Would You Drive This Functional LEGO Bugatti?
The Bugatti Chiron reportedly takes 20 people six months to build, and once completed it is capable of reaching speeds beyond 260MPH. The one pictured here will theoretically reach a whopping 18MPH (in testing it’s only managed 12) thanks to all 5.3 horsepower generated by the 2,304 Power Function LEGO motors and the pair of batteries that comprise the powertrain. Though there is a steel frame inside along with a roll cage (the thing weighs just over one and a half tons with a driver), a set of Chiron wheels, and the aforementioned batteries, this car is over 90% LEGO.
After months of development and bricklaying, the 1:1 scale LEGO Chiron was tested on the Ehra Lessien test facility this past June for the first time—the same place where the real Chiron underwent its tests—and to add to the authenticity factor, it was driven by Bugatti’s official test driver, Andy Wallace. The guy’s won Le Mans, but I think he’s part of a more exclusive club now: how many people can say they’ve driven a car made out of what is essentially a high-tech toy bin?
LEGO Technic has long been the birthday present of choice for precocious young engineers, and projects like this will hopefully inspire them to build supercars instead of farm equipment once they pursue their degrees. The Chiron was not the work of a kid in his bedroom playing with blocks and pulleys though, and LEGO says it took their team 13,500 hours to assemble. The idea gestated last year when the idea was proposed to build a drivable LEGO car, and it wasn’t just a matter of making something sturdy that could be pushed down a hill.
There wasn’t enough space for working suspension, but there are plenty of innovative approaches to the rest of the replication: the rear spoiler still extends and retracts, the door latches are fully Technic, the car’s bodywork is a novel pattern of pieces that renders it rather malleable (the repeating pattern in the bodywork is attached to a LEGO frame, which sits on the steel frame, in multiple places, and individual sections can be raised or lowered via actuators that were adjusted to mimic the shape of the real car), and the two-dozen motor packs (with 96 motors per pack), use a steel chain to drive the rear wheels with just over 5hp and, since we are talking about electric power here, 68ft-lbs of torque.
There’s a potentiometer instead of an accelerator pedal, and the interior has a few more hard edges than the leather-swaddled cabin of the car it’s based on, and while the speedometer won’t see the numbers of the real Chiron, it does function in this car, and of course, is made from LEGO Technic pieces. Between the motors and the actuators for the bodywork and everything else (indicator stalks work, lights work, etc.), the team of engineers who built this behemoth used 4,032 LEGO gear wheels and 2,016 LEGO axles—and you thought the store-bought kits were complex! I just wonder how long it will be until we see a Saudi-plated Chiron parked in front of the Monte Carlo casino with a special “LEGO look” finish…