What is it?
The Brutus Experimental Vehicle is a one-off prototype, inspired by 1930s land-speed record cars that raced at Brooklands in Britain. It is powered by a giant 46-liter V12 BMW airplane engine, mounted on a 1907 chassis, and was created by the talented people at the Sinsheim Technik Museum in Germany.
Like probably a lot of people outside of Germany, I first saw the Brutus on the popular British TopGear motoring show, where Jeremy Clarkson drove it on a wet racetrack. He said it was a handful to drive, partly due to the skinny tires, and poor brakes.
Why did I build it?
As a lifelong fan of LEGO, especially LEGO Technic, during the pandemic I was inspired to build a functional model of the Brutus. I chose the Technic motorcycle tires, which gave a scale of 1:10. I built the V12 engine out of Technic elements - I knew the usual yellow Technic pistons would be much too small.
I tried to keep the model as realistic as possible, and wanted to push the limits of Technic. I used flexible LEGO elements as leaf-springs for the suspension, and chain-drive to the rear wheels. Similar to the real Brutus, I created a sequential 3+R transmission, with a small gear indicator on the floor. Gears are changed with a ratcheting lever on the outside.
The real V12 engine has a unique layout with 6 main, and 6 smaller auxiliary connecting rods. After many attempts, I was able to replicate this with LEGO Technic elements, as shown in the small red 2-cylinder prototype. The engine alone is made up of 500 LEGO elements.
Making the bodywork using Technic panels was interesting, especially the curved rear section. For the sharp nose and radiator, I used normal system LEGO elements. It was also very challenging to make the long chassis stiff enough to support the heavy V12 engine.
I've included photos of prototype1 and prototype2 to give an idea of the evolution of my design. The final Brutus model is 63cm long, 19cm wide, and 17cm tall. It is made up of about 1100 LEGO elements.
Why do I think this would make a great LEGO set?
For me it, LEGO Technic has always been about building realistic and functional vehicles. I believe it is a fantastic tool to explain / teach kids about HOW different mechanisms really work. My model of the Brutus includes a few unique ideas not typically seen in Technic sets:
- An engine built out of Technic elements
- A working leaf-spring suspension
- Chain-drive to the rear wheels
- A sequential transmission with gear indicator, and ratcheting mechanism
The LEGO Technic slogan is “Build for Real” - which I believe describes my Brutus pretty well!