Tag Archives: Station Wagon

What’s Brown and Smelly?

It’s time for another delve into the automotive curiosity cupboard that is the Eastern Bloc, a Communist alliance renowned for the oppression of millions, waiting lists that stretched into decades, and cars that were almost comically bad. This is one of them, the Wartburg 353.

As with many Communist creations though, the Wartburg was not a bad car when it launched in the late 1960s. A weird one perhaps, but not bad objectively speaking.

The 353 started production from a pinched BMW factory in 1966, and was powered by a 1 litre, 3-cylinder, 2-stroke engine that had its roots in a 1938 DKW. This made it as torquey as the larger engines in the west, and meant it had only seven major moving parts, but also made the car incredibly unrefined and polluting, leaving a cloud of burnt oil behind it whenever it went.

A unique freewheel system meant the 353 required no clutch to change gear, and the car was also front-wheel-drive, still fairly novel at the time, although the set-up imbued it with terrifying understeer characterises in the wet.

Despite the niggles, the Wartburg 353’s low price, reliability, and the fact it wasn’t a Trabant, led to success, and meant that – due to the ‘planned economy’ of East Germany – the waiting list stretched out to fifteen years for private citizens.

The 353 was also exported to several countries as the Wartburg ‘Knight’, presumably to bring in foreign currency (which must have been frustrating for those on the waiting list), as well as being used by the police and East German government.

Of course as time passed the 353 became increasingly outdated, and little was done to keep pace with Western products that were out of reach for those trapped behind the Iron Curtain. The government even repeatedly refused to upgrade the polluting 2-stroke engine, despite Wartburg’s engineers having developed working alternatives.

By the late-’80s the writing was on the wall, both for East Germany and Wartburg. The eventual addition of a modern 1.3 litre engine from the Volkswagen Polo in 1984 came too late, and the reunification of Germany finally killed the 353 – alongside many other long-obsolete East German offerings – in 1988.

This splendid Model Team recreation of the Wartburg 353 ‘Tourist’ is the work of previous bloggee Legostalgie, who has captured the East German family car beautifully in period-correct brown.

Opening doors, hood and tailgate, plus a detailed engine and interior all feature, and there’s lots more of the model to see at Legostalgie’s ‘Wartburg 353 Tourist’ Flickr album. Click the link above to join a fifteen year queue in East Germany sometime in the 1970s.

Swedish Brick

We recently wrote a post about things that TLCB Elves like, so today we’re jumping straight to a thing that we like, and ignoring the Elves completely. They’re rather annoyed by this of course, but the intersection of the Venn diagram that displays their likes and ours is quite sparsely populated, so we’re unlikely to please both them and us.

Cue the Volvo 240 estate and the cause of their annoyance, which was once – by some margin – the least cool car on sale in TLCB’s home market. Driven only by antiques dealers at precisely 43mph, even if the road had a speed limit of 70, they caused Volvo such reputational damage that the brand even fired a few off a cliff when marketing later models to show how far they’d come.

However the car itself was actually very good, and now that antiques dealers are all driving SUVs (along with everyone else), the long forgotten Volvo estate has become seriously, deeply, almost mythically cool.

This magnificent slab of vintage Swede is the work of regular bloggee Jonathan Elliott, who has not only recreated the Volvo 240 estate wonderfully in brick form, he’s even chucked a sofa on the roof as a nod to its antiques transporting history.

Join us (but not the Elves) in lusting after 1980s Volvo ownership at Jonathan’s photostream via the link above.

Got Wood?

Yes we do today. A lot of it. Cue a default title that still makes us snigger – because we’re children, and a car called a Willys, which also makes us snigger – because we’re children.

Previous bloggee 1saac W. is the cause of the phallus-based sniggering with his beautiful recreation of the 1948 Willys-Overland Station Wagon, and there’s more to see of 1saac’s Woodie (snigger) on Flickr via the link.

Dog Vomit

We like fast estate cars here at The Lego Car Blog – mostly because they’re not fast SUVs – and the latest Audi RS6 Avant is perhaps the best of them all.

With a turbocharged V8 producing nearly 600bhp, the RS6 can take your labrador to 60mph in just over three seconds, which is supercar fast. And supercars can’t fit a labrador in the boot at all.

This exceptionally clean Speed Champions style recreation of Audi’s fastest wagon is the work of regular bloggee SP_LINEUP and there’s more to see on Flickr. Click the link above to make a dog violently sick.

Cop Classic

Christmas is over, the decorations are down, and work begins tomorrow. Versteinert‘s previously featured classic station wagon, as driven by Santa himself, has now been repurposed as a police car, and represents this slightly depressing return to normality in Lego form.

Of course ‘return to normality’ is a relative term, as our emergency workers face probably the most difficult January in living memory, thanks to COVID-19’s decision to become even more transmissible. Yay.

So it’s Christmas hats off to our emergency service readers; you are the heroes we need right now, and there’s more to see of Versteinert’s ’50s police car at via the link above.

Driving Home for Christmas

No tenuous links to Christmas are needed for this post! Versteinert’s classic station wagon entitled ‘Ready for Christmas’ includes a (brilliant) Christmas tree, a boot full of presents, and Saint Nicholas himself at the wheel! Ingenious parts usage is in abundance and you can check out Santa’s station wagon in more detail at both Flickr and Eurobricks.

Big Country

Lego Ford Country Wagon

Flickr’s Luke C appeared here earlier in the week with a lovely small-scale 1960s Ford Country station wagon, and now he’s built a Model Team version! You could call it A Big Country

Right, enough tenuous linking to obscure ’80s Scottish rock bands, on to the model. Measuring over twice as wide as his small-scale version, Luke’s Big Country (Dammit! Ed.) is packed with detail, and includes opening doors, hood and tailgate plus working steering.

It’s also one of the coolest-looking cars that we’ve seen in ages, and it’s made even better with a roof-rack mounted surfboard. There’s lots more to see at Luke’s photostream – click Luke’s name above to visit a Big Country (we’ll stop now before our editor fires us).

Lego Ford Country Wagon

Got Wood?

Lego 1967 Ford Country Squire

Ford did back in the ’60s, and they had some truly ridiculous ‘English’ car names too. This particular one is a Ford Country Squire, and this 8-wide Lego creation – complete with wooden side-mouldings – is rather brilliant. It’s been built by Luke C of Flickr and there more to see here.

Lego Ford Country Squire

Bermuda Triangle

Lego Edsel BermudaRalph Savelsberg (aka Mad Physicist) returns with his updated Edsel Bermuda station-wagon, allowing us to link the Edsel’s distinctive grill design with a cunningly crude title. See more on Flickr.

 

Kult Kombi

Lego Fiat 125P KombiWe like old, slightly rubbish cars here at The Lego Car Blog. This stirling effort was discovered by one of our Elves on Flickr. Built by r a p h y it’s a Polski Fiat 125P Kombi (Station Wagon, Tourer or Estate if you’re not from Eastern Europe), modified in ‘cultstyle’. Which makes it somehow very cool. See more on Flickr at the link above.

Yee haw!

50s Yuk

Delightfully disgusting

Our Elves are gross little creatures. They do a good job (or at least a very cheap job), but they’re still gross. Which is why the Elf that brought this in to The Lego Car Blog Towers was so pleased with itself; finally a car for them! Small, green and a bit yukky. Henrik Hoexbroe is the genius(?) behind this late ’50s slice of American automotive garbage.