Porsche Posts

We Built a List of the 14 Coolest Lego Car Kits Ever!

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

The earliest Lego blocks did not lend themselves to building vehicles. In fact, wheels were kind of an afterthought at first. But as different size wheels and tires became available, all you needed to build an awesome car was some imagination and maybe a few special new bricks. There have been many automotive building sets offered over the years, but these are the coolest Lego car kits (and maybe a bus or two).

lego auto chassisTechnic Auto Chassis (Set #853) – Hard to believe this set debuted in 1977. Though the technology is a bit primitive by today’s standards, the first Technic sets were mind blowers and game-changers with their gears and side-locking bricks. This car had moving pistons, a two-speed transmission, working steering, and a few other features. Assembling it gave you the sense of how complicated a real car is. It remains one of the largest car models Lego has ever offered, even if it’s not a complete car.

lego volkswagen bus camperVolkswagen T1 Camper (10220) – The Creator series of Lego models has led to some incredibly detailed brick versions of of iconic vehicles. They’re not cheap, but they are glorious. The Volkswagen Splitty Bus is one of the most recognizable vehicles ever, and Lego captured its simple elegance with some complex engineering. The camper interior with pop top is a sight to behold.

lego mini cooperMini Cooper (10242) – Just about everything said about the VW Bus can be said about this model, except… just look at those plaid seats! Wow!

Shelby Mustang (10265) – This is one of the newest entries on the list, and one of the few American cars Lego has made. It captures just enough detail that it can’t be mistaken anything other than a ’67-68 version of the car, which is a really impressive feat.

lego friends party busFriends Pop Up Party Bus (70828)The Lego Movie and its sequel are a couple of ridiculous adventures made even more fun by the presence of models designed or inspired by kids. Among the most bonkers is this crazy party bus. It’s the product the kind of giddy imagination that makes Lego toys so popular in the first place.

lego city carSmall Car (3177) – One criticism of recent Lego vehicles designed for Minifig size is they have gotten really huge, to the point of being way out of scale. This tiny marvel looks a lot like a Smart Car, and at only 4 studs wide and 8 studs in length, it feels perfectly scaled for the Doctor Minifig which is included. Sometimes less is more!

lego cactus canyonCactus Canyon SUV (1720) – This rugged-looking compact off-roader came with all sorts of accessories that could attach to the sides, be tossed inside, or ride along with the included quad-runner. Throw in a kayak that could fit on the roof, and this was truly an adventure in a box.

lego ghostbusters ecto 1Ghostbusters Ecto-1 (21108) – On the other hand, among Lego cars that grew a bit larger in scale, this 1959 Caddy ambulance still shows remarkable restraint size-wise. And it has just enough blockiness to capture that “Lego” feel.

lego harry potter whomping willowHarry Potter Ford Anglia (75953) – The wonkiness of the Anglia’s design is captured perfectly in brick form in the Whomping Willow set. In fact, Lego has offered three slightly different versions of this car in other sets, as well as by itself (not branded as a Harry Potter set).

lego 1989 batmobile1989 Batmobile (76139, 40433) – Y’know what… to heck with proper scale for movie cars. This enormous beast, made of over 3,300 bricks, is huge and impressive. It comes with Minifigs of Batman, Vicki Vale, and the Joker and doesn’t even pretend they’re supposed to be anything more than decorative accessories.

lego burton batmobileSpeaking of accessories, this kit originally came with a bonus set, a smaller Batmobile that actually was properly scaled to those Figs. Where do you get those wonderful toys?

lego city porsche 9111974 Porsche 911 Turbo 3.0 (75895) – Scaling things back a bit, this small 911 model comes in at just 6 studs wide (and it’s based on a car with fender flares, so it should be kinda thick). There are some really clever design solutions, especially around the headlights, that make this a perfect Lego car. And it comes with tiny orange traffic cones to drive around.

Porsche 911 GT3 RS (42056) – On the other end of the 911 spectrum, some people though this gigantic model looked a bit crude for its large scale, but Porsche is really about the performance. And this model really delivers…

lego technic porsche 911 transmissionHow about a working 6-speed (!!) transmission operated by paddle shifters (!!) behind the steering wheel? Yikes! Hard to believe the humble ’77 Auto Chassis eventually led to this monster.

System I Leg Cars – The very first plastic cars made by Lego weren’t kits, but nicely proportioned HO-scale models. Apparently they didn’t think kids would want to build cars, so they considered them accessories to the houses and other buildings those kids would be creating. They did come in “garage” cases that were compatible with the bricks, however. These models were all based on European prototypes, including such classics as the VW Karmann Ghia. and T1 Bus.

lego wooden busWooden Articulated Bus – The oldest vehicles made by Lego weren’t even plastic. From the 1930s through the early 1960s, Lego made chunky wooden vechicles of all types including this bus. Wooden it be neat to see a modern plastic recreation of this one?

