Saturday, June 4, 2016

I Smell A (Modern) Rat…Roundup

Did you know that, here at LUGNuts, we're all a bunch of happy little trendsetters? Its true. We have become the cornerstone for LEGO automotive groups. You'll never find another quite like us. We're the first LEGO group to make it through well over 100 build challenges, we may have also been the first non-geographic LEGO group to get a LEGO Ambassadorship way back when I was a horrible Ambassador. Lot of good that did us! But still, other groups brag about being successful non-region specific groups but I'm pretty sure we did it first. So suck it, VirtuaLUG! Wow, such hostility! In our illustrious ranks we have published authors, professional journalists and photographers, folks with doctorate degrees and…uh…criminals…probably. I don't know, now I'm just grasping for straws. But this month we set a new trend. We created a challenge that specified in modern rat rods; something you almost never see in the real world, and we pretty much created the blueprint for what car customizers will be doing 20, 30, or 50 years from now. We called it I Smell a (Modern) Rat and we managed to set trends with varying degrees of success ranging from "that would probably happen" to "what the hell were you thinking?" Lets see how we did, shall we?

First in the WTF category is John Marshmallow and this 1996 Toyota Supra A80 with a rainbow clown wig paint scheme, a little dude in a sweater vest, and some convoluted backstory about some crash in '97. That's nothing. It was the housing crash of '08 that spawned at least two movies about it and saw millions losing their jobs for years.

Way to bring the room down already! Anyway, next on the Marshmallow slab is this 2014 Audi R8 Rat Rod called "Condescending Quattro". It features a rainbow clown wig paint scheme again and a chop so drastic it has mail slot windows.

Laugh all you want at this 2008 Smart Fortwo but there's one thing you gotta give credit for to the human marshmallow; setting a trend with a rat rod with cambered wheels. Here's why. Who currently cambers their wheels? Young douchebags. Who builds rat rods? Old men reminiscing about their youth. Hence you're looking at the trend twenty years from now. You're welcome, I guess.

S'more of that rainbow clown wig paint scheme and camber from John Marshmallow. I've got nothing else to say about that other than… y'all gonna make me lose my mind…up in here, up in here!

For John's fifth and final entry he submitted a 2014 Scion FR-S GT3, which was about as close to what a rat rod should look like as he could get. The youngin actually evolved before our eyes, admitted to not knowing what rat rodding is all about and apologized to Nathan for ruining his cool idea. You're learning, John. You're learning.

Speaking of learning, JohnniD shows us what the world can be like if it included a chopped, lowered and fender-less Mini Cooper rat rod. The world would be crazy cool, yo!

Johnni comes back later to show us what the world would be like if it included a chopped lowered and fender-less Volkswagen Golf MK1 Rabbit Rat-Rod. Apparently it would be a world of recycled jokes!

In a world where jokes are recycled and every movie trailer begins with "in a world", Loek M recycles a 2015 Citro├źn Picasso and gives it a rusted out rat rod look. Also the requisite douchy camber.

Loek comes back later with a ratted out Prius Centaur for when you want that grungy, dangerous ratty look, but still want 40 miles to the gallon.

Peter Blackert starts us off with a whole slew of ratted out renders, the first being in typical Australian fashion, something that sounds like it comes from a Mad Max movie. Turns out Mad max Beyond The Thunder Dome was already taken so he went with ThunderMad.

Here's a version of the same ThunderMad in pristine lemon-y yellow.

Fun and RWD go together like obsessed creeps and restraining orders as evidenced by this Mazda Miata (MX-5). Add a V-8 engine and you have fun, RWD and fast.

Next on the Peter slab is 'Pig-Up' which is the bastard child of the 2003-2013 Ford Crown Victoria and the 2008-2014 Ford (Australia) Falcon Ute. I'm not sure if this actually happened or was a figment of Peter's imagination but he tells us they'd likely end up looking like this.

Here's the same thing except factory fresh with that new car smell.

Hot rods should be one-of-a-kind rolling works of art. Which is precisely why the Prowler flopped so hard. A production "hot rod" with a wimpy engine, what were they thinking? So Peter does right by swapping the Chrysler 3.5 lite V6 (253 hp) with a modern Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Superchared 6.2 litre HEMI V8, with 707 hp and calling it the Hemi Howler.

