By on December 19, 2019

best lego car kits

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.


Look, just because it says 7+ on the box doesn’t mean your author (and probably a good many of you lot) will turn away a box of LEGOs — especially when those little bricks take the form of a car when pressed together.

Just in time for Santa, we’ve assembled (pun intended — always intend your puns!) this list of LEGO car kits, a type of present which differs greatly from Caterham kit cars. This type takes up a lot less garage space and is infinitely less likely to spark marital discordia.

You’ll also notice the Porsche 911 and Chevrolet Corvette are absent from this list. That’s because despite the best efforts of LEGO engineers in Denmark, they end up look as if they were pre-crashed. The eight brick rigs shown here do a decent job of approximating the real thing.

Now, get building!

(Editor’s note: As noted above, this post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)


1. Editor’s Choice: LEGO Creator Ferrari F40

lego creator expert ferrari f40

Leading the way on this list is an exceptionally good LEGO replica of the famed Ferrari F40. Showing up on bedroom walls and in the minds of gearheads everywhere over thirty years ago, the original mega-Fezza translates well into brick form. A total of 1158 pieces click together to create a model that is about a foot long and 5 inches wide.

Those famous pop-up headlights work seamlessly while the vented rear hatch — a unit which, in reality, had to be gingerly lifted skyward by two people lest the whole thing come crashing down, reverse guillotine-style — opens to reveal the twin-turbo V8 in all its glory. How can this scribbler of words assert all these points? Because he assembled one of these LEGO-scale wonders himself two years ago.

Pros: Looks tremendous, movable parts, large dimensions

Cons: Wallet-crushingly expensive

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2. LEGO Technic Land Rover Defender

lego technic land rover defender

Vehicles that have more square edges than a cubist-inspired skyscraper are prime pickings for homages via LEGO bricks. The recently back-from-the-dead Land Rover Defender received the brick treatment almost instantly, as if there was a previous agreement between JLR and LEGO to develop it alongside the real thing.

On this model, its cabin features a detailed dashboard, working steering wheel, and gear section with two levers for engaging high or low gear ratios. This is significantly more working features than any owner of a vintage Defender can claim. There is also a selector for changing gear, plus forward-folding seats for visual access to the gearbox below.

Pros: True-to-form shape, obsessively detailed

Cons: Be sure not to lose one of the 2,573 pieces

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3. LEGO Speed Champions ’18 Challenger SRT Demon & ’70 Charger R/T

lego speed champions dodge challenger srt demon / dodge charger r/t

Not all of the LEGO car kits on this list result in a model that hogs space on the living room shelf, crowing out the family pictures and dioramas of The Walking Dead. This set is from the Speed Champions line, denoting the smaller size (about 5 inches long) of these cars when built.

In this box one will find replicas of the modern Dodge Demon and vintage Charger R/T. There are also three minifigs and an NHRA-style christmas tree that flips up each one of the lights when a sliding piece is lowered along its anterior side. How do we know this? You guessed it — your author has one of these on his self as well.

Pros: Two cars for the price of one, super cool diorama pieces

Cons: Speed Champion cars are small

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4. LEGO Creator James Bond Aston Martin DB5

lego creator expert james bond aston martin db5

Pretend you’re Sean Connery or Daniel Craig with this LEGO Creator replica of the Aston Martin DB5. This fantastic centerpiece for the home or office features a raisable bullet shield, working ejection seat, and rotating license plate.

Hauling back on the stickshift inside the DB5 reveals front-wing machine guns, just like your own commuter car. Wheel-mounted tire scythes pop out to replicate either a scene from Goldfinger or that Top Gear episode where Clarkson affixed similar rigs to a Fiat Coupe.

Pros: Looks nearly as cool as Bond himself, incorporates a yaffle of neato gadgets

Cons: The ejection seat cannot be adapted to your own car

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5. LEGO Speed Champions ‘67 Mini Cooper S Rally & ‘18 Mini JCW Buggy

lego speed champions mini cooper s rally mini john cooper works buggy

Returning to the bite-sized Speed Champions line for a minute, we find this pair of Mini Coopers, one of which is converted into an off-road buggy. The kit also comes with a start/finish line area and a pit box for each car.

LEGO says the 1967 Mini Cooper S Rally car features a roof rack with two spare tires, while the 2018 MINI John Cooper Works Buggy is wider than the Nebraska plains. Those detailed pit stop stations include tool racks, a car jack stand, and mechanic’s creeper, meaning this LEGO set is better kitted than my own garage.

