Book Review: How to Build Brick Cars

Because I am a Lego enthusiast, every now and then, this blog takes a look at Lego built cars. But with the new book How to Build Brick Cars, you get to build cars that Lego doesn’t offer as kits.

Author Peter Blackert works in Ford’s Asia-Pacific Canters focusing on powertrain and chassis system and his expertise is put to work for the designs in this book. He’s also a life long Lego enthusiast and that shows through in the text as well as the detail and complexity of each car’s specification and even in the cars he selected to model.

The beautifully designed and printed book is divided into three sections:

  • In Foundation there are four cars ranging from a 1932 Ford V8 hot rod on to a Jaguar E-type with plans for coupé and roadster versions of each car. The designs in this section are what Lego fans call minifigure scale, so they can be used in cities and layouts, like mine. My favorite design in this section, however, is the legendary Citroën 2CV Charleston that only requires 249 parts. (More later.) The book also includes the Ferrari 488GTB and Spider. While Lego offers many Ferrari kits, they don’t offer this particular model in their Speed Champions series.
  • Intermediate is the largest section of the book and the scale bumps up to 1:20 too. Here you’ll find everything from a Ford Raptor to, my favorite, a BMW i8 that’s on the book’s cover. Build difficulty for the cars in this section is up too: The relatively Z car, for instance require 499 parts but the cars in this section also have working suspensions so the build are slight more complex but obviously fun to construct.
  • In the Advanced section, the car size remains at 1:20 but difficulty is ramped up too, so a parent might want to work with their youngsters to build these cars that include an awesome Plymouth Hemi Cuda and a Bugatti Veyron. These cars also use Lego Technic parts in order to create functioning internals.

The book works hard at being accessible and includes a detailed parts list for each car, including the Lego part number, color number and number of parts required. Building these cars won’t be as inexpensive as buying a Lego kit and even parts for the Citroën 2CV could cost $25 or so, although most Lego enthusiasts already have a stock of that should include some (or many) of the parts.

There are detailed sections showing how to actually build the cars but they do not use the simple and easy-to-understand format used by Lego in their instruction books. Because of space limitations there are short cuts that are explained in the “How to use this book.” So don’t just blast through to the cars you like and start placing parts order. Take a few minutes to read this section and the build will go smoother.

It’s obvious that How to Build Brick Cars was a labor of love for the author and Motorbooks has spared no effort producing a book that is just as lovingly crafted. If you like cars and like Lego, you need this book. And, hint hint, it’s not too early to order a copy for Christmas giving.

  • Flexibound: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Motorbooks
  • ISBN-10: 0760352658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0760352656
  • Dimensions: 9 x 0.6 x 10.2 inches
  • Price: $21.47 Prime