Sunday, November 26, 2017

Happy 10th Anniversary, LUGNuts...Roundup!

Ahem. Is this thing on? Testes, testes...1...2...3. Hello, LUGNuts! Wow, who could believe this moment finally arrived! Welcome to our 10th anniversary challenge and our final roundup. Yes, after 120 official challenges, this very special one, simply called  Happy 10th Anniversary, LUGNuts,         will be our last. If you care to make this roundup a more special experience, you may imagine me on stage at a podium wearing a leopard print tux and a bowtie yammering into a mic...cocktail glass in hand. You're free to imagine the contents of said glass. Go ahead, surprise me. I won't mind. An equally attired drummer, maybe Nathan, is on hand with a buh-dum-dum rim shot whenever I crack a bad joke. Our other admins, Ralph, Tim, and Peter are in the front row with their friends and family and the theatre is packed with our thousands of LUGNuts members and fans. What started as a handshake between Nathan and I at BrickCon 2007 became what can only be described as THE cornerstone for LEGO automotive building. In a LEGO world of castles and spaceships, we gave a voice to a group of builders who were a little different from the norm...guys and gals who were a bit edgier, dare I say cooler. In our ten year run we have built some of the wildest and coolest LEGO cars, bikes, and trucks this world has ever known. We've seen our group grow in popularity, LUGNuts has been featured in books, magazines, and countless blogs. In our time some of us have bought homes, some have had children, some have even written books. We've seen boys grow up to be responsible college-aged adults, we've seen adult men gain twenty pounds and grow into cantankerous middle-aged men. (Buh-dum-dum) Thanks, Nathan! As always, the anniversary challenges are a good excuse to build from any challenge in the previous year and indeed all of LUGNuts history. So sit back, grab yourself a 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon and let's see how we send off our final roundup, shall we?

Your fearless leader, Lino Martins demonstrates what Star Wars would be like if it was a 70's buddy sitcom. Stan Solo, his girlfriend Laura and their big biker friend Chad Bacca seem remarkably familiar despite never formally making our acquaintance. Their imported Australian '77 Ford Falcon may not be much to look at but can loop the Kessel Track in 12 seconds.

Stan Solo's '77 Ford "Aluminum" Falcon Sundowner

It wouldn't be a LUGNuts challenge without a metric crapton of entries from Peter Blackert. Peter Blackert wouldn't be Peter Blackert if he didn't get to drive a new company car every month or so. Here's a cappuccino brown 2017 Ford Escape AWD Crossover that, according to Peter is a comfy, yet thirsty beast.

Ford 2017 Escape AWD CUV (C520MCA)

Speaking of thirsty beasts, Peter exercised his challenge #38 rights, which is to put your fate in someone else's hands and ask for a random assignment. I was thumbing through a book of show rods when I assigned Peter Bill Bierman's pink and green FREAKSHOW...a thirsty beast so freaky it defies logic.

Bill Bierman's FREAKSHOW

Challenge 99 introduced us to gas guzzling American land yachts and none were more land yacht-y than the 1961 Lincoln Continental Convertible in a flamboyant bright blue. Its like a big, bloated gas guzzling peacock, it is.

Lincoln Continental Convertible - 1961

The Holden Monaro V is the most famous Holden in Australia. Here's one in sunny lemon yellow. In the past week, the final Australian-built Commodore model was produced, and with it, the end of volume automotive manufacturing in Australia.

Holden Monaro Coupe (2001)

In 2007 when LUGNuts was founded, Lindsay Lohan was arrested for DUI and cocaine possession. This has nothing to do with this Alfa Romeo 33 Ti Type 905, but generally about five entries into Peter's deluge, my mind starts to wander.

Alfa Romeo 33 Ti (Type 905)

Also in 2007, Brittney Spear's star was also waning when she publicly lost her mind and gave herself a surprise buzzcut. She seemed so much less crazy the year before when she carelessly exited a car in a mini skirt. Here's a 2003 Mclaren-Mercedes SLR Coupe.

Mclaren Mercedes SLR Coupe

This Porsche 917 K Gulf Racing has a striking crazy light blue and orange color scheme. Back in '07 Prince also put on a striking light blue and orange outfit for a memorably provocative Super Bowl performance.

Porsche 917K Gulf Racing

Equally as crazy, back in '07, Gerard Butler has us all yelling "This is Sparta!" in our best wrestling voice. Here's Peter's Ford Mondeo Titanium Wagon built for the LUGNuts In Real Life (IRL) challenge.

