24 February 2018

2018 LEGO® Speed Champions: Under the bonnet

Sven Franic has early access to the LEGO® Speed Champions range for 2018, which are now available at BrickLink. He's put them together and, more importantly, pulled them apart to reveal the new pieces you'll find in 75884 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback, 75885 Ford Fiesta M-Sport WRC, 75886 Ferrari 488 GT3 "Scuderia Corsa", 75887 Porsche 919 Hybrid, 75888 Porsche 911 RSR and 911 Turbo 3.0, and 75889 Ferrari Ultimate Garage.

Speed Champions is an in-house LEGO® theme featuring external licences by various car manufacturers. The theme’s fourth year in production is a testament to its great success.  The 2018 line up is represented by sets licensed by Ford Motor Company, and two long-running IP partners of TLG: Ferrari N.V and Porsche AG.

I’ve been a gearhead all my life, and I remember trying to recreate real cars in minifig-scale models with the bricks I had as a kid. Cars like this at the time would have made my mouth soar from swooshing and vrooming.

Even though you are allowed (and encouraged) still to play with cars as an AFOL, the perks we get to cherry pick from this theme come from the parts inventory. Designing a 6-stud wide car that is detailed enough to pass as a real model, to sit a minifigure inside and to endure the test of play by a seven-year-old seems like an impossible feat. To help LEGO designers with this task, the theme inspired several specialized elements which make an appearance in almost every model.

New parts in 2018 LEGO® Speed Champions

A piece that I can safely guess was designed specifically for this theme back in 2015 is the specialised mudguard that most of the models use (Design ID 18974).  While the large piece ensures the models are sturdy and work perfectly with robust wheel setups, the shape is slightly limiting for some types of cars.

 This drawback is remedied by the introduction of the new alternative mudguard element (Design ID 35789). The element is overall shorter and has a deeper curvature towards the bottom, making it ideal for so-called “Coke bottle styling” body shapes.

The new mudguard is instantly available in four colours:
  • White (Element ID 6217895) in set 75887 Porsche 919 Hybrid 
  • Earth Green [TLG]/ Dark Green [BL] (6217897) in set 75884 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback
  • Bright Red [TLG] / Red [BL] (6217896) in set 75889 Ferrari Ultimate Garage
  • Bright Blue [TLG] / Blue [BL] (6219820), also in set 75889

The most exciting piece fresh off the injection mould is another Flat Tile element.  I don’t have the official name yet but it is basically a 2x2 tile cut in half diagonally (Design ID 35787).

The 45° angle makes it compatible with the ever-increasing variety of tiles and other elements cut at this angle.

It is likely we will start seeing this triangular tile element in more widespread use as the variety of available tile shapes has greatly increased in recent years, opening new possibilities such as two-dimensional typography and signage.

The triangular tile is introduced in four colours:
  • White (Element ID 6217875) in set 75889 Ferrari Ultimate Garage
  • Medium Stone Grey [TLG] / Light Bluish Gray [BL] (6217876), also in set 75889
  • Black (6214807), also in set 75885
  • Earth Blue [TLG] / Dark Blue [BL] (6214808) in set 75885 Ford Fiesta M-Sport WRC

Coincidentally, all of these four colours are already in use by two other tile elements cut at this angle: the Tile 2x3 Pentagonal (Design ID 22385) and Tile Corner Facet (27263) which makes mixing and matching easier.

Recoloured pieces in 2018 LEGO® Speed Champions

An element that is just shy of being hot enough to call brand new is the 1x2 Plate rounded with open studs (Design ID 35480) which we discussed in more detail before. 

It was introduced in Bright Red and Black in the Super Heroes theme and both colours have made it through to the Speed Champions, more specifically set 75889.

Just in case the new mudguard element has caused confusion, it is not a replacement for the old design (18974). That is still kicking, and even comes in two new colours:
  • Bright Yellowish Green [TLG] / Lime [BL] (Element ID 6112244) in set 75888 Porsche 911 RSR and 911 Turbo 3.0 
  • Earth Blue (6214809) in set 75885

    Curved slopes in their smallest 2x1 size variety are utterly responsible for the intricate detail and complex curvature that the Speed Champions cars demand. The theme has likely contributed to the development in 2017 of a new variety of these slopes, cut at a 45° angle, necessitating both left (Design ID 29120) and right (29119) versions. The element appears almost exclusively in various vehicles, and the 2018 line of Speed Champions has brought us three new colours of both side varieties:

    • Earth Blue left (Element ID 6214811), right (6214812) in set 75885
    • Earth Green left (6214814), right (6214813) in set 75884
    • White, left (6213880), right (6213881) in sets 75888 and 75887 
    I will never forget the name of part 33909... 2x2 plate w. reduced knobs, which is now available in Bright Red (6219819) in set 75889 and Earth Blue (6214810) in set 75885.

    The largest set, 75889 Ferrari Ultimate Garage, has some additional new pieces in Bright Red. The 2x2 Tile Modified Facet (Element ID 6217194|Design ID 27263), the 3 x 4 Curved Wedge Plate, aka "roof section" (6204665|93604), and an old Classic Space-era piece that hasn't been seen in red for almost 20 years, the 1x4 Plate Split-level (6218227|18624 or 4590).

    In case the 1x6 tile in Earth Green (6216880|6636) passed you by in the 2018 LEGO Disney set 41155 Elsa’s Market Adventure (available at Amazon USA|UK), the 75884 Ford Mustang is here to remind you that this tile is now a reality.

