
There’s much more to see of Paul’s incredible creation at his Flickr photostream, where you can ask him to add it to LEGO Ideas where it would surely get 10,000 votes so we can all buy it one day. For what it’s worth TLCB would be at the front of the queue. Get wet via the link above.
LEGO’s new 8-wide Speed Champions sets are generating a lot of interest in the online Lego community. Firstly because they’re rather good, and secondly because of those windscreen pieces. Suitable for all manner of cars, we’ve seen them pop up (and look perfect for) several real-world replicas as yet unlicensed by LEGO, including a Lamborghini Countach and Maserati Boomerang.
Today we have two more classic supercars that look made for the new part, Jonathan Elliott‘s superb DeTomaso Pantera (above) and RGB900‘s angular Lotus Esprit (below). Each captures their real world counterpart brilliantly and there’s more to see of both builds via the links in the text above.
We have a contender for Creation of the Year today. This utterly bewitching Lotus 49 is the work of Flickr’s Pixeljunkie who has not only recreated one of the greatest racing cars ever designed in spellbinding beauty, the model’s presentation is absolute perfection.
Pixel’s gorgeous model includes spectacular suspension, engine and gearbox detail and a superbly replicated ’67 Team Lotus livery complete with authentic logos and badging. It’s an incredible piece of work and you can see the images shown here in more detail via the link above, plus you read more about how the real car became one of racing all-time greats by clicking here.
James Bond might be a dark and moody character these days (as he was in the books too), but there was a time when spying was a little more… extravagant.
The height of 007 ridiculousness was the late ’70s, when Bond went into space, spent more time on one-liners than actually secret agenting, and – in 1977’s ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ – drove a sports car underwater.
It was a ludicrous scene, but one that cemented both Bond and Lotus into vehicular film royalty. Bond’s Lotus Esprit S1, modified by Q-branch, featured some rather ingenious optional extras, and – as Q always somehow seemed to manage – they were exactly what was required for the mission. What luck eh?
This brilliant recreation of the iconic movie car/submarine was suggested to us by a reader and comes from Luis Pena of Flickr. Luis’ ‘Wet Nellie’ as it was called (stop sniggering at the back!) includes all the cunning features of Q’s finest creation and there’s more to see on Flickr. Dive in via the link above.
As detailed in yesterday’s post, Ferrari are back on top after a few years in middle of the F1 pack, but there was a time when they barely won anything. And not because they had a bad car either.
Ferrari (and everyone else’s) woe was due to the utter dominance of one car, the pioneering Lotus 79, the first car to make full use of ground effect aerodynamics.
The first Formula 1 car designed using computer design aids, Lotus took downforce to an entirely new level, with the 79 producing 30% more of it than even their own car from the previous year. The suction generated by the 79 at speed was so strong that early cars suffered chassis fatigue and had to be strengthened to allow them to cope with race distances.
The strengthening worked, and the cars went even faster in testing. Upon the 79’s debut at the 1978 Belgium Grand Prix Mario Andretti took pole by over a second, and won the race ahead of the next Lotus in second place by ten seconds, with Ferrari in third almost half a minute behind. In fact, so fast were the new Lotuses that Ferrari could only win if the 79s retired.
Lotus finished the season with 50% more points than the next nearest team, securing the 79’s position amongst Formula 1’s most dominant ever designs.
This spectacular homage to one of Formula 1’s greats is the work of previous bloggee and TLCB Master MOCer Luca Rusconi aka RoscoPC. Built eleven years ago, Luca has recently uploaded his model to Flickr, and despite its age Luca’s 79 is still one of the finest Lego F1 replicas you’ll see. Accurate decals, a working V8 engine, steering and suspension are all included, and there’s lots more to see at Luca’s Lotus 79 Flickr album by clicking here.
Modern Formula 1 is almost all about aerodynamics. The art of directing airflow around a car seems quite mundane today, but when Colin Chapman first added ‘wings’ to his Lotus 49B in 1968 in order to generate downforce it was a revolution.
As is often the way with innovation, the other teams first tried to ban the Lotus, and then copied it, including its innovative use of the Cosworth DFV engine as a structural component in the chassis, and much of Chapman’s design is still in standard use in F1 today.
Chapman’s Lotus 49 won both the Constructor’s and Driver’s World Championships twice, and also lays claim to being the first ever Formula 1 car to feature a racing livery, again – normal now, but a revolution in the 1960s.
