Anyone who grew up during the Cold War will remember the rhetoric of the era with respect to technology. To paraphrase a little, our planes or rockets were based on the finest and latest high technology, we were told, while theirs were held together with string and sealing wax from the 1940s. This neglected the fairly obvious fact that Soviet probes were visiting all the planets, something they must have had some pretty good tech at their disposal to achieve. This was then explained as the product of their having stolen all our super-advanced Western tech, something we now know that our lot weren’t averse to either when the opportunity arose.
It’s this which is brought to mind by the mirth of the Western commentators at the Afghan car’s supposedly humble engine. It doesn’t matter what you think of the Afghan regime (and there’s plenty there to criticize), the car should be assessed on its merits. After all, it’s hardly as though the engine in question didn’t find its way into more than one sports car that Western commentators might find appealing.
Many dream of tooling around in a high performance sports car, but the cost of owning, maintaining, and insuring one of them make it a difficult proposition. While this LEGO version of the Corvette ZR1 might not be exactly like the real thing, it’s 4-speed manual and electronic gauge cluster can give you a taste of the supercar lifestyle without having to taken out a second mortgage.
Built by [HyperBlue], this desktop speedster has more going on under the hood (or more accurately, the roof) than you might expect. While it looks pretty unassuming from the outside, once the top is lifted, you can see all the additional components that have been packed in to motorize it. The functional gearbox takes up almost the entire interior of the car, but it’s not like you were going to be able to fit in there anyway.
But the motorized car is really only half of the project. [HyperBlue] has built a chassis dynamometer for his plastic ride that not only allows you to “start” the engine with realistic sights and sounds (recorded from an actual GM LT1 V8 engine), but put the mini ‘Vette through its paces. With a virtual dashboard powered by the Raspberry Pi, you can see various stats about the vehicle such as throttle position, RPM, and calculated scale speed; providing a real-world demonstration of how the transmission operates.
Before getting to the really fun bits, he had to do a bit of prep work, such as relocating the six large batteries so that super cool stock seat can sit lower. Now the batteries are distributed throughout the vehicle, including one that’s been cleverly disguised as center console. Since the cart won’t be hitting the links anymore, there’s no need for a place to put clubs. Two of the batteries are now in the back, supported by a platform made from old bed frames.
We love the fiberglass fab work [rtkerth] did to the front and rear — it looks great, especially considering he’d never done it before. The rear is done more traditionally with a foam mold, but the front is fiberglassed directly over expanding foam insulation framed with cardboard. The local body shops refused to paint this baby roadster, so [rtkerth] did it himself before adding the killer touches — 1930s Brooklands-style windscreens and 1950s bullet mirrors that look great together.