Mazda have just launched their most powerful production car ever. And it’s a crossover SUV. Because of course it is. Is anything not a going to be a crossover SUV these days?
Back in the ’90s things were far more varied, with a whole array of sports and GT cars available from mainstream brands. This was one of the most interesting; the rotary-engined Mazda RX-7.
Powered by a 1.3 litre twin-turbo twin-rotor wankel engine, the third generation RX-7 was produced from 1992 to 2002 during which, in TLCB’s home market at least, only a few hundred were sold. Sigh, perhaps we only deserve crossover SUVs…
Of course subsequent popularity meant thousands more RX-7s were ‘grey imported’ from Japan, and the car now enjoys a cult following with prices that go along with it, so the closest most of us will get to one now is in brick form.
Fortunately Flickr’s Fuku Saku has got us covered, with this glorious Speed Champions style third-gen. Mazda RX-7 for which building instructions are available so you can create it too. There’s more to see at Fuku’s photostream and you can take a look via the link above.
None of the ‘Fast and the Furious’ movies are works of cinematic genius, and the third instalment ‘Tokyo Drift’ ranks below even the franchise average. However we do remember it was eminently watchable, mostly because of Nathalie Kelley, but also thanks to the ace Japanese machinery* used throughout the film.
This was our star car, the magnificent Mazda RX-7 VeilSide Fortune, as recreated here brilliantly in Technic form by ArtemyZotov of Eurobricks.
Built to full Technic Supercar specification, Artemy’s VeilSide RX-7 includes working steering, independent double wishbone suspension, a 4-speed sequential gearbox, and an incredible working recreation of the car’s twin-rotor wankel engine.
There are also opening doors, hood and trunk, working locks, plus a detailed interior and engine bay, and there’s much more to see at the Eurobricks forum, including a link to building instructions. Head sideways through the streets of Tokyo via the link above, and you can view a rundown of the features within Artemy’s stunning Mazda RX-7 VeilSide model in the video below.
OK, we’ll come right out with it. This incredible 1:8 scale Mazda RX-7 with RE:Amemiya bodykit isn’t strictly, entirely, 100% LEGO. But that’s only because LEGO don’t make all the parts in the right colours. Builder Gray Gear has therefore used a few clone brands to complete his creation, with the white wheel-arches and white pins not part of LEGO’s range. Switch them for orange and black respectively though, and Gray’s Mazda can be built with genuine LEGO parts.
However it seems almost appropriate that Gray Gear’s model uses a few non-genuine pieces as his RX-7 also features an RE:Amemiya bodykit, which isn’t exactly a Mazda factory option…
Underneath that wild exterior Gray has created a working two-rotor engine, replicating the unusual set-up of the real RX-7, which is hooked up to a functioning 6-speed gearbox. Working steering, all-wheel independent suspension, and opening doors and hood also feature, and you can see more of all of the above at the Eurobricks discussion forum where further images and a video displaying the model’s features can be found.
Gray is also considering making instructions available should you wish to create his RX-7 RE:Amemiya for yourself. You’ll have to build it in orange if you want to use purely official LEGO pieces, but we think it’ll look rather excellent if you do! Head to Eurobricks via the link above to take a look and pester Gray for those building steps…
Toyotas don’t always have the most fortunate names. There’s the ISIS, the BJ, and the perfectly-acceptable-until-recently Corona. Which is now a deadly virus. Oops. The name Corona actually means ‘crown’, just like Toyota’s Corolla, Camry, and, er… Crown.
It’s the Crown we have here, which means essentially the same thing as Corona, but doesn’t evoke the ongoing mass morbidity of the elderly. This Lego version of the Crown comes from Ralph Savelsberg of Flickr who has recreated the Japanese saloon in Tokyo Police specification, complete with authentic decals and the odd raising light-bar on the roof.
There’s more to see of Ralph’s Toyota Crown police car at his photostream via the link above, which has gotta be better than a Corona. Probably not a BJ though…
They’re the questions we receive here more than other (apart from your Mom calling to find out if we’re free); “Where can I buy this?” / “Are there instructions?”.
We’ve reviewed a range of books here at TLCB (see here, here, here and here) that aim to answer the questions above, providing parts lists and building instructions to enable readers to create real-world vehicles from LEGO bricks. Today we have another, kindly provided by publisher ‘Brick Monster‘ who have a range of both instructional books and downloadable building instructions available at their website, offering everything from BrickHeadz to dinosaurs.
