While we all dream of it, not everyone will be afforded the opportunity to obtain an amazing barn find, such as the now-restored 1930 Cord L-29 Brougham. As it stands today, 1 in 3,000 people will have better chances of getting struck by lightning in their lifetime. Better still are the odds of finding a coveted “full classic” at a considerably smaller scale—especially at a storied event such as the AACA Eastern Fall Meet, held each October in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where we found this 1937 Cord convertible for sale produced by Pyro Plastic Corporation.
Pyro Plastic was founded by William and Betty Lester in 1939 after perfecting the injection molding process for creating precision forms of various sizes. Located in Union, New Jersey, Pyro quickly established itself as a “leading contractor of custom-made parts and products in plastic.” It wasn’t hyperbole. During World War II, Pyro was awarded military contracts, at least one of which was for the manufacture of aircraft parts. After the war, the company shifted focus to the boom economy plainly in the making: toys.
Armed with freshly minted molds, Pyro’s toy program centered on military-type products, initiated by its introduction of trigger-actuated, noisemaking “clicker” pistols. Inexpensive, quick-to-manufacture army men, jeeps, tanks, airplanes, and other such creations were quick to follow, all designed to fit in shop owner’s aisle bins or in nicely packaged poly bag sets. By the mid-Fifties, Pyro was the dominant producer of military toys, further bolstered by creations that coincided with the growing interest in space-age science fiction. If that were not enough, Pyro further diversified into the fledgling assemble-it-yourself plastic model kit market.
The LEGO “Icons” line is welcoming a new addition, the 10321 Chevrolet Corvette C1 set. The toymaker recreated the iconic classic car in celebration of the model’s 70th anniversary.
Embracing the curves of the Corvette was likely tricky for the LEGO company seeing as how many of their creations are usually built from more boxy blocks, like the recently released Classic Land Rover Defender 90 model kit. The Corvette C1 kit contains 1,210 masterfully designed pieces that accentuate the classic sports car’s curves and contours. The smooth lines are impressively accurate, especially down the sweeping hood to the quad headlights, and along each rear fender.
Speaking of quad headlights, this C1 LEGO model takes its cues from Chevrolet’s 1961 and 1962 models. C1 Corvette models manufactured between 1953 and 1957 featured single headlights and taillights, while 1958 through 1960 models wore quad headlights with long taillights positioned on the rear fenders.
The new LEGO Corvette C1 is only available in red. It features a removeable top, functional steering, and a hood and doors that open and close. Under the hood, a miniature Chevy small-block V8 with “Corvette” inscribed on the valve covers is complete with a radiator fan that moves freely.
Building an engine is the pinnacle of automotive wrenching. Nothing else is so essential to the soul of a car. It’s a straightforward, yet intricate, puzzle. Putting an engine together correctly is more satisfying than solving the biggest jigsaw or completing most intricate Lego kit. So, what if an engine build was reduced to a low-stakes, toy puzzle-like experience? That’s the proposition of the 1:3 scale Franzis Ford Mustang 289 K-code V-8 kit. It’s still pretty fun if, like me, you really, really like putting stuff together.
Full disclosure: Franzis sent us a free kit to build ourselves. If you want one, it’s available for $185.95 at Amazon and Makerhaus. Franzis also makes a couple of Porsche Boxer kits and a BMW R90 motorcycle engine kit, among others, if that’s more your style. There are also cheaper model kits out there. The Franzis engine is not just any V-8, mind you, but the hi-po K-code 289. The kit is officially licensed by Ford and comes with an extensive, 60-page history of the Mustang in the front half of the instruction manual. The completed engine turns via a battery-powered motor inside the alternator housing, accompanied by engine noises, with lights at the end of each spark plug that flick on for each firing cycle.
So how did it go? Read on for our full build thread. My total time was around two and a half to three hours.