Ford Modeo Titanium Estate (CD391)

Speaking of wrestling, in '07 Donald Trump and Vince McMahon went head to head in a bizarre publicity stunt in WWE's "Battle of the Billionaires. Little did we know this would later be considered a presidential act amongst the cheap beer and monster truck set. Here's a Ralston 1964 Tigre MkIII-B Four-Door Hardtop.

Ralston 1964 Tigre MkIII-B < T W E L V E > Four-Door Hardtop

The Spider-Man movie series met an untimely demise when Toby Maguire sported an emo haircut and danced his way into obscurity thus killing any chances for a fourth movie. By now, the Spider-Man reboot already came and went and is in the midst of a third incarnation. Check out this 2016 Audi R8 LMS.

Audi R8 LMS Racer

In '07, Vladimir Putin was in the news almost daily. Now 10 years later not much has changed. US's current president Trump seems to have a lurid bromance going with the nefarious and shirtless Russian president. Get a load of this Ferrari 488 GTB.

Ferrari 488 GTB - MotorCity

2007 must have been the year for irrevelent party girls to go completely ape poopy. Paris Hilton gets herself incarcerated for 23 days. Her star waned that year but another set of irrelevant party girls made their debut with Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Here's a '63 Ford Falcon Sprint Hardtop.

Ford Falcon Sprint - 1963

1953 started the famous Bel Air line as evidenced by this 1953 lemony yellow Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop, built for the place names challenge called "Places, Everyone!" Bel Air denotes a neighborhood for Los Angeles residents who are very, very well off.

Chevrolet 1953 Bel Air Hardtop

In 1982 Blade Runner became an instant sci-fi classic with it's decidedly dreary set design and music score. Now in 2017, Bladerunner 2049 comes out and Peter builds the slightly less garish but more utilitarian Spinner. Audiences are polarized right now as to whether or not 2049 will become a sci-fi classic.

Bladerunner 2049 - Spinner

Challenge 89, called "Over a Million, Under a Thousand" gave us the chance to build million dollar super cars or dilapidated old junk. Predictably most went the over a million route as evidenced by this Ferrari F12 TRS, which admittedly is more exiting than say, my dad's '86 Aries K wagon.

Ferrari F12 TRS

Crockett and Tubbs were at the forefront of 80's fashion in their pink shirts and white suit jackets. Also at the forefront of 80's fashion is this Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder from the Miami Heat series.

Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Spyder (1971)

Back to crazy facts from the year LUGNuts was founded, 2007 saw the end of Harry Potter, the Sopranos, and Bob Barker's long stint on The Price is Right. Here's a '61 Volkswagen Type-3 1500 Sedan.

VW Type-3 1500 Sedan (1961)

Nowadays, men with quite a few extra dollars to burn and very insecure egos can make themselves seem larger in this top of the line 2017 Ford F150 Lariat Supercrew. Apparently, overspending and inflating one's ego is a common thing as this is one of the better selling versions from the F150 line.

Ford F150 Lariat Supercrew (P552MCA - 2017)

When Peter was a teenager, he drove lots of girls to parties in this decidedly uncool '74 Volvo 145 Estate. The weird kicker though, the very same girls who don't care how uncool your car is, are the very same girls you'd more likely want to meet. The ones that do care, tend to be as shallow and douchy as the guys that drive them.

Volvo 145 Estate (1974)

Drama. The douchy girls that prefer a cool car also bring with them lots of drama. This was all made very clear when notorious party girl Anna Nicole Smith died of an overdose the year LUGNuts was founded. Decrepit elderly billionaires mourned around the globe as there was one less saucy blonde around who didn't mind giving them sponge baths. Here's a saucy Equus Bass 770 Coupe.

Equus Bass 770

Already has-beens, The Spice Girls had themselves a reunion tour in 2007, but was it something that we all wanted, what we really, really wanted? While you ponder that question, here's a '55 Peugeot 403 Berline. Apparently Columbo had one of these.

Peugeot 403 Berline (1955)

The 90's brought about Austin Powers and his Union Jack painted Jaguar E-Type Convertible known affectionately as the "Shaguar". Yeah, baby, yeah! Mike Meyers was at the top of his career. Its amazing what only a few years brings. Madonna was also at a better place in her career when she created the "Beautiful Stranger" video featuring this car.

Jaguar E-Type Convertible (Shaguar) - Austin Powers

Featured probably in no one's music video is this 1973 Nissan Skyline GT-R KPGC110. However, Peter built this for one of our more popular and riviting challenges ever, By Random Appointment. This was the dastardly challenge that broke many lesser builders. Raphy appointed this car to Peter and it should be noted that Raphy was also the originator of this totally awesome challenge way back in 2010.

