Driveable Lego car powered by air | video

CarsGuide ·

19 December 2013

Plenty of people build hot rods, and some with unlikely -- and very cool -- designs. But the world's never seen a hot rod quite as unlikely or as cool as this one: built from 500,000 pieces of Lego, life-sized and drivable, powered by four orbital engines with 256 pistons running on air.

The brainchild of Melbourne man Steve Sammartino, created with Romanian tech genius Raul Oaida, it's driveable, but the pair admit it's not fast, with top speed of around 20-30km/h. "We were scared of a Lego explosion so we drove it slowly," they say. And why a hot rod design? "Mainly because hot rods are cool."

Watch video of the Lego car below.

However, before the car, they worked together on a Lego space shuttle that became a hit on both the internet and in mainstream media. The car project was then crowdfunded by 40 Australians after Sammartino tweeted it in March last year, built in Romania and then shipped to a secret location in Melbourne for final touches.

Sammartino says the initial idea was sparked by his belief that views of what a car could be were too narrow. "(I wanted) to do something interesting that shows there are a myriad of possible innovations for cars. We wanted to be an example to open peoples minds... something the car industry needs," he says.

While Lego blocks are designed to be easy for even young kids to use, that didn't mean the project was free of technical challlenges. "The biggest? Building the engine and getting the gearing right," Sammartino says. "It is very tough to hold the torque."

The creators have no solid future plans for the Lego hot rod, although the twittersphere is suggesting it will end up in the garage of a car collector. "We are open to offers to display it at shows too."

And while many people with an idea struggle to find funding, Sammartino says the crowdfunding for the car happened very swiftly. "The response was in mere days. I have a strong following on twitter and my blog which is were I promoted it. I did it independently rather than a traditional crowd funding site, as the was no real commercial output."

Which means there could be another project on the way, he hints, although he will also be back in his regular marketing office. "It's mostly back to business for me, but I always like to have a side project on the go - they are a great way to push boundaries," he says.

This reporter is on Twitter: @KarlaPincott

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Karla Pincott

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Published 19 December 2013