Peter brings up a good point. Often rat rods don't become rat rods on purpose, but over time. Here's a case where a 1971 Nissan pickup truck licensed to an Iranian manufacturer gets an engine upgrade in the form of a GM OHV small block. Lose the hood and the tailgate and vroom, vroom, vroom!

Sometimes a good way to butter up the bosses is to mention them as often as humanly possible, grovel incessantly and pay homage to something they built before. Although I never imagined a dedication to me would ever be in the form of a Toyota Previa Minivan, this Blue Hawaiian remake would look great along the Australian surf coast.

Peter demonstrates a clear understanding of what rat rodding is all about with this VW "Dirty Rabbit". You concoct this monster by taking a VW Amarok 4x4 Pickup Frame and replacing the pickup body and loadbox with Golf Mk V Hatch (also known as the VW Rabbit in the US).

Why the heck hasn't anyone built a rat rod called a "Dirty Sanchez"? While you're all looking up that lowbrow reference, Peter shows us what rat-rodded off-roading can be like with this Toyota FJ Super Crusier with a V8 from a Toyota Tundra. Since Peter didn't come up with a name for this beast, I'm going to make in executive order and call it the Dirty Sanchez. All in favor, say aye!

It seemed like just last challenge, Peter's straight-laced engineering mind could not even conceive the notion of customization. But now, he is customizing like…well like someone with an art degree instead of an engineering degree. Take this Lincoln Town-Coupe, for example. The customizations are complex so I'll just let his own write up do the talking.

I'm pretty certain this has never happened in the history of the world ever. This is why we are trendsetters, people! PauloD takes Ferrari 550 Maranello rat rod, with a Hellcat engine swap and calls it the "Galloping Heresy".

Predicting that everyone else would do something out of Mad Max, Lino Martins instead creates a beach combing, fishing, surfing Dodge Magnum and calls it Magnum Opus. The hilarious part of that? No one built anything Mad Max.

Sam Sir Manperson submits a rat-rodded Volvo 850 and wanted to call it something like Rat-in-the-Box but decided against it. But since you already put it out in the universe you have no choice but to call it Rat-in-the-Box. You know why? Dirty Sanchez is already taken by Peter.

UndercoverWookiee submits a cambered rat rod along with a poetic write-up. Excerpts from the write-up: it's a real neck-breaker, the engine is a real shaker…and it has a big wang, apparently. That's all a car ever needs.

We know there are rat rods but I wonder if there is a such thing as bear rods? If anyone is to make bear-rodding a thing it would be the cuddly bear Tim Inman and his bear-rodded Kia Soul called "Overbite". Probably the bear from The Revenant would be much more cheery if this entered his woods instead of the yelling, screaming DiCaprio. Just sayin'.

Nathan Proudlove takes what is essentially his own Volvo V70 in real life and rat rods the bejesus out of it with a severe chop and camber and makes it into a fifth wheel hauler to hall a show truck that's too prissy and princess-like to make it to the show on its own.

The future is a scary, scary place according to Ralph Savelsberg aka MadPhysicist and also according to the makers of the movie Elysium. In order to future-proof your Nissan GT-R it is imperative that you rat rod the ever loving bejeezus out of it with weird mechanical doodads and grating across the windows. Then, and only then are you safe from future maniacs!

Senator Chinchilla knows that rat-rodding doesn't need to be extreme to be cool. Take this sporty Mazda RX-5 f'instance. It just needs to be fast and have cup holders. This surely fits the bill as evidenced by the stunning interior and under the hood shots.

Is that all of them? I think it is. Take note, young douche bags. This is what you'll be doing to cars twenty years from now when your belly gets paunchy and your hairline has receded. So cambering bear-rods with surf boards, rust, cup holders, rainbow clown wig paint schemes, engine swapping and a little something called a Dirty Sanchez; this is what your future holds for you. We have already mapped it out for you in no unclear terms. You're welcome! But long before you get the paunchy belly, receded hairline and Dirty Sanchez, what does your future hold for you like a month from now? It turns out we have that covered too. We're picking at old wounds and going back to a decade we call The Fabulous Forties. What makes it so fabulous? Well, I wasn't around in the forties but I'm sure it was a decade of…uh…Japanese, Russian, American, English, French, and German children playing nicely together in a decade of…uh…peace and harmony. And…uh…bra-lessness. Right? Aren't the forties known for hot women and rampant bra-lessness? Anyway, I'll do a little research about the forties before next roundup. Until then, sayonara suckers!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Matter of Life and Death...Roundup