Nissan Skyline GT-R KPGC110 (1973)

Another fun challenge was number 29 entitled "Lemons or LeMans". I love the duality challenges. This one gave us the chance to build any LeMans racer or a complete automotive flop. What category did this '73 Datsun 120Y 4-Door Sedan fit into? Well, it never raced with LeMans and Peter hammers the theme home with his bright lemony color.

Datsun 120Y 4-Door Sedan (B210 - 1973)

When LUGNuts was founded in 2007, movie theaters declared there was no country for old men, Tarantino showed us what a deadly death-proof Nova can be like and I definitely didn't cry while watching Juno, so don't go getting that goddamned idea in your heads! Here's a '63 Holden EH Premier.

Holden EH Premier (1963)

2007 also proved that astronauts were an irresistible lot as proven when lovesick albeit loony former astronaut Kim Nowak traveled cross country while pooping in adult diapers and eventually pepper spraying another aviator for the love and attention of another astronaut. Here's a 1949 Ford Custom V8 Convertible.

Ford 1949 Custom V8 Convertible

While 2007 thankfully was a hotbed for strange news happenings, just this week "Mad" Mike Hughes, who doesn't believe in science, is ironically using just a bit of science to launch himself into the stratosphere in a self-made rocket to prove once and for all...that the Earth is flat. I'd tell him this is just evolution working itself out but he also doesn't believe in evolution. Check out this awesome '61 Ford Thunderbird.

Ford 1961 Thunderbird Hardtop

And to think, just last year I had no idea Flat-Earthers still existed. I also didn't know much about White Nationalists, climate change deniers, Neo-Nazis, fake news, and something called the Dunning-Kruger Effect. That, by the way, is when someone is so profoundly ignorant, that they don't even know they're ignorant, and in fact, their opinions of their own intellect is drastically inflated. It seems our current political climate has empowered and given a voice to this lot. Here's a Toyota Corolla Levin AE86 Liftback.

Toyota Corolla Levin AE86 Liftback

You'd think we're back in 1940's Germany with all these Neo-Nazis coming out of the wood work. Fear not, for as they walk among us, they are also easy to spot. Simply state something disparaging about nazis on your favorite social media outlet. Then wait for the person who comments, with poor grammar and caps lock engaged, something about you being too judgmental. You have found your nazi! This '57 Chevy Corvette takes us to a time when these fools didn't exist.

Chevrolet Corvette C1 1957 Coupe

If modern news is just too bizarre to bear, lets go back to 2007 when O.J. Simpson finally gets thrown in prison, ironically not for murdering his wife and lover, but for conducting his own personal sting, as he put it, trying to get back his sports memorabilia in Las Vegas. Here's an awesome Fulvia Rallye Coupe in Octan Racing colors.

Lancia Fulvia Rallye Coupe - Octan Racing

And if you're worried that the US has hogged all the bizarre stories and weirdness, fear not, Merry Old England. In 2007, your native son, and already pickled Keith Richards had snorted his father's ashes along with a bit of cocaine. This explains his longevity despite looking to be somewhere in his late seven...hundreds. Peter pounds out a neat Cadillac 1976 Mirage Coupe-Utility and a Dassault Mirage IIIBZ SAAF for the LUGNuts Goes Wingnuts challenge.

Cadillac 1976 Mirage Coupe-Utility & Dassault Mirage IIIBZ (SAAF)

In other world news, a pub in Edinburgh, Scotland banned smoking in 2007, which was particularly upsetting for local drunk, Stewart Laidlaw. It wasn't because he favored smoking, but rather, with the pub's newly cleared air, the other patrons there could suddenly smell his rampant flatulance, which Stewart attests he has been passing all along. Here's Peter's '65 MG MGB GT Coupe built for the challenge God Save The Queen.

MG MGB GT Coupe (1965)

Peter builds us a 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser for the "Only in America" challenge, so naturally I went with a 2007 news story that can only happen in America. In Putnum County, New York seven seniors with sweet tooths protested a senior center's decision to eliminate donuts, cakes, and pies from the facility. They wore sandwich boards proclaiming, “Give Us Our Just Desserts” and “They’re Carbs, Not Contraband.”

