Motor-mad fans build life-sized Lego cars

Famous toy bricks can be used to build pretty much anything, including a drivable Bugatti

04 July 2019 - 12:07 By Phuti Mpyane
It took more than 400,000 pieces to recreate a McLaren Senna supercar in remarkable detail. Picture: SUPPLIED
It took more than 400,000 pieces to recreate a McLaren Senna supercar in remarkable detail. Picture: SUPPLIED

The story of Danish business Lego’s journey from its humble beginnings brought upon by the Great Depression of the 1930s is rather interesting. Fascinating still is the enthusiasm and the patience of devotees of these toy bricks.

A self-proclaimed Lego artist once recreated Michelangelo’s David from 16,349 bricks for an exhibition while another once built a life-size model of Santa Claus and his sleigh complete with nine reindeer using 700,000 Lego bricks. Lego has not escaped the attention and imagination of passionate builders who also have a love for cars.

However, what must rank as an epic test in commitment is the replica of the London Bridge made out of 5,805,846 individual Lego bricks to reveal the new Land Rover Discovery. It’s a Guinness World Record structure.

MOTORING PODCAST | Cargumentative: Gymkhana life & best advice

For more episodes, click here

Subscribe: iono.fm | Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Pocket Casts | Player.fm

Beyond the historic availability of pint-sized Lego sets that people can use to construct some choice vehicles, the latest being the 2020 Land Rover Technic set, some individuals and companies have gone beyond the regular call to action — building full-scale replicas of cars, some of which can even be driven. Here are some of the most impressive life-sized car builds we’ve found.

McLaren Senna

In March 2019, McLaren in partnership with Lego debuted a full-scale, 467,854-piece Lego replica of a McLaren Senna which you can also climb into, sit in and listen to a simulation of the real supercar going at 335km/h. It took 10 people working 2,725 hours to click together all of the pieces. It weighs 1,518kg.

McLaren 720S

The Senna isn’t the only McLaren to have been realized in the toy bricks. Though it began as part of the Lego Speed Champions range of miniature model cars, the McLaren 720S was the British supercarmaker’s first full-scale build project, followed up by the Senna.

McLaren’s first Lego build was left unfinished so that visitors to the 2017 Goodwood festival of speed could complete the 720S replica. Picture: SUPPLIED
McLaren’s first Lego build was left unfinished so that visitors to the 2017 Goodwood festival of speed could complete the 720S replica. Picture: SUPPLIED

VW Camper Van

Another automotive icon that’s immortalised in the colourful plastic bricks is VW’s 1967 Camper van. This blocky hippie mobile was the brainchild of one Rene Hoffmeister, a German who not only shares a surname with an iconic BMW shape but is said to be one of only 12 officially certified Lego model makers in the world.

Flower power turned to brick power with this VW camper van replica. Picture: SUPPLIED
Flower power turned to brick power with this VW camper van replica. Picture: SUPPLIED

Together with a colleague they completed the full-scale replica of the T2 using 400,000 Lego bricks. It weighs 700kg and took six weeks to complete

Honda Civic Type R

Here is an exact scale replica of the Honda Civic Type R hot hatch. It was built in Australia and took more than 1,300 hours, 320,000 mostly white Lego bricks and a crew of nine to hand-build under the guidance of global expert Ryan McNaught, a Lego Certified Professional. 

The weight of the imitation Civic Type R Lego model is 1,300kg, which pretty much rivals that of the real thing at 1,380kg. Picture: SUPPLIED
The weight of the imitation Civic Type R Lego model is 1,300kg, which pretty much rivals that of the real thing at 1,380kg. Picture: SUPPLIED

The car is shaped with a considerable collection of curved lines, and has working lights and indicators. A steel frame supports the structure of bricks, all glued together, and is built completely by stock standard pieces.

The car “comes to life” with the help of an iPad which turns on the headlights, DRLs, fog lights, hazard lights, brake and reversing lights. According to McNaught the most challenging elements of the build were the window wipers, due to their fragility, and the back spoiler, which needed a structure to allow it to float.

Bugatti Chiron

Now this is special. To prove the versatility of its product, Lego itself embarked on a remarkable mission to build a true copy of a 1:1 scale Bugatti Chiron using Lego Technic elements.

Amazingly this Bugatti replica is built from and powered by Lego elements. Picture: SUPPLIED
Amazingly this Bugatti replica is built from and powered by Lego elements. Picture: SUPPLIED 

Nothing out of the ordinary here except: “We also wanted our car — for the first time ever — to actually drive and be powered by the same Power Functions motor technology we use in our standard model,” the company said.

The idea originated after Designer Aurelien Rouffiange and the team had just completed a 1:8 scale model of the Chiron and began to debate what the ultimate challenge for the Lego Technic building system would be.

After more than 13,000 man-hours, 2,304 Lego power functions motors, 4,032 gear wheels and 2,016 cross axles from the Lego Technic elements, a self-propelled Chiron made from over 1,000,000 Lego elements rose from plastic bricks. It was even tested on the same tarmac of the test track as used to develop the original Chiron in Germany by Bugatti’s official test driver and former Le Mans winner, Andy Wallace, and also features a functional rear spoiler and speedometer.

Some other famous car recreations in Lego include Ferrari and Renault F1 cars, a Porsche 930 Carrera, and a Porsche 911 GT 3 RS.

X