    Due to the colour choice of one of the Porsches in set 75888, some elements had to be given a re-colour in Bright Yellowish Green: the Inverted 1x2 bracket (Element ID 6218266|Design ID 99780), the 1x1 Round Quarter tile (6211875|25269), and the Technic 3L Cross Block (6211876|42003).

    A printed piece in the 75884 Ford Mustang Fastback is intriguing: the 1x1 round tile with the Mustang logo (Element ID 621859). I am not sure if 1x1 round tiles prevent the use of stickers for some reason or if this could be a sign of things to come, possibly from Creator Expert?


    Initially I was planning to ignore the elephant in the room. AFOLs tend to loudly voice their sticker hate.

    Meanwhile, kids tend to love them, even if it means sticking them on their bed headboard instead of on the intended model. Stickers give you a choice, and choice is good.  I know I would rather have that new triangle tile in white than ruined by a sponsor logo print I couldn’t use anywhere else.

    Speed Champions come with an overwhelming number of stickers. Almost every tile and slope visible on the outside body is covered by a sticker.

    Most of the stickers have limited usability outside the sets, except some cool garage posters in the flagship set 75889 Ferrari Ultimate Garage. They depict each of the cars that come with the set in a pop-art poster style illustration.

    Some models can pull off the stickerless look better than others. Below is an example, if you decide to opt out.


A quick word about the sets

    I am delighted to see classics like the ’62 Ferrari 250 GTO, the ’68 Ford Mustang Fastback and the ’74 Porsche 911 (930) Turbo make it into LEGO sets. These are all cars with cult status that might pass by the target age group if left neglected in future toys. I am especially fond of the colour choices like the groovy ’70s lime green for the Porsche and the Mustang’s dark green which I am pretty sure is a nod to the 1968 film classic Bullit.

    In an interview for Top Gear, Craig Callum, the design manager for Speed Champions, mentioned that the cars are not just for kids. He gives an example of how they span the generations by including different generations of models in a set that will attract both kids and parents, such as the 75874 Chevrolet Camaro Drag Race (Amazon USA|UK) and 75881 2016 Ford GT & 1966 Ford GT40 (Amazon USA|UK).  The same pattern is repeated in this year’s lineup and I couldn’t be more excited about the choice of models, colours and elements used.  

    Bonus extra! 

    I asked Sven to send through a behind-the-scenes shot of that gorgeous garage he built just to start this post.

    Enjoy more of Sven Franic's models on his Flickr page.

    You can now buy these sets at BrickLink.

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    Products mentioned in this post were kindly supplied by the LEGO Group. All content represents the opinions of New Elementary authors and not the LEGO Group. All text and images are © New Elementary unless otherwise attributed.


    1. Under the Bonnet...


      So British.

      1. You'd never know Sven was Croatian innit!

    2. Vroominess and swooshability are critical properties of a Lego vehicle and must be considered in a set review.

      1. Lucky this is a parts review then!

    3. I saw some of these speed champion sets early on and instantly my brain went a buzz. While I'm no gear head I do really like the bevy of small finisher parts this theme has provided. I'll definitely have to be on the lookout for these parts on Bricklink.

      1. We'll update everyone when they are available... of course you're then welcome to use our affiliate links to buy ;D

    4. Sven,

      That Garage MOC is amazing!! Well done! I also ***LOVE*** your Sticker ON/OFF GIF animation. Just shows how much a world of difference it makes on the Speed Champions sets. Last but not least, excellent coverage on the parts!

      Godt spillet!

      1. Now there's a Yellow Dave?...whatever next, a Teal Dave? 😆

        Sven really came up with the goods didn't he.

      2. I hope not. I'd hate to have to kill him...

      3. 😂
        This sounds like another competition

    5. So, how did you pull off the sticker transfer GIF? Was that all Photoshop trickery that allowed this without any change in position of the car or sticker sheet? The curl of the sheet in particular seems like it would be impossible to leave exactly the same after peeling off all of the stickers.

      And yes, I believe both of these fenders (along with the wheels, tires, and various hubcaps) were designed specifically for Speed Champions. Prior to this theme, there were my favorite fender (the first of the three modern City fenders) and the 1x6x1 stepped Speed Racer fender that I think looks better when used as anything but a fender. I've never used any of the SC fenders, but I do have a set of red ones that I've been waffling over incorporating into my 8-wide Lightning McQueen MOC (built in 6-wide scale, but it looked completely wrong until I realized the body was wider than normal).

    6. Thanks to all the Daves and other brick fans!

      @MCLegoboy: Heheh, where I come from, we don't even have a name for that, we just use the German term "haube"

      @AddictedToStyrene: Swooshability guaranteed, they should put that on the box.

      @Dave(Mana Ramp Matoran): Don't forget Bricks&Pieces, some new parts are usually easier and cheaper to get there before they become ubiquitous.

      @Yellow Dave: Thanks! I think the example model had the most stickers, not even 1x1 tiles were spared.

      @Purple Dave: The sticker GIF was a bit of an experiment. The position of both objects were marked with a pencil to get them as close as possible. The two photos were then layered over one another and adjusted using a neat tool in Photoshop called "warp" All elements in the picture that are not supposed to change, like wheels, shadows, reflections, etc. were then deleted from the top layer which also reduced the file size. A layer with 50/50 transparency was then added between the frames to smooth out the transition.

    7. Was thinking of a 1x1 triangle tile... but that would be impossible

      1. ...unless if it was opened in one of the sides

    8. Is the Brick Modified 1 x 1 in the Ford Mustang (#75884) a new element (design id #61955)?

      1. Not sure which part you mean. Looks like that ID is wrong, TLG haven't used IDs in the 6xxxx range since 2008.