The following segment may be unsuitable for some members of our wusses, wimps, and weenies. Like Peter Folger of 917 Oakhurst Drive who wets himself whenever he hears a loud noise. Like Abigail Greene of 32 Willamette Way who sits alone in her darkened room and writes lesbian vampire fiction and cries herself to sleep each and every night. Like Richard Prather who, at the age of 56, still lives with his mommy on 626 Elm Street. He's never been employed, never known the touch of another and spends a bit too much time in the bathroom with the Sears catalog. We're onto you, Richard. We know what you're doing in there. Anyway, these are but three of the pathetic souls who don't find this blog agreeable to their rather milquetoast bland existences. But for the rest of you, we have a challenge called A Matter of Life and Death, all about cars, trucks, and bikes somehow pertaining to, you guessed it, life and death.  So grab yourself a...uh...Sobe Lifewater and a Dead Guy Ale, sit back and enjoy the roundup. Except for you, Richard. You go back to doing whatever the hell you were doing in there.

Speaking of knowing what you're doing in there, John Marshmallow takes out his trusty paper towels and builds himself a...DR Spritestaa or something. Seems youngins enjoy making up their own cars. This one, he thought was going to be the silliest car he has ever built but that is just a depraved slippery slope into much, much sillier things.

DR Spritestaa with Anti-Everything Gun

 But first, here's a 1986 Chevy Van Ambulance. It'll be the first of many ambulances in this roundup. Yes, in a challenge all about life and death, more than a few of us went the predicable route but all the fun is how we handled the predictability.

1986 Chevrolet Chevy Van Ambulance "Speedy Saviour"

 Next John brings in The Fuzz to put a stop to all this silliness with this 1999 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. Pull over, says The Fuzz. Do you know how fast your were going? Have you had anything to drink this evening? Where are your pants? You have the right to remain silent.

1999 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor "Fuzzmobile"

It seems I had the right to remain silent but didn't have the ability. Anyway, the police arrived much too early in my humble opinion. Now would have been a good time to arrive and rid us of this...uh...Aviator American Sprite that has a trans-orange radar dish and a bouquet of flowers for some reason. Oh boy. When does this end?

Post-Apoc Zombie Sprite

I'd rather die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather and not screaming in terror like the passengers in his car. How'd I do? That'll be the first of many life or death jokes I'll crack this roundup. Here's a 2009 Cadillac DeVille hearse with a coffin in a back.

2009 Cadillac DeVille Hearse "Death Drifter"

John's next submission is a 1972 Ford Pinto Wagon, which puts it squarely in the death category. You have no idea, kid! I spent my early childhood in the back seat of a 1970 Pinto. Except at the time I was unaware of my dad's blatant disregard for our safety and I imagined I was in an orange spaceship.

1972 Ford Pinto Wagon

A spaceship that would have sent me straight to the moon had someone gently tapped the gas tank. Well, it seems John has cleaned up his paper towels for good and posed his 2017 Aviator Primavera Sport Coupe (whatever the hell that is!) in a photo lightbox. Now all he needs to do is turn on some lights and iron the backdrop. And stop building silly made up cars.

2017 Aviator Primavera Sport Coupe(PV1-2FFHS/R)

Inky the Octopus makes a daring escape from a New Zealand aquarium in the middle of the night. He presumably went out the top, made his way across the floor and down a 50 meter drainpipe which lead to the ocean and to freedom is what I'm reading about instead of whatever the hell is going on with this "Rodzilla".

John Marshmallow's 2000 Nissan Skyline GT-R Hot Rod "Rodzilla"

In a similar story, a chimpanzee named Cha Cha escaped from a zoo in Sendai, Japan, and led police and zoo staff on a dramatic two-hour chase through a residential neighborhood. Also Johnni D chimes in with a rather clever rendition of the iconic little car from the Game of Life, complete with little pink and blue pegs. Oh, man, I loved that game!

Game of Life Car

Proving that all good stories end with the sweet, sweet release of a tranquilizer dart, Andrea Lattanzio rescues us all and hoses us down with this stunning Chuck Miller Ford C-Cab Fire Truck. This is what LUGNuts challenges are supposed to be all about, ladies and gents. This right here!

Fire Truck | '67 Chuck Miller’s Ford C-cab

Loek M begs the question: Did anyone order two ARV's? Ralph? Peter? Anyone? Seems no one did, but he delivers them anyway on this MAN military transporter, thus representing the death part of our life or death challenge.