Fast Bricks: Build 6 LEGO Sports Cars!
Overview: Brick Monster’s latest publication, entitled ‘Fast Bricks’, details the step-by-step building instructions and complete parts lists for six real-world sports and performance cars. Each car is designed to match LEGO’s old six-wide Speed Champions scale which, whilst less detailed than the new 8-wide standard, should mean both a plentiful parts supply and that fewer parts are needed.
The book follows the now familiar format that we’ve come to expect from instructional publications, offering a brief (and really well written) introduction to each car, along with a few key statistics – although in this case they are about the model itself rather than its real world equivalent.
Instructions and Print Quality: The bulk of the book is taken by the step-by-step instructions, which are clear and well laid out. Minor sub-assemblies are used every so often and all parts added are highlighted by a contrasting brightly-coloured outline, which is very nice touch. A ‘Bill of Materials’ ends each section, along with the alternate colour schemes available for each build. Unfortunately we have no images of these available to show here, which is something that Brick Monster should look into so that they can showcase this content.
‘Fast Bricks’ is not the glossiest book we’ve reviewed and nor is it printed in the highest quality, but it’s well suited to its purpose, where ultra high quality paper can actually be a hinderance to following building instructions, however beautiful the product looks. On the other hand one area where higher print quality would have been useful was in the instructions for C8 Corvette pictured on the cover, where the dark blue bricks chosen are hard to distinguish against the black lines that surround them. This is never an issue with official LEGO sets and highlights just how good LEGO are at both designing and mass-producing the building instructions found in their products.
The Models: It’s the Corvette that is probably the best model within the book, although all feature a range of excellent building techniques that newer builders may appreciate learning.
However, unfortunately for us in some cases the builds are not particularly recognisable as the car they are purported to be. We could have ten guesses for the Mazda MX-5 and Lamborghini Huracan and we wouldn’t have guessed correctly, with other models having only a passing resemblance to their real-world counterparts.
It’s a shame, because – whilst not really offering anything new – the layout, instruction designs, descriptions, and parts lists of ‘Fast Bricks’ are all pretty good.
Verdict: We wouldn’t have thought there was a need for yet another building instructions book, however the constant requests we receive here at The Lego Car Blog indicate that – as usual – we know nothing, and there remains a significant interest in step-by-step instructions for models.
We’re not sure that any book is the best medium for providing step-by-step instructions anymore, with digital downloads performing the job just as well, but nevertheless ‘Fast Bricks’ take on the book-based instructional formula is another competently engineered addition, utilising well-judged techniques and instructional designs to walk readers from a pile of LEGO bricks to a finished sports car model. We just wish the models found within it looked a bit more like the cars they’re supposedly based upon.
Whatever the question, the answer is always Miata. Or MX-5 if you’re not American. Or Eunos if you’re in Japan. But you get the point. Light, reliable, fast enough, and able to go sideways, the Miata/MX-5/Eunos is very probably the greatest sports care ever made. This is SP_LINEUP‘s Speed Champions scale recreation of the second generation of Mazda’s iconic two seater roadster, and it captures the look of the real car beautifully, with opening doors, hood and a removable roof too. SP has made instructions for his design available should you wish to build your own and you can find these and further images at his photostream via the link above.
We love the Mazda MX-5 / Miata / Eunos here at The Lego Car Blog HQ. Although clearly stealing its exterior styling straight from the 1960s Lotus Elan, and launched with just 110bhp, the first generation ‘NA’ series MX-5 reinvigorated the sports car for the modern age.
Prior to the little Mazda’s launch in 1989 the small two-seat roadster species was almost extinct. The collapse of the British auto industry which had made most of the world’s roadsters, and the rise of the hot hatchback had seen the sales of sports cars plummet.
And then Mazda came along, with something small, cheap, fun and – uniquely for a roadster – reliable. The MX-5 sold by the boatload, and ensured the survival of the roadster formula as BMW, Porsche, Honda, Mercedes and others rushed to join the newly resurgent sports car market.
Mazda are now on their fourth generation MX-5 and it’s better than ever, but today we’re sticking with the original, the lovely early ’90s NA. This brilliant Creator-style replica of the first generation MX-5 is a commissioned piece and comes from Flickr’s BrickMonkey, featuring pop-up headlights, opening doors, hood and trunk, and including a detailed engine, interior and even chassis.