1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser Hardtop Coupe

Also coming from America is this Ford 1932 V8 Coupe and Roadster. Also, the Atlanta newspaper came the tale in March 2007 of the Barbie Bandits, so called because of their blond ponytails and tendency to giggle as they robbed banks in their designer jeans and trendy sunglasses. Not surprisingly, they were captured when they took a break to visit a local salon for root touch-ups.

MotorCity Ford 1932 V8 Coupe & Roadster

A car you'll never see in America (because it was made up) is this '61 Ralston Lynx MkII-C Coupe. Something not made up, In April of '07, there was a beauty pageant in Saudi Arabia in which “the legs are long, the eyes are big, the bodies curvaceous.” The contestants also came out as bare as the day they were born for the judges, but don't worry; no modest Muslim women were exploited as this beauty pageant was for... camels.

Ralston Lynx MkII-C Coupe (1961)

The "52 Pickup" challenge enabled us to build any car inspired by card games...or any '52 Pickup. Here Peter builds us a 1952 Chevrolet Advance Design Pickup. An elderly woman from southern Thailand got onto the wrong bus and ended up spending the next 25 years living as a beggar in an unfamiliar part of the country. She was eventually reunited with her family but that'll teach her to pay attention on the bus!

1952 Chevrolet Advance Design Pickup

LEGO did this thing in 1980 where they took classic space and changed up the color scheme just a little. Blue remained, light gray became white and trans yellow became trans-dark blue. It was just enough to keep it fresh as evidenced by this Landrover Defender All Terrain Vehicle.

Landrover All Terrain Vehicle

You get the classic 487 Space Cruiser set, combine it with the 1983 Toyota Space Cruiser van and you get yourself the best classic space mashup ever. Unrelated but this year in Florida (where virtually all weird news comes from) a couple said they found a dead frog in Waffle House water glass.

Toyota Space Cruiser - Classic Space 487

From the exotic motherland of Russia comes the 1963 ZAZ 965A Zaporozhets. Also in 2007 Russia, a St.Petersberg hummer owner must have had a change of heart about his gas guzzling behemoth as he allowed environmental protesters to pelt his excessive ride with rotten eggs and tomatoes.

ZAZ 965A Zaporozhets (1963)

Is that all of Peter's entries? Wowser, is the guy is prolific or what? Slightly less prolific but no less appreciated, our LUGNuts co-founder Nathan Proudlove chimes in with this slammed black Chevy called Truckula, which apparently has been on his to-do list for years. No better time than the final challenge.


My favorite elected official, who also happens to be a crepuscular rodent, Senator Chinchilla takes a break from passing important bills into law while also chewing on toilet paper tubes to build us this sleek Renault Dauphine for "The French Connection" Challenge.

Renault Dauphine

Longtime LUGNut, Fe2Cruz graces us with a tryptic of neat entries. The first questions whether this futuristic BMW scooter is from a dystopia or a utopia. The clean, free, unlimited power points us in the direction of a utopia. But wait, the AI automated driving pods are taking over and this doesn't look good for mankind!


Next he goes all cars noir on our asses with this Street Hawk, the two wheeled vehicle of the 80s synth themed super machine action TV trifecta along with Knight Rider and Airwolf. All dark all bad and all so corny, says he.


Lastly, Cruz rounds out his final LUGNuts entries with a nod to our Extreme Terrain Adventures challenge and what can be more extreme than the moon? A LEGO/anime version of the electric scooter that NASA tested and others perfected. He tells us the end of the official LUGNuts challenges brings a lump to his throat, but fear not, old friend; I think you'll still hear from us.

lego L1e-A

Marco.QM creates a pair of striking Fiat 500's or two cinquecentos, as they say in Italy. One is an Abarth and the other is a stock Fiat 500c. He also states his forlorn dismay but let's not forget, LUGNuts will continue to be the cornerstone for LEGO automotive building.


Longtime LUGNut and admin Ralph "Mad Physicist" Savelsberg builds us a bright red lifted Jeep CJ-5 with a custom roll cage and body-hugging racing seats for the Extreme Terrain Adventures challenge. I finally got to meet Ralph a few months back and he was a joy to have around.

Jeep CJ-5

And finally, after a ten year run, a run that lasted longer than many celebrity careers, here is our very last official LUGNuts challenge entry! It is just too fitting that Ralph rounds out our final challenge and sends us off on vacation, the only way that LUGNuts knows how... in the Wagon Queen Family Truckster. "Cuz we're the Griswalds!" I can't think of a better way to send us off into the sunset.