Image not found

Loek chimes in later with the Volvo V90, arguably the safest estate car in the history of the world ever. Crashing in one of this puppies is like the gentle caress of a wayward lover under a lonesome alabaster moon. Wait, what? Somebody has been reading too many bad romance novels!

I have nothing against imgur per se...

And that someone being...Honey Boo Boo? Presidential hopeful Donald Trump? The entire Mormon Tabernacle Choir? I don't know. I don't read romance novels, nor do I know anyone who does. I consider myself very intelligent. I read books by that wheelchair guy. What's his name? Oh right, Larry Flynt! Anyway, here's a Honda Life Step Van.

Seriously dude, use Flickr for your images.

A guy named Reclusiam asks the question: What better way to reach the edge of life and death than in a coffin strapped to a top fuel dragster? Dude has a point. You can't argue with that kind of logic. Its like the angle of the dangle is directly proportional to the heat of the meat. Pure logic right there.

Top fuel coffin

Or is it the angle of the dangle is inversely proportional to the heat of the meat? Now I'm confusing myself! This is why I was never good at algebra. Ralph, you are a physicist, do you have any insight on the matter? Anyway, Reclusiam comes back with a drag racing, wheelie pulling ambulance and hearse which, you'll soon learn is precisely what Tim and I came up with later.

The duel of life and death

Peter Blackert reasons that James Bond is well acquainted with matters of life and death. He even stars in movies with the theme in the title. Least popular of all Bonds was the bloated loaf of Wonder Bread Pierce Brosnan in 'Tomorrow Never Dies' with this equally unpopular 1997 BMW R1200C Motorcycle.

BMW R1200C Motorcyle (James Bond - Tomorrow Never Dies))

The jury is still out as to whether the new all-female Ghostbusters movie will be popular or not, but like the original it will feature a Cadillac configured as a white and red ambulance / hearse. In both movies, the vehicle was about 30 years old, so for the original this meant the iconic 1959 Cadillac 'Ecto-1', for 2016, this means an updated 1984 version of the equivalent car.

Ghostbusters 2016 - 1984 Cadillac Series 70 Fleetwood Ambulance / Hearse

"Now pay attention, 007. Q-Branch has had to cut back on expenses, so we have been purchasing BMWs instead of Astons. I know that this is not your style, but hey, you aren't the most favorite of Bonds either, so get over it." I'm sure the conversation went something like this during 'Tomorrow Never Dies'. See, sometimes I don't have to write my own jokes as Peter did it for me. Good job.

BMW E38 750iL (Tomorrow Never Dies)

 Peter leaves me holding the bag for writing the humor for the Presidential Lincoln limousine in which President J. F. Kennedy was shot and assassinated in November 1963. Great, way to take the air out of the room, Peter! You sure know how to kill a comedy streak! I suppose JFK's life would have been saved had he suddenly spotted something shiny on the floor. What, too soon?

Lincoln Continental SS-100-X

 I suppose JFK's soft, supple watermelon of a head would have been better protected had he have been riding in this quirky 1948 Packard Henney Ambulance instead. The car at the time was said to look like a bathtub or a whale so you know it was safe.

Packard 1948 Henney Ambulance

 Speaking of safe, Peter's sixth entry for your approval is the Volvo 240 in "safety orange" as it was marketed as back then. Crashing in one of these puppies is as relaxing as a firm, yet gentle caress of a gifted masseuse with aroma therapy candles going and the soothing embrace of John Tesh music playing softly in the background.

Volvo 245 DL Estate (1975)

Speaking of happy endings, many Formula 1 racer's lives were saved by a Mercedes-AMG GT S Safety car. These high speed specialized vehicles acted as first responders with medical aid whenever a racer was in peril. Did JFK have one of these? No. OK, lets move on.

Mercedes-AMG GT S (2015/16 F1 Safety Car)

Should things not go so well for you in Geelong, Australia, (after all, there are no less than 4, 346 deadly animals there wanting to kill you) you can at least take solace in knowing your final ride can be had in luxurious style with this Tuckers Funerals 1960 Ford Galaxie Hearse.

