Tag Archives: Station Wagon

Bored in ’64

These days a cream station wagon would be a rather interesting vehicular sight, surrounded by a sea of grey SUVs. Back in ’60s America however, and they were the byword for boring.

Even the name of this one was uninspired. American car companies are usually quite good at exciting names, but – whilst this would eventually be called the ‘Nova’ – to begin with it was simply known as the ‘Chevy II’, which is almost Sovietly insipid.

Flickr’s Tim Inman is the builder behind this marvellous Model Team recreation of the Chevrolet Chevy II station wagon – which he’s created for the ongoing Festival of Mundanity competition – complete with a beautifully built interior and exterior, opening doors, raising hood, and a life-like engine. Which appropriately is not the optional V8. That would be too interesting.

It’s a fabulous build – although we’re not sure how many mundane points it will earn seeing as today a Chevrolet Chevy II station wagon would be a rather cool sight – and there are lots more images available to see at Tim’s photostream via the link above.

If you’d like to enter your own boring build there are still several weeks of the contest left to go, and some awesome prizes on offer for the winners, with Tim entering into both the Vehicle and Object categories. His object entry might just be the most default and uninspired item in the history of mankind too. Excellent!

Commie Combi

This beautiful blue creation is a Lada 1200 Combi / VAZ-2102, one of the defining cars of the communist-era Soviet Union and – in it’s earlier years at least – not actually a bad one.

Produced from 1970 until 1988, the Lada 1200 / VAZ-2102 was based on the Fiat 124, itself still in production and rather good too.

For the licensed version the Soviet engineers raised the Fiat’s ride height, strengthened the chassis, and increased the thickness of the bodywork steel to ensure the car could cope with Russian roads and winters, and replaced the rear disc brakes with aluminium drums, because… er, we don’t know. They were worse.

Anyway, the car was a success, with a million built in the the first three years alone, and exported to many markets where the Fiat version wasn’t already on sale (Fiat didn’t permit Lada/VAZ to compete directly with its own product).

TLCB’s home nation got the Lada 1200 in 1974, when the Fiat 124 was replaced by the newer 131, becoming the first Lada on sale in the market, and likely a brave purchase by consumers during the Cold War.

A thousand Lada jokes would follow, which was a bit unfair as the 1200 was fine, but many were probably as much to do with anti-communist sentiment as they were with automotive quality.

This lovely Model Team recreation of the Lada 1200 Combi / VAZ-2102 comes from Flickr’s Legostalgie, whose wonderful Lego replicas of Communist cars have appeared here numerous times so far. His latest captures the Lada brilliantly, with superbly accurate bodywork, opening doors, hood and tailgate, a life-like interior and engine, and even a trunk on the roof-rack.

There’s lots more to see Legostalgie’s ‘Lada 1200 Combi / VAZ-2102’ album on Flickr, and you can head to the Communist-era Soviet Union (or the United Kingdom) c1974 via the link in the text above.

что-то странное в окрестности

If there’s something strange
In the neighbourhood
Putin’s gonna call…
Ghostbusters!

If there’s someone gay
Or gender misunderstood
Putin’s gonna call…
Ghostbusters!

He ain’t ‘fraid of no ghost
He ain’t ‘fraid of no ghost

But he’s hearing things
That should not be said
Putin’s gonna call…
Ghostbusters!

A political threat?
Then you’ll end up dead!
Ow, Putin’s gonna call…
Ghostbusters!

Have we butchered the classic Ghostbusters theme song by Ray Parker Jr. just to tenuously link to Vladimir Putin’s human rights record? Yup! But to be fair it’s been ages since we received a good death threat.

Plus, of course, this rather wonderful creation is a VAZ/Lada 2104 estate that has been brilliantly converted into a Soviet Ecto-1, which makes re-writing that song almost mandatory.

We also happen to think it might just be cooler than the original Ghostbusters’ Cadillac ambulance. OK, no it isn’t, but it is a Lada converted into an Ecto-1, which does probably make it the coolest Lada ever.

Flickr’s Tony Bovkoon is the builder who has brought Ghostbusting to Russia, and there’s more to see of his fantastic Lada Ecto-1 on Flickr.

Click the link to call…
Ghostbusters!

The Joy of the Unexceptional

We love the unexceptional here at The Lego Car Blog. McLarens, Lamborghinis and Porsches are all very exciting, but we sometimes prefer to celebrate the ordinary. (Maybe we’ll run a building competition to that end one day…)

Ironically, due their uninterestingness, ordinary cars are rarely built by the online Lego Community, which understandably prefers to build things of a more exciting nature. More ironically, ageing every-day cars are probably now rarer in the real world than the aforementioned exotica, which in our eyes makes them much more interesting. We’d certainly pay a 1980s Toyota Corolla station wagon (if ever we saw one) more attention than we would a modern Aston Martin.

And so it is on these pages today, where we’re eschewing brick-built exotica for said 1980s family estate car, with its 1.6 litre engine and well under 100bhp.

This wonderful Technic recreation of the TE70-series Toyota Corolla comes from Danifill of Eurobricks, who has captured the mundane exterior brilliantly in brick-form. Underneath is brilliant too, as a LEGO Buggy Motor, Servo Motor, and third-party BuWizz bluetooth battery provide the model with remote control drive and steering, and a surprising turn of speed.

There’s lots more to see of Danifill’s celebration of the unexceptional at the Eurobricks forum via the link above, plus you can watch the model in action via the video below. Take a look whilst we ponder a possible building contest…

YouTube Video

Off-Road at Any Speed

The 1961 Chevrolet Corvair was a brilliantly interesting car. Designed to take on Volkswagen, the Corvair was powered by a rear-mounted air-cooled flat-6 engine, which even came with the option of turbo-charging (the first production car in the world to do so).

Unfortunately however, the Corvair also featured a significant design flaw; the suspension tried to kill you.

The bean-counters at GM omitted anti-sway bars to save cost, which – when combined with that rear-mounted flat-6 engine and swing-axle suspension – caused the wheel camber to vary drastically when cornering. This created a car with wildly unpredictable handling, and therefore one that crashed a lot.

In 1965 attorney Ralph Nader published a book on the Corvair titled ‘Unsafe at Any Speed’, and Corvair sales plummeted. Of course GM did the default ‘evil corporation’ thing and attempted to smear Nader rather than fix the car, before conceding and equipping the Corvair with independent suspension.

The damage had been done though, and the Corvair carries a crashy reputation to this day. Cue Flickr’s Volker Brodkorb, who has fixed his Corvair station wagon’s handling issues by, well… turning it into an off-road monster truck.

OK, if anything the handling would be even worse, but look how cool it is! Volker’s model is in fact based on a real Corvair monster truck, which has got the Elves very excited. There’s more to see of Volker’s version via the link above, and you can check out a video of the real-life monster truck on which Volker’s model is based by clicking this link, where – amazingly – no one is killed at all.

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.