Classic American Hot Rod
You can view a complete album of pictures on flickr's website here:
The car is 1:8 scale and includes a detailed V8 engine. The supercharger is a Lego E-motor, which actually turns the engine. The "transmission" is also functional.
The body is 16 studs wide, not including the fenders, door handles, mirrors, etc. The whole car is about 20 inches long. I'm not sure how many studs that translates to.
Suicide doors open by turning the engine and shifting gears. The trunk opens manually to access the battery box, which can easily be removed to replace the batteries.
I am an AFOL who rediscovered Lego about a year ago, when I bought my first set in about two decades. I've been hooked every since! My favorite themes are Technic, Creator, and Star Wars. Growing up I was a huge fan of Model Team and the classic space theme. The style of Model Team and Creator influenced my hot rod design most.
It wasn't long after I got back into Lego when I discovered Cuusoo and became even more excited. It's such a great, new opportunity I knew I had to be a part of. It was about six months ago when I decided to build my own project. I thought about it, long and hard. So far, I noticed licensed sets have generally been most popular. But I wanted to come up with something original. I wanted to build something that wasn't already on Cuusoo, something that Lego hadn't quite done before, and something that I felt could appeal to a wide range of people of all ages. I thought about what I really wanted to build, what I would enjoy most, and what I knew a lot about.
If I could wish Lego to build any set I wanted, what would it be? I believe I have come up with that project, an 1/8th scale classic American hot rod.
The design, building, and buying of parts has taken me about a half a year to complete. Ideas changed over time, and eventually I ended up with what you see here. It is meant to be a generic design, but it does share some resemblance with a commonly customized 1932 Ford roadster. Yellow seemed to be the best color for a Lego hot rod and I am quite happy with the result.
I like to think I have come up with my own, original techniques. I am certain that is difficult to achieve, however. At least I came up with a few ideas I had never seen done before, such as the minifigure skull for a gear shift knob. But that's not to say I am the only person to have thought of it. I can honestly say I did not build this car based on any other design. Any similarities to previous designs is a coincidence.
The car is highly detailed and includes as many parts as I could fit in. I originally intended to build a fully remote controlled car, that could be driven. But I started on this project long before I became aware of Lego's new servo - now available, and included with the amazing 4x4 Technic crawler recently released - and decided on other remote control Power Functions.
I tried to make the car as functional as possible. I chose a convertible version instead of a coupe, so that the IR receiver would be clearly visible. It's more or less a body on frame design with a chassis similar to the real thing. A modern upgrade includes independent front and rear suspension. Of course, it includes a true V8, which is a must-have for an American hot rod, and it is supercharged too. For the supercharger I used a Lego E-motor, which turns the motor and connects to a functional gear box. The gear shifter has three positions, center being neutral. Forward opens the passenger door and pulling it back opens the driver's side door. Another Lego Power Function includes a second electric motor in the trunk, which turns an actuator that adjusts the rear suspension height. The battery box is also located in the rear, which is easily removed by opening the trunk (see flickr album). Another function includes the steering wheel, which does turn the front wheels. The steering geometry is not technically an Ackermann arrangement, but the result is very similar.
The entire model is 100% Lego. There are no "illegal" connections, to the best of my knowledge. All pieces are currently or recently available, except for maybe the exhaust manifold (which I happened to get from the only somewhat large Lego hot rod model produced: set 5541). I originally had a full exhaust designed with more traditional headers, which you can also see on flickr.
I used a common white 2x2 round tile clock for the speedometer and four typical 1x1 gauges. In the picture above you'll see a photoshopped speedometer, because I couldn't get a hold of the few 2x2 speedometers from older Lego models (I ordered the only one available on Bricklink, but it got lost in the mail, I guess). I also photoshopped small round gauges onto white 1x1 round tiles commonly found on real-life hot rods. I think it would be cool to have new Lego gauges in the future, but otherwise currently available parts work well (see the flickr album link above for those pictures, because I am only able to share a few here). Additionally, I photoshopped a license plate, which could easily be a sticker. Other than that, there is no deceiving photo manipulation. Besides these few exceptions, what you see here online is what you would see in person.
So here you go, a fully detailed, functional, large scale classic American hot rod, which has never been done before. The closest set previously produced by Lego was the Model Team hot rod 5541 produced in 1995 and re-released in 2004. The only other hot rods I'm familiar with are small scale cars, such as city themed hot rods (e.g.: 6561), and alternate designs for a couple Technic models (e.g.: 8070). This is the set I would love to see Lego produce and I have no doubt they can improve on my concept. And that's all this is, a concept, an idea, a wish. It's now up to you and them to make it a reality.
Thanks for viewing and have fun!
This project has been featured on:
Brick Hero's Pick of the Day
The Lego Car Blog