This exquisite recreation of one of the greatest (perhaps the greatest) Formula 1 car ever designed comes from previous bloggee Lucas Rusconi (aka RoscoPC) who continues to upload his extensive catalogue of beautiful historic racing cars to Flickr.
Luca’s 1968 Lotus 49B features working suspension, steering, and a beautiful replica Cosworth DFV V8 engine, and you can see more of the build as well as his other incredible creations by clicking the link to his photostream above.
Race car building legend Luca Rusconi (aka RoscoPC) has been building his stunning historic racing cars for the best part of a decade. He’s recently uploaded another one of his glorious creations to Flickr (where we hope many more will follow), and thus we’re able to publish it here. It’s also one of the weirder racing cars in Luca’s garage, although it might not look remarkable at first glance.
Any classic racing fan will know of the incredible performances of the Lotus F1 team. Led by Colin Chapman, and powered by the legendary Cosworth DFV engine, the partnership delivered four Driver and five Constructor World Championship titles. However, before the DFV was ready Chapman needed an engine to put into his new 43 Formula 1 car for the 1966 season. He turned to previous Championship Winners BRM, and their unique P75 H16 engine.
Yup, H16. Basically two Flat-8 engines stacked on top of one another, yet only 3 litres in capacity. Unfortunately the unusual design was unusual for a reason – reliability. Or lack of it.
Heavy, extremely complicated, and constantly breaking, the BRM engine in Chapman’s Lotus 43 caused it to retire from every race bar one during the 1966 season. However, that one finish was a race win at the United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, showing that when it worked, the Lotus 43 was quick. Really Quick.
The following year in ’67 the new Cosworth DFV 3 litre V8 engine was ready, Ford added their sponsorship to it (in a stroke of marketing genius), and the year after that the DFV starting a Championship Winning streak that went unbroken for seven years.
BRM’s mental P75 H16 engine was quickly forgotten, although the team continued to produce Formula 1 cars until the late 1970s, and Lotus forged on with a Cosworth partnership that was to become one of the most successful ever seen in the sport.
However, we think the Lotus 43 BRM H16 deserves a little recognition. It was a race winner after all, and for a brief moment two of Britain’s greatest F1 teams combined to produce something, well… a little bit crap.
RoscoPC’s homage to that disastrous partnership pictured here was first built in 2010 and is now available to view in wonderful detail on Flickr. It features working steering, suspension, beautiful detailing, and – of course – a recreation of one of the maddest engines ever seen in Formula 1.
You can see all of the images of Luca’s incredible Lotus 43 build at his photostream via the link above, and if you’re curious to know what an H16 Formula 1 engine sounds like, click here…
Every so often we receive a suggestion here at TLCB that makes the whole office stop what it’s doing (which today seemed to mostly be Google-imaging attractive Rio Olympics athletes) to gaze in wonder at the creation/s found. This was definitely one of those moments.
These incredible Model Team classic Formula 1 replicas have all been built by newcomer Idihnab Szalab from Hungary, and he’s uploaded all four to MOCpages in one go. Each is an exquisitely detailed creation that perfectly captures one of the Formula 1’s most famous and iconic cars in Lego form.
From top to bottom Idihnab has built; the dominant 1972-75 Lotus-Ford 72D in John Player Special livery, Ferrari’s 1989 640, the double World Championship-winning 1986-87 Williams-Honda FW11, and lastly the beautiful Lotus-Ford 72C from 1970-71 in magnificent Gold Leaf livery.
It’s been an uneventful few days here at TLCB Towers, as not a single Elf has returned with anything of note. Out of patience, we summoned Mr. Airhorn and chased any remaining Elves out of the office. When they’re hungry enough (which won’t take long) we’ll have some more models to blog…
From left to right; Previous bloggee Alexander Paschoaletto‘s tidy Model Team Koenigsegg CCX, previous bloggee Rage Hobbit‘s remote control Technic Lotus Elise S, and newcomer Ben Smith‘s lovely Model Team Dodge Viper GTS.
You can see more of each of today’s submitted creations via the hyperlinks in the text above, and if you’d like to suggest a creation too you can do so via the Feedback page found in the main menu.
The James Bond movie franchise is back to its very best at the moment, being dark, slightly brutal and a bit lonely. Which is exactly as it should be.
In the late ’70s to early ’80s though, the movies were an altogether different proposition, and had become almost a parody of themselves. The one bright spot in this ’70s ridiculousness was Bond’s car; the glorious Lotus Esprit Turbo.