Pros: Includes play set accessories and three minifigs

Cons: Size Small cars are barely as wide as one’s hand

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6. LEGO Creator Ford Mustang GT

lego creator expert ford mustang

For whatever reason, LEGO doesn’t specifically label this Mustang as a 1967 GT. Given its lines and stance, however, that’s clearly the vibe for which they were aiming. Measuring over a foot long, just like the mighty F40 model listed above, this Blue Oval beauty would look great on my office shelf. Just sayin’.

Like all good American muscle cars, this one can be customized with a host of accessories. Go mad with the included supercharger, rear ducktail spoiler, beefy exhaust pipes, front chin spoiler, and nawwwws tank. In fact, a person could change this thing up once a week with the various parts and be six months into the year before making the same car twice.

Pros: Optional accessories, jacked appearance makes other LEGOs jealous

Cons: Your productivity will suffer

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7. LEGO Creator Volkswagen Beetle

lego creator expert volkswagen beetle

Since LEGO sets lend themselves well to squared-off machinery, it is utterly gobsmacking that the crew from Denmark were able to recreate the curved Beetle fenders with surprising accuracy. Purists will decry the lack of semaphores sprouting from the car’s B-pillars but everyone else will simply appreciate the period-correct wheels and rad surfboard.

Out back is an an authentic four-cylinder air-cooled engine and fuel tank. The accessible interior features beige-colored, forward-tilting seats, plus a too-cool dashboard and steering wheel. That roof-mounted surfboard and a cooler box can be removed for groovy days at the beach, man.

Pros: Dandy Azure Blue color, excellent touches of detail

Cons: Shorter than other Creator cars (but so was the real thing)

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8. LEGO Technic Bugatti Chiron

lego technic bugatti chiron

Can’t afford to pay cash for a real Bugatti? That’s okay. Neither can 99.9 percent of the citizens on this planet. Instead pop for this advanced LEGO car build, created with an astounding 3,599 pieces and featuring the Chiron’s classic duo-tone blue color scheme.

Yeah, that’s a lot of bricks — but don’t forget that the company once made a life-sized Chiron out of LEGO. In that perspective, it’s not so bad. This set is Technic-branded, meaning it’s a 1:8 scale with cool features like an active rear wing and a good bit of detail to its W16 engine. Ignore the lack of front-end harmony and park this model face into the wall.

Pros: A Bugatti most can afford

Cons: Wonky front styling

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[Images by the manufacturer; Lead image: Toyota]

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10 Comments on “Bricked: Best LEGO Car Kits...”


  • avatar
    JimC2

    These are really great! They’re for a niche market as are all giant sizes Lego kits, but kids and kids-at-heart look at these and dream a bit.

    Technical nitpick- the red Camry in the lead photo is the wrong color and it’s not depicted in a Lego recreation of its natural habitat. It should be *beige* and it should be in the left lane moving at 10mph under the posted speed limit, oblivious to its surroundings, in front of a long line of frustrated Lego cars.

    My Dad agrees about beige Camrys and he’s not even familiar with TTAC!

  • avatar
    EGSE

    Heh heh, that Bugatti looks like the Lamborghini in The Wolf of Wall Street after DiCaprio was done with it.

    I’m not all that thrilled with car-inspired Lego stuff but I was a huge Lego fan as a kid. There was an amazing Lego display in the Kitchner-Waterloo, Ontario area about 20 years ago. I wanted to move in there but a 40-something kid wasn’t what they had in mind.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Check out the Lego 8860 Auto Chassis kit from 1980:
    – 4-cylinder ‘boxer’ engine
    – Working 3-speed transmission (no synchronizer – and thus demonstrates why this matters)
    – Working rear differential [WAY better than a diagram or a video for understanding how this works – light-bulb-over-head level comprehension]
    – Functional independent rear suspension
    – Rack and pinion steering (with Ackermann geometry)
    – Sliding/reclining front bucket seats

    http://www.technicopedia.com/8860.html

    The 8865 Test Car released in 1988 has better torsional rigidity, a V4, working front suspension and working retractable headlights.

    http://www.technicopedia.com/8865.html

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I learned most of what I know about how cars work from building these exact early LEGO kits. I remember the light-bulb moment at just how simple rack-n-pinion steering really is.

      As mentioned the current LEGO Corvette is terrible. The have a few Ferrari kits that are decent.

