You’re back! You came back to my basement! Hot damn, I’m glad you stopped listening to all those people trying to convince you how dangerous and unsanitary it is down here—they’re not one of us, right? You’re in for a treat this week because I’m talking about Lego cars, just not the Lego cars you’re likely thinking of the ones made from, you know, Lego. These are the earlier Lego cars, ones that don’t seem like Lego cars at all. But they are. Just watch.
From what I can tell, the earliest Lego car actually made from Lego was available—officially, since I’m sure kids have been making square-wheeled Lego cars since day one—in I think 1963? I think it could be this set:
I could be wrong about the year (I was in the video) but it happened sometime around the early ‘60s, I think. Before that, Lego sets did include cars, but they were tiny, lovely, carefully-detailed little things that seem nothing like Lego cars. They looked like these:
These Lego cars are 1:87 scale—which train geeks know as HO scale—cars, and they have kind of flimsy plastic bodies and charming steel unpainted wheels.
They tend to be European cars, with most that I’ve seen being Volkswagens, which may be why I loved them so much as a kid. There’s also Ford Tanuses and Citroëns and Mercedes-Benzes and other good old Euro iron represented, too, though.
The ones I’m showing in the video were ones I played with as a kid. I’m old as hell, but not that old—these were around in sets from 1957 or so, and the ones I had were hand-me-downs.
The details are wonderful, as they replicate, for example, the corrugations in a Beetle’s pan and the fork of the central backbone perfectly, and on the Bedford tow truck I have there’s exhaust pipes and gas tanks and all kinds of great detail underneath.
The Beetle I have has been through some rough times, being stepped on decades ago and fixed with tape also decades ago, but it’s still pretty much intact.
I love that they even bothered to mould in the tiny Wollfsburg crest over the hood handle. Man, I had good eyes as a kid.
Speaking of kids, Otto joins me for this one, though he sort of has his own agenda, I think. Kook.
As always, I hope you enjoy the geekery! Let me know if there’s any other dorky stuff you’d like to see in the basement of crap!