Lego cars span a variety of styles and complexity, providing great fun for builders of all ages. What are your favorites? Let us know in the comments!

Auto-Archives Car of the Month — 1975 Porsche 911 RSR

Throughout the late 1960s and early 70s, the factory Porsche race team was extremely successful with their 908, 917, 917/10 and 917/30 models. However, these larger capacity prototypes were extremely expensive for the small Porsche factory team to build and develop, and, as a result, Porsche did not have a competitive car ready for the new, 1973 endurance championship class being run for 3.0-litre cars.

Up against the prototypes such the Ferrari 312, the Matra-Simca MS670, and the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33, the old Porsche 908 and the aerodynamically handicapped 911 had no real chance, so Porsche Racing concentrated it’s efforts on the next generation 911, and it’s development for the upcoming world endurance championship for Group 5 cars. Amazingly, 1973 would however, see two outright victories for a 2.8-litre Porsche RSR in the World Championship for Makes. Peter Gregg and Hurley Haywood took victory at the Daytona 24-hours, and later in the year, the pairing of Herbert Müller and Gijs van Lennep scored an historic win at the Targa Florio race, held on the tortuous, 45-mile circuit that wound its way round the mountains of Sicily.

For 1974 Porsche developed a 3.0-litre version of the RSR, and in 1974 and 1975 they built 59 examples of the Carrera RSR race car that would be sold to privateer race teams while the works were developing the new Group 4 and 5 race cars, the 934 and 935. The car on display here is RSR chassis no. 005 0005 (1975, fifth car), amongst the most successful of the RSRs built and raced in that two year period. The bright-orange, Jägermeister sponsored car, designated an RSK (K for Kremer) by the team, may look like any one of those 59 RSRs, but it is actually a very special chassis, one of two cars developed for the 1975 racing season by the famous Kremer brothers, Manfred and Erwin of Porsche Kremer in Cologne, Germany. Built to race in the German Rennsport DRM Championship the three main drivers of the instantly recognisable, bright-orange car were Helmut Kelleners, Hans Heyer, and Bob Wollek. Kelleners drove in all but three of the 19 races the car competed in during 1975, taking one race victory, two second place finishes and three third places. All three drivers were in the car for a hugely significant class win at the Nürburgring 1000km in June, and Heyer also took second at the Nürburgring Super-Sprint race in September. Josef Brambring, who drove the car just the once during 1975, finished third at the final race of the season at Hockenheim.

For the 1976 season, 0005 was sold to Edgar Doren, repainted white with red and blue striping, and driven by him throughout the year. He finished the 1976 DRM season in 15th place with 55 points. The car then passed through the hands of several other European teams before being sold and shipped to a US-based owner Charles Slater in 1994. After having owned and raced the car for 18 years, in 2011 Slater decided to end a long and successful relationship and the car moved to a new owner and underwent a full, bare-shell restoration. In 2014 this significantly historic, and now highly-valuable car passed into the ownership of Colorado based collector Andrew Larson. He has raced the car at several Vintage events throughout the country and in September of 2015 the car was seen at Rennsport V with none other than works Porsche driver and winner of the 1977 Le Mans 24-hours, Jürgen Barth behind the wheel.

Maisto Adds Their Collection to hobbyDB Official Archives

Maisto Mercedes

This 1967 Mercedes-Benz 280SE is indicative of Maisto’s high quality models.

The diecast database on hobbyDB just got a huge boost, as Maisto is the latest company to host their Official Archives. Maisto is a major player in large scale diecast, offering models in scales from 1/18 through 1/64. Including planes and other vehicles, there are over 3,000 Maisto items listed on hobbyDB.

Maisto made their mark in the diecast business with their 1/18 offerings, a wide variety of nicely detailed, reasonably priced models. Their biggest competitor in that realm was Bburago, who focused on European cars, while Maisto made models of just about everything else. Maisto acquired Bburago in 2007, forming a worldwide ring of automotive nationalities. (Just last week, we announced Bburago’s Official Archive as well.)

Maisto 1972 Chevelle SSMaisto’s models have included concept cars such as the 1993 Porsche Boxster, and classics that inspired them like Porsche 550A Spyder. They also did a version of the production Boxster for good measure. They have also made models of classic but underrepresented cars like the Datsun 240Z. Maisto has made more motorcycle models than most companies as well.