There’s loads more to see at BrickMonkey’s Flickr photostream. Click the link above to take your top off and have some fun in ’89!
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.
This remarkable car is Mazda’s 1991 Group C Le Mans winning 787B, to this day the only Japanese car ever to win the famous 24 hour race and the only non-reciprocating engine powered car to do so too. This stunning replica of Mazda’s greatest triumph is the work of TLCB favourite Greg998, and he’s recreated the 900bhp carbon-composite monster in jaw-dropping detail.
Underneath the brilliantly recreated bodywork – complete with Mazda’s tricky ’91 livery and period-correct decals – Greg’s 787B features working steering, all-wheel suspension, working headlights, and a Lego version of Mazda’s unique (and mental) 4-rotor engine. There’s lots more to see on Flickr, Eurobricks and MOCpages – click the links to see full details and imagery.
Mazda’s RX-8 and RX-7 are something of a cult motoring institution, and long before either of them Mazda had this; the RX-3 coupe. This lovely Lego recreation of the little RX is the work of TLCB regular Senator Chinchilla and, as is often the way with old Japanese cars, the Senator has added a few mods to his whip. You can see more of them and the car on Flickr at the link above.
In the Le Mans 24 Hours of 1991 something rather remarkable happened. A car without a reciprocating engine not only finished the endurance feat, but won it. The car was of course Mazda’s incredible 787B, powered by a brilliant 900bhp 4-rotor Wankel rotary engine, and driven by Johnny Herbert, Betrand Gachot and Volker Weildler.
No other car without a reciprocating engine has since repeated this feat, and nor has any other Japanese car claimed outright victory at Le Mans.
This beautiful recreation of one endurance racing’s greatest legends is the work of Bob Alexander, and you can see more of his Model Team Mazda 787B at his photostream by clicking the link above.
Mazda’s RX-8 is now a seriously cheap car. Problems with oil consumption, rotor tip wear and then, ultimately, engine death means that early examples are now worth about as much an average-size telly. It’s almost worth buying one and running it ’til it blows, then weighing it in for scrap and buying another. Although you’d have to make sure you had very good breakdown cover…
Oddly, Mazda’s predecessor to the RX-8 hasn’t seemed to suffer from the same valuation free-fall as its descendant. RX-7’s, buoyed by the modification scene, are still desirable cars, and probably even more so if they’re yellow. At least in the eyes of our Elves anyway.
This one is the work of previous Featured TFOL Alexander Paschoaletto, and he’s done a thoroughly brilliant job of recreating the Japanese icon from Danish plastic. There’s an extensive gallery of images available on MOCpages – click this link to make the jump.
Mazda’s MX-5 / Miata is one of TLCB office’s very favourite cars. Small, light, cheap and enormous fun, it’s just like the Elves. Apart from you’d need to replace ‘and enormous fun’ with ‘little shits’.
Sorry if we’re grumpy today, the Elves started one hell of a fight last night after we let them watch some of the World Cup. With no known nationality the Elves tend to support whichever team is more violent, and thus when a Columbian kneed a Brazilian in the spine one of them immediately replicated the move on a colleague, sparking a mass Elf-fight. Sigh.
With order restored and the main protagonists removed from the office by way of TLCB catapult, we can get back to blogging cars. This one is small, light, cheap and enormous fun, and it comes from previous bloggee Rhys’ Pieces. His brilliant Mazda MX-5 Miata features a host of tasteful* modifications that are seen regularly on the thousands of Miatas that race every weekend. To see more of his excellent model take a trip to Flickr via the link above.
*Apart from the massive camber (or ‘stance’). Which always sucks. Why Rhys, why?
We like Mazda’s little MX-5 Miata here at TLCB Towers. We also like hot rods, so throw the two together and we, er… well actually to be honest we’re not really sure if we like the idea of a Frankenmiata or not. But whilst the concept leaves us confused, we are sure that in this LEGO form at least, a V8 powered Miata hot rod is a damn cool ride.
Rhys’ Pieces is the mad professor who’s stitched the two patients together, and a very neat job he’s done too. See all the photos on Flickr at the link above, or alternatively you can read the full description on MOCpages here.