Ford 1960 Galaxie Hearse (Tuckers Funeral Service - Geelong, Australia)

Taking us back from the dead and back into the action-packed world of James Bond,  Roger Moore drove this AEC Regent III RT246 Double Decker Bus used in the 1973 Film 'Live and Let Die'. In one scene, he drove it under a low bridge thereby slicing off the top deck, which then landed on the pursuing baddy following behind. Good times, good times.

AEC Regent III RT246 1947 (James Bond - 'Live and Let Die' - 1973)

Proving that Peter is just no good at delivering happy endings, he presents this Williams-Renault FW16 Formula 1 Racer that racing legend Ayrton Senna succumbed to massive head trauma and died in. Yikes!

Williams Renault FW16 (#2 Ayrton Senna - 1994)

I barely remember Cannonball Run but in looking back and seeing Adrianne Barbeau and Tara Buckman in mostly unzipped spandex jumpsuits; holy crap, maybe its something I ought to add to my Netflix list right now! Ralph Savelsberg presents the van and some of the cast.

The Cannonball Run Ambulance

Later Ralph proves that all the girls go crazy over a sharp dressed man. And sweet cars. And huge beards. They also forego overall good grooming standards so long as you're in ZZ Top. Ironically, the one guy in ZZ Top who doesn't have a beard...his last name is Beard. Go figure!

ZZ Top Eliminator

Next Ralph presents a vehicle and team who encompass the very definition of "a matter of life and death". Unfortunately bomb technicians such as these are clocking in overtime hours as of late thanks to dick bags like ISIS who decide to make the world a rather uncertain place to live in. This particular one is a model used by the Dutch Ministry of Defense bomb disposal teams.

Dutch MoD EOD van

What the world needs more of is Firas Abu-Jaber and his 2016 Bugatti Chiron.  This beautiful beast has the highest safety rating of any super car but can exceed speeds of over 200MPH thereby making this car both "The life support" and "The death dealer".

Bugatti Chiron

Alexander Pashoaletto  chimes in with this Smoke Squadron Monster Truck. Its a little unclear how it fits into the life or death category but who cares, its a monster truck with working suspension, by golly! You betcha! Jimminy Christmas!

Smoke Squadron Monster Truck

What this world needs more of (besides Firas Abu-Jaber riding on a unicorn and farting rainbows) is more zombie Linos. Luckily Sir Manperson answers my prayers (not the one about farting rainbows) with a zombie Lino and a post-apoc hearse with a Gatling gun coming out of a coffin. Surprisingly, this is not the first zombie Lino ever built in LEGO but the more the better to feed on your delicious braaaaaains.

Post Apoc Hearse with Zombie Lino - 10-wide - Lego

George Michael and the other guy from Wham! would surely enjoy this Whambulance as built by Nathan Proudlove. It demonstrates just the right formula of "controlled chaos" essential to rat rodding, and hot rodding. Also drag racing. Its sure to wake you up before you go go!


Speaking of shady encounters in a truck stop bathroom, Lino Martins (hey, that's me!) propositioned his buddy Tim Inman (not in a truck stop bathroom but rather via texting) to team up and build a wheelie pulling drag racing duo. First you take a ride in my '31 Flatline Ford Ambulance...

'31 Flatline Ford

...Then you end up in Tim Inman's Hells Bells '67 Cadillac hearse. I was like...yo, dawg, you know what would be dope? Then he was like...what? Then I was like...we build a drag racing ambulance and hearse pulling wheelies! Then he was like...what if someone else thinks of that? Then I was like...don't be stupid, dawg! Ain't nobody else gonna think of that! Then he was like...OK, dawg!

"Hell's Bells" 1967 Cadillac Hearse

Then sure enough someone else thought of it. But that's how our buddy challenge went down. Incidentally, I'm pretty sure that is also how bills are passed into law. And that is how we come to a satisfying end to our life and death challenge. I'm pretty happy, overall, with how it turned out. What do you think? Never mind. As evidenced by the rock stupid comments you people usually leave, your opinions aren't all that important. You know what is important? Other than that may or may not be the Green River Killer hidden behind your hamper? We have another action-packed challenge for you and the guy behind your hamper. Its called I Smell A (Modern) Rat and I assure you that if you participate in this challenge, you will become a trendsetter. You will show future generations of car customizers how it is all done. Here's the deal; you take any modern car built 1996 and after and make a rat rod out of it. Its proving to be not as easy as it sounds. But tune in next month to see how we pull it off. I'll crack more rock stupid jokes, you'll leave rock stupid comments and the world will go on. So until next time. Later!