    • 0 avatar
      chris724

      Wow, they actually show the old one that I had too!:

      http://www.technicopedia.com/853.html

      I’m guessing it was Christmas of ’79, and this was about the coolest present ever, for my 8 year old self. I remember playing with the engine and transmission parts for other creations, well into the 80s. Do the any of the new Lego cars have the engine like that? All those little gears and moving parts was my favorite thing.

  • avatar
    downunder

    As a former child and with a father who worked for a company (Coutaulds) that produced the bricks in the mid 60’s in England, I can assure that it is a box of Lego, not Lego’s. there are Lego bricks, plates etc.. and for all those antipodean fans, it is pronounced LEGO, not LAYGO. I have fond memories of receiving Lego for christmas that cam in a wooden box, the 700 series, buying “blueprints” that showed you how to build various models.

  • avatar
    Lynchenstein

    The Mustang model can be rebuilt into a pretty nice Ford F-100 truck too:
    https://www.motor1.com/news/379783/lego-ford-f100-mustang-alt-build/

  • avatar
    conundrum

    I bought #2, the LR Defender Lego kit 42110 back in October. About page 184 and two-thirds of the way through Part 2 of the execrable manual, less than halfway through in total, I gave up for the present time. That was after hours und hours und hours of fitting bits together. The build is in four major parts. There was a missing part, an axle from Part 1, so the back drive cannot be connected to the front. The “pistons” in the engine are driven by a camshaft – so “realistic”, it’s like a sidevalve engine missing half the valves. That’ll teach those kids how an ICE works all right. The gearbox has nothing to do with reality and sits under the back seat. There are so many gears the whole thing distorts and the drive binds, when motored by finger. Some torsional stiffness in the chassis would probably help! Maybe the bodywork will assist. But who knows, there are no helpful hints or explanations in the manual as to exactly what to expect. So you’re left in the dark. A job half done, if that.

    The assembly manual offers zero explanation of what the various features are and how they work – educational, my foot. Any automaton who can rummage through slippery non-Ziplock bags to find an obscure part out of hundreds, can put the whole thing together, and be no wiser about mechanicals afterwards than they were before. All you wonder about is how someone, anyone, could sit down and design this thing. Not everything is symmetrical, so there are different set-ups side to side here and there, which is what upsets chassis stiffness and the way the coil springs work at the distorting chassis. Put the whole experience down to special training on low level spatial recognition skills figuring out the part needed next from randomly-loaded plastic bags, and you’ll be delighted. Otherwise, give it a miss. I’ll finish it sometime, maybe, and tear it apart and give it to a nephew. Maybe he’ll like the drudgery and lack of info at what Lego is actually attempting to do, what the model is supposed to demonstrate and what skills they think they are imbuing builders with. Because, objectively, there are none to be learned except patience.

    Not a patch on Meccano, the old British metal construction kits. At the age of 14 in 1962, I designed and made a 9 lb car driven by their giant clockwork motor, governor removed (careful there, boy, it’s dangerous!) I made MacPherson strut front suspension (we owned two British Fords with them) and trailing swing-arm rear IRS like VW driven from an actual differential through a u-joint per side. Springs from the hardware store. You could buy all manner of metal gears, collars, shafts and u-joints piecemeal by ordering them from a Meccano-affiliated store in a town of 1100 in rural Nova Scotia in 1962. Took about three weeks to arrive. Nice brass gears, no crap. Anyway, this thing would zip across our high school gym floor very rapidly, wheels spinning wildly. A large clockwork motor without governor is, I repeat, a hairy beast that will eat fingers if you are not careful. Something that normally operated for 50 seconds would unwind in about three with a banshee howl of gears!

    Lego Defender is a damp squib by comparison – not even an electric motor to turn the gubbins over and demonstrate the gearbox and three differentials. Hmm. Nope. Half-realized.

    And for the British guy above, the plural of Lego is Legos, no grocer’s apostrophe required. They’re not sheep. I put Lego in the same class as miniature tin soldiers available when I was a kid. You needed imagination to make them move. I liked to shoot the soldiers with matchsticks from a miniature artillery gun with a strong spring from ten feet away – about the only excitement you’d get from that stuff.

    If you want Lego, buy the cheap kits with an O-ring motor. I had one and used an axle from that on the Defender which was missing one as mentioned above. You’ll save a couple of hundred bucks as well, and have fun for all of ten minutes following assembly. The Land Rover is just going to sit there doing nothing. Oh well, it was pure indulgence that made me buy it. Now I know I should have passed.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    These are pretty neat .

    Long long ago I saw a full sized VW Beetle made of legos in a K-Mart when I was Christmas shopping for my then young son .

    -Nate

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