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What’s the most Lego car in the back catalogue?

As the new Tourbillon splashes down, remind yourself of Lego's gigantic ode to its predecessor. Well, you could hardly miss it

Published: 21 Jun 2024

By this point there must be many hundreds of official Lego cars to choose from, not to mention the many dozens of fantasy creations we all came up with as kids. And Lego won’t turn any old rust bucket into one of its prized sets – who wants to put in a weekend building a Hyundai Santa Fe? There’s a strict process, and there has to be a definite whiff of desirability around any potential candidate.

Jeppe Juul Jensen, creative lead, design director at Lego, is one of the people who decides what cars get made and how the company does it. “We have strong collaborations with many different car partners, so through our dialogues with them we often get a sneak peek into future car reveals. We look at how iconic the car is, connections to anniversaries of certain model types or companies or if it has a connection to a cultural moment.

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"Last, but not least, the cars we choose to create must resonate with our audience, the Lego Technic fans – so high coolness level is always critical!”

And what could be cooler than the only official Lego car that you can drive? In 2018 the Danish company built a one-off 1:1 version of the Bugatti Chiron. This Chiron was a real feat of tiny plastic engineering – it needed over a million pieces to build it, and is powered by 2,304 tiny Lego Technic motors and 4,032 gear wheels.

It weighs in at 1,500kg, which is around 400kg less than the actual Chiron, but that doesn’t really help the performance any. Despite the multiple thousands of electric motors the car only produces 5.2bhp and 68lb ft of torque. Lego was particularly proud of the fact that the car had working lights, a functioning speedometer and even the same movable aerodynamics as the real Chiron – the rear spoiler moves.

The car was built at a specialist Lego model building centre in Kladno in the Czech Republic, where more than 300 employees are tasked with building giant Lego sculptures and complex models for the company’s shops and theme parks all over the world.

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It took them 13,000 hours of development and construction once they’d accepted it wasn’t a prank, but the real test was when official Bugatti test driver Andy Wallace got behind the wheel of the car at the company’s Ehra-Lessien test track in Germany. Fortunately it all stayed together (no glue used on this Chiron) and it got a thumbs up from Wallace, as he hit speeds of up to 12mph.

Ramona Alexandra Câmpeanu, marketing director, Technic & Speed Champions, admitted the Chiron was a chance to show off. “We wanted to show that with Lego Technic, you can ‘build for real’ – the Chiron was the first Lego Technic big build, the first drivable 1:1 Lego car and the first non glued big build.”

And where is it now? “At the moment, the 1:1 car is proudly displayed in the Lego Campus headquarters, in Billund.” A limited secondhand market, then, but the beauty of this car is how hard can it really be to build your own?

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