There’s no way the British secret service would have ever selected Lotus as a provider of government vehicles of course, seeing as Bond would have spent more time fixing his Esprit than going anywhere in it, but it made for a very cool movie car. Especially when it was fitted with a few nautical modifications from Q-Branch.
This lovely mini-figure recreation of the iconic ’80s sports car complete with 007 himself comes from TLCB regular ER0L and you can join him on a secret mission on Flickr by clicking the link above.
This is not a Lotus 7. Or a Caterham 7. Or a Westfield 7. Or indeed any variation on the 7 theme that we knew of. It is in fact a Donkervoort S8A, which is a new one on us, but nevertheless it looks great in Lego form. Previous bloggee Vinny Turbo is on a roll, and you can see more of his latest creation here.
…Jeremy will be mildly offensive, James will wear a wooly jumper, and Hammond will indulge in some bad acting. But we’ll still love it.
BBC’s Top Gear began way back in 1977 as a fairly straight-laced motoring magazine, updating the great unwashed on the latest new cars and motoring news (remember; no internet in 1977!). The original show helped to launch the careers of many TV motoring journalists, including the brilliant Tiff Needell and Quentin Wilson, and of course a certain Mr. Clarkson and Mr. May.
Top Gear evolved during these first decades becoming more humorous and politically incorrect, helped largely by the arrival of Quentin and Jeremy whose reviewing style could make-or-break a new car. After a one particularly damning review Peugeot famously declared that they were removing all of their adverts from the BBC – but of course due to the unique way the BBC is funded, Top Gear and everything else broadcast contains no advertising at all anyway. Take that Peugeot!
In 2000 however, the BBC canned Top Gear and sold the production (but not the name) to Channel 5, and Fifth Gear was born. Most of the presenters moved across to the new show and we’ve had to read uninformed ‘This is Fifth Gear you dumb %$@£!’ comments on YouTube (when a video correctly shows old Top Gear) ever since.
The BBC held onto the name for good reason though. In 2002 Top Gear returned, with a new format, new presenters, and – for the first time – an actual studio! Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and Jason Dawe fronted this first season, before Jason was replaced by James to give us the genius line-up that has been in place ever since.
Top Gear’s new format has proved wildly successful, with over 350million viewers from 170 countries tuning in every week. And that’s not counting the re-runs showing every hour on Dave.
Such success has led to mistakes though, as Top Gear has become less genuine and more scripted over the years in a quest to recreate past (naturally occurring) glories. It’s also given the presenters an opportunity to make other programmes, and ‘Richard Hammond’s 5 O’Clock Show’ is an abomination that will be forever etched into a dark corner of the televisual hall-of-shame. Thankfully it only lasted a month, and James May’s independent presenting more than makes up for Hammond’s. James even built a house out of LEGO.
So what next for Top Gear? Well there are now live arena shows once a year, spin-offs for Australia, Russia, Korea, America and others, a new DVD each Christmas, and there’s a whole world of slightly crap merchandising. Andy Wilman (Top Gear’s producer) admits the show – at least in its current format – is probably nearer to the end of its life than the start, but we expect to keep watching for little a while yet. Onwards to season 22!
All of the photos in this post were produced by the exceptionally talented Stephan Sander, who has lovingly recreated Jeremy, James and Richard in brick form. He’s also constructed superb Lego models of Jeremy’s Citroen Motorhome, a trio of Jaguar E-Types, three Ferraris, three Lotuses and the famous Top Gear studio – complete with a wonderfully diverse audience! We highly recommend a trip to Stephan’s MOCpage to see all the photos. Back to the studio…
Originally designed and produced by Lotus, the remarkable Super 7 has been in production for well over half a century. Caterham Cars bought the rights to the design in the mid-’70s and it’s been the mainstay of their business ever since.
A wonderfully simple car in real life, the Super 7 is actually fiendishly difficult to recreate from Lego; just working out how to let the front wings turn with the wheels gives us a headache. Carl Greatrix wasn’t phased though, and he’s recreated the British icon with such attention to detail it’s quite possible his models are of higher quality than many real Sevens built by Caterham customers.
Much as we enjoy building things we think we’d leave the construction of a real Seven to the guys in the Caterham factory. Likewise we’re fairly sure that the quality of Carl’s builds will take some beating. See just how good his pair of Super 7s are by clicking the link to Flickr above.