The inside story behind our 1:1 LEGO® Bugatti Chiron | Official LEGO® Shop

The inside story of our 1:1 LEGO® Bugatti Chiron

When the idea of building a 1:1 LEGO® Bugatti Chiron was first formulated at the LEGO headquarters in Billund, Senior Design Manager Jeppe Juul Jensen knew exactly who to call.

The phone was picked up nearly 1,000 km away in the city of Kladno, Czech Republic – home to an official LEGO model-building center and 300+ employees who know a thing or two about complex LEGO models. They produce enormous displays for LEGOLAND® parks and LEGO Retail Stores globally, including notably a 5-million-piece, life-size LEGO X-Wing from Star Wars™.

In other words, they weren’t the types to be fazed by the scale of the task: to build a 5-metre-long, 2.5-metre-wide Bugatti Chiron using only LEGO Technic™ elements.

But then Jeppe mentioned one tiny, extra detail: the LEGO model also needed to be able to drive.

“I think that’s when the line went dead,” he recalls.

“We were quite quiet,” admits Project Manager Lukáš Horák. “We’d never done something like that before.”

That’s an understatement. The Kladno team had minimal experience working with Technic elements – and their models were usually glued.

But any initial nerves were quickly replaced with excitement, as engineer Jakub Mašek explains: “Honestly, I love challenges like this. I needed to be part of this project. I was like: ‘Who do I kill to be involved?’”

Thankfully, no-one. Because they needed all the help they could get. For 6 months, spanning 13,000 work hours, a dedicated team of 16 specialists left no stone unturned as they set about attempting the impossible. “No detail was too small to be omitted,” says Design Manager Lubor Zelinka. “Going from the lights along the surfaces, to the interior, to the round disc brakes… everything is as close to the real car as possible. Because we Build for Real.”

Ah yes, ‘Build for Real’. The rallying cry from the LEGO Technic offices back in Billund. “Of course, it’s a slogan”, Jeppe explains, “but it actually speaks to what we can do with the building system. Both the look and the functionality.”

We’ll come back to the functionality of the LEGO Bugatti Chiron. But first let’s look at the look.

The exterior of the model was divided into design lines that ran vertically along the car’s frame. The areas between them were then filled with ‘skin’, explained by Lubor as “a system of interconnected triangles” of different sizes.

As well as looking generally pretty dope (that’s a technical term), the skin’s real genius lies in how it connects to the interior structure of the model via a network of actuators (or ‘movers’). Adjusting the actuators allowed the builders to ‘press in’ or ‘pull out’ the triangles. When repeated across all the individual skin triangles across the car, the smooth, curved, aerodynamic exterior of the original Bugatti Chiron was successfully replicated via the decidedly non-curved, inflexible Technic elements.

(Side note – Individual Skin Triangles is an excellent name for a band. Just sayin’.)

When combining all those pieces with the painstakingly replicated interior (including two seats, detachable steering wheel, functional dashboard and pedal), one wonders how many LEGO pieces were used to make the final LEGO Bugatti Chiron.

We wish we could tell you.

But it speaks to the iterative, intuitive nature of the process that we simply can’t! “We don’t know the exact number”, explains Jakub, “because we rebuilt it so many times”. But we know that there are over 1,000,000 elements in the final model.

From a functionality perspective, the most important of those were found in the engine block. The teeny-tiny LEGO Power Functions L-Motors were split into 24 packs of 96, in the hope that 2,304 of them together could move the one-and-a-half-tonne model.

But would they? The Kladno team would find out 462 km from the center, at the Bugatti test track in Germany.

The car was to be driven by official Bugatti test driver Andy Wallace. “I wondered how they could possibly recreate a Chiron with all those curved surfaces,” he said trackside. “But I’m absolutely blown away by how amazingly lifelike the car looks.” High praise from someone who spends far more of their workday inside a Bugatti Chiron than most people.

But as Andy stepped into the car, it wasn’t about whether it looked good or not. The real question was, after all the designing, the hours, the seven major revisions the model went through… could the car answer the LEGO Technic rallying cry of ‘Build for Real’ and actually drive?<br>

Yyyyyyyyyyyyes, yes it could.

After the one, customary false start to get our heartrates up, the LEGO Bugatti hit speeds of over 20 km/h on the smooth-sailing second attempt, although in Andy’s words “it felt a lot faster”.

Back at the start of this project in our Billund offices, Jeppe recalls his conviction that it required “a bit of insanity”. And he’s right. It’s objectively crazy to want to make a 1.5 tonne drivable car from LEGO Technic elements.

All we can say is, thank goodness we weren’t sensible…

Facts & Numbers: 

  • Over 1,000,000 LEGO Technic elements in total 
  • 339 types of LEGO Technic elements used 
  • No glue used in the assembly 
  • Total weight: 1,500 kg 
  • Engine contains: o 2,304 LEGO Power Functions motors o 4,032 LEGO Technic gear wheels o 2,016 LEGO Technic cross axles 
  • Theoretical performance of 5.3 HP 
  • Estimated torque of 92 Nm 
  • Functional rear spoiler (using both LEGO Power Functions and pneumatics) 
  • Functional speedometer built entirely from LEGO Technic elements 
  • 13,438 work hours used on development and construction 
  • 56 custom-made Technic elements

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