Maisto Datsun 240ZThe 1/18 cars from both companies usually host a feature of opening hoods, trunks and doors, as well as working steering and suspension. Some models, such as their Chevelles, are detailed to represent multiple years (’71 and ’71) as well as convertible or hardtop. Several models are available as prepainted kits with optional wheels and other details so collectors could personalize their cars.

maisto dodge 330 kitMaisto’s first entries in the 1:64 market were inexpensive and mostly fantasy creations unlike anything the company was producing at larger scales. More recently, they have focused on premium priced, well detailed models of real cars that fit in more with the rest of their line. In the Official Archive, you will be able to search for their products broken down by the many series they have offered such as Fresh Metal and Burnin’ Key Cars.

Maisto Fresh Metal

Maisto’s Fresh Metal 3″ series features a wide range of models based on real cars and wild concepts.

With Maisto and Bburago on board, the hobbyDB Official Archives now feature two of the biggest brands in large scale diecast. Combined, they represent well over 5,000 entries in our database.

Two Maisto Porsche Models That ’Ster the Soul

Over the past two years, we’ve contributed articles to Die CastX magazine for publication on their website and in their quarterly print edition. We hope you enjoy reading about a pair of Porsches that have more in common than it seems.

maisto porsche boxster 550A

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Porsche has always charged a premium for high performance cars, but every now and then they hit the reset button and try to offer a somewhat affordable model to entice new buyers. One early model, the 550A Spyder, a tiny, extremely lightweight speedster, gained fame (or infamy) as the car James Dean was driving when he died. Some revisionists would claim he was operating it safely and within the speed limit, but such nonsense tarnishes his legacy as a, well, rebel.

Flash ahead 35 or so years to when Porsche decided a no-frills, “budget” roadster would be just the thing for the 1990s. The 1993 Boxster Concept (a mashup of “Boxer” and “Speedster”), blended modern and vintage styling cues and proved to be an instant hit. The Boxster would soon go into production looking much like the show car (minus a few sexy details) and at a relatively low starting price, which is quite a miracle.

maisto porsche boxster 550AHere are two models from Maisto representing these cars in 1:18 scale. They both feature fully sprung suspension, opening doors and other panels, and show a stark contrast in the overall size of the real cars when parked side by side. Both are finished in the appropriate not-too-flashy silver with appropriate badging.

maisto porsche boxsterThe newer Boxster concept accurately skimps on details in one important area… the drive train. Since the concept was a non-running design exercise, one could only imagine what the engine would look like at the time or where exactly it would go. The chassis is also devoid of working bits because of this omission. Maisto also made a model of the 1996 production Boxster if you prefer that version.

maisto porsche boxsterThe Boxster’s interior reproduces some strange quirks that never made it into production… the door panel inserts are asymmetrical to the point where they don’t look like they came from the same car. The dashboard and rear view mirror also echo this lack of symmetry. Also, the seatbelts are mounted to go over the occupants’ inside shoulders instead of the more common arrangement. The soft red surfaces in the model look and feel like you could sit in them.

maisto porsche 550ASuch details are of no concern on the 550A, as there was very little interior included in the original 550A. And seatbelts were just considered extra ballast. Nonetheless, the details and surfaces that are present in the Spider look and feel like they were hand assembled from as few extraneous components as necessary for the sake of speed and simplicity. The super thin steering wheel is beautiful, too. The skinny tires and bare steel wheels look perfect on this car.

maisto porsche 550AUnder the hood, a very tiny engine is dwarfed by the spare tire. Up front, there is little more than a gas tank taking up the entire compartment. The chassis on this one is also quite smooth with only the necessary bits hanging down from the engine bay.
maisto porsche 550AIt’s great to see these Maisto Porsche models representing something besides the usual 911 offerings. Side by side, the 550A and Boxster make nice bookends for two cars that aren’t that far apart in concept.maisto porsche boxster 550A

Designer Notes: Unreleased Heller Porsche 911R

Lincoln Futura Philippe de Lespinay

Philippe de Lespinay started with Heller, the French model kit company in the 1960s as a designer and project engineer. He also also worked for Cox, who are now known for their remote control and gas powered vehicles, but also created many kits over the years. More recently, he was the curator of the Los Angeles Slot Car Museum. And he’s on the hobbyDB Advisory Board, so yeah, he’s our kind of guy.

hobbyDB will be regularly sharing his insights on particular models he has worked on including production kits, never-produced projects, and his own custom builds. We hope you enjoy the journey through his career as well.

Read more about his history in the toy and model business here.

Heller Porsche 911R

This car also not make it into production, unfortunately. The 911R was at the time, THE car to have if you wanted to win the GT class

heller porsche 911R kit

Notice how the views from the ends show the cross section of the hood and the rear glass at certain measurements. In a way, it’s a miracle that a 3-dimensional model could be created from drawings without any assistance from a computer!

heller porsche 911R kit heller porsche 911R kit