Wagon Queen Family Truckster

Wow! Man, oh man! That concludes our final roundup of the LUGNUts monthly challenges but don't consider it an end, consider it LUGNuts on vacation; flip-flops on, Mai Tai in hand, bronzed bare belly protruding over the top of sun-faded swim trunks. Not sure what day it is. Not sure what month it is. That’s the beautiful dream right there! You know what, a tiger doesn't change its stripes and a leopard print tux doesn't change its spots, as it were. A writer will always write, a builder will always build, and a car lover will always love cars. We never stop doing what we love just because we decided to officially end the challenges on our 10th anniversary. LUGNuts will continue to be the world's cornerstone for LEGO automotive building. Many have proven we don't need the challenges for that, a quick perusal through our Flickr photo stream will prove that. What will the future hold for this little blog? Well, maybe we'll showcase cars bikes and trucks ya'll have built maybe we'll interview star builders, review books, or maybe come at ya with spaceships or castles or something. As for me, personally; I built something for nearly every monthly LUGNuts challenge during our ten year stint so I'm going to take at least a three month break from building and do some other fun stuff I haven't had much time to do, namely some art, guitar playing and maybe a bit of gaming. Don't you worry, I'll get back into building with some fresh and new ideas. I don't know what I'll build just yet, but it'll be a lot like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. Still a short, paunchy, surly belligerent butterfly, but a butterfly nonetheless. (buh-dum-dum!) Thanks, Nathan! And thank you guys for making LUGNuts the best place in cyberspace these past ten years. A lot of you are some of the finest guys and gals this world could ever know. I am honored to have written these challenges and roundups for you. I can't wait to see what this new, more relaxed chapter will bring for LUGNuts. Keep in touch, and as always, happy building, y'all!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Extreme Terrain Adventures...Roundup

You know how we always say we have a little challenge we like to call this and that? The irony was in the word "little" as usually the challenges had a pretty good turn out and there was nothing little about them. Its like ironically calling a big guy "Tiny". Well this time we mean what we say when we have a little challenge we like to call Extreme Terrain Adventures. The irony is, when writing the challenge, I had envisioned an extreme challenge rife with rock climbing Broncos, jet skiing Priuses and rocket powered desert racers. Also explosions. And boobies. Pretty extreme, right? Well instead we got four entries, all by Peter. The challenge with some extreme potential turned out to be the least popular challenge in all of LUGNuts history. What can I say? Not even I could be bothered to build something for this challenge. Instead I preemptively built something for next month during this month, posted it on the first day of next month and everyone was like...whoa, you did all that in one day? So grab yourself a stiff drink, but only a shot and don't kick back and relax or nothing. As the proctologist always says, this will all be over soon.

Perhaps no truck has gone through more abuse on Top Gear than the Toyota Hilux as built by Peter Blackert They drowned one in the English Channel, set it on fire and set it atop a tall building which they proceeded to demolish and it still started. I believe it was a red Hilux like this that they sent to the North Pole. Now that's extreme!

Unbreakable Toyota Hilux - TopGear

Peter could have stopped there and I would have been through with my shot of Woodford Reserve already and writing this roundup would be a distant memory by now. But he went on to present the Landrover DC100 Evolution. It has gullwing doors, ya'll!

Landrover DC100

Peter tells us he's not so into these kind of cars himself, but the custom Ford Bronco V8 has huge wheels and tires, lift kits, winches, weight reduction, roll-over protection, locking axles, and all other equipment that helps you not get stuck in the wilderness. The one drawback, this thing suffers when on normal roads.

Custom Ford Bronco Gen I

Way back in challenge number 77, I made up some bs I can't remember about the Ralston Rhino and Peter, being Peter, still runs with it years later. Here's a Ralston Rhino Mk-I 8R-B39 Closed Coupe Staff Car Half Track which would have been used in Finland in the 40's during the big-ass war.

Ralston Rhino Mk I 8R-B39 Coupe Staff Car

Is that all of them? Seems it is. Told ya this will all be over soon and unlike a visit to the proctologist's office, no one had to wear a glove and there were far fewer Polish jokes. So what does the future hold for this little blog then? In terms of roundups, not much else. We've got our final challenge coming up. Its our 120th and our 10 Anniversary challenge. We like to call it "Happy 10th Anniversary, LUGNuts!" We were out of creative names like 26 challenges ago. Hopefully we can send the LUGNuts challenges off with a bang so, for the love of all that is holy, build something for it, will ya? Until then I'll goad ya to leave unrelated comments about your surefire insurance scheme or gardening supplies you'd like to sell us. Go ahead, leave those comments. We're all ears. I dare ya. I double dog dare ya!