Collecting cars requires millions of rands. To most of us, a garage full of desirable metal will always remain a pipe dream but a shelf crammed with plastic bricks is easily within reach.
Did you know Lego manufactures more tyres than any other company in the world? It produces just over 300 million tyres per year, which is around 50% more than Bridgestone, Goodyear and Michelin.
It is an unfair comparison, since most of the tyres Lego produces end up on those small generic cars you can buy at any retail outlet for a few hundred rand. Then there’s the high-end stuff, which is what we’re interested in. The R1 000+ sets that you can’t help but admire while doing some window shopping. That seems like a lot of cash, but consider how much a Ferrari F40 is these day. A decent example will cost around R20 million, making the Lego set look cheap in comparison.
The Danish firm recreate Ferrari’s most famous creations in plastic brick, making it possible for us mere mortals to possibly save up for a Ferrari F40. It still won’t be cheap, but it’s nowhere near as much as an F40 goes for these days.
- Bugatti Chiron
For a company that sells cars only to the most elite group of people on the planet, Bugatti was extremely forthcoming during the development of this set. It actually sent a few of its engineers over to Lego to ensure they did it properly.
The result is a 3 599-piece set with an attention to detail that is truly astonishing.
Naturally, as with the other cars on this list you get all the basic elements. But this set takes it to another level. The pistons in the W16 engine actually
move. If that’s not enough detail, how does a working eight-speed gearbox sound? Our favourite part of this build is the high-speed key, which works in exactly the same way as it does on the real car. Insert the key and the Chiron will assume its top-speed position. It retails for R6 249 but you do get “luxurious box packaging” and a collector’s booklet with comprehensive building instructions.
- VW T1 Camper Van
This is our favourite. From a value-for- money perspective, the T1 Camper is unbeatable. It consists of 1 332 pieces and currently retails for just R1 699. But it’s not just the number of blocks per rand that’s intriguing. This set is quite complicated, which means the builder will get many hours of fun out of the experience. It is based on the 1962 split-window Westfalia camper and includes the iconic V-shaped split upfront, safari windshield, pop-up roof and roof rack. Not to mention the air-cooled flat-four engine mounted in the rear. The interior features a front bench, folding rear bench, dinette table and even a painting. A magnificent amount of detail for a reasonable amount of cash. This particular set has been on sale for a while, so it’s bound to go out of production soon.
- Volkswagen Beetle
Yet another iconic car but more affordable than others on this list. It’s not as technical but this set is aimed more towards fun than anything else. Instead of simply creating a basic Beetle, Lego designed a model with some added flair. The set includes the iconic bodywork in azure blue, as well as a four-cylinder air-cooled engine. In addition, it comes with roof rails, beach towel, surfboard and cooler box. These can be stored on top of the car, or used for display once it’s finished. The set consists of 1 167 pieces and retails for R1 499.
- Mini Cooper
This set perfectly illustrates the power of demand. First introduced four years ago, Lego has since discontinued it. There are still a few boxed examples available for purchase but they demand a hefty premium. It has fewer pieces than both the Beetle and F40 but costs more than both. For R4 228 you get the authentic green and white colour scheme, tan interior, veneer dash and a working steering wheel. And let’s not forget about those famous spotlights up front. This set includes a few accessories such as a blanket, picnic basket and bottle of wine. Once again, these can be stowed away, or used for an amusing static display. This Mini will likely only get more expensive in the future, so get one as soon as possible if you’re interested.
- Ferrari F40
The price of a decent Lego Creator set seems to be closely related to the prestige of the actual car. The Ferrari F40 kit only has 1 158 pieces, while James Bond’s DB5 set has 1 295 pieces. Yet, the Ferrari costs more than twice as much. At R4 072, it’s still cheaper than the real thing. These are evidently aimed at enthusiasts, as the finished product has all of the same components one would admire on the real thing. This particular set includes the pop-up headlamps, moulded rims and even the famous 90-degree twin turbo V8 engine. The interior is just as impressive, featuring a steering wheel with the Ferrari logo, two bucket seats and the cabled door handles.
BONUS: The all-new Land Rover Defender kit is also launching soon. Read all about it here.