LEGO Ideas 40448 Vintage Car gift with purchase set [Review]

LEGO Ideas, the company’s crowd-sourcing platform that turns fans’ ideas into real-life sets, is best known for products like 21322 Pirates of Baracuda Bay or 21323 Grand Piano. But LEGO Ideas isn’t just for massive sets that will break the bank. Last May LEGO tested out a small Ideas set as a giveaway, resulting in 40335 Space Rocket Ride. And now the latest Ideas set, 40448 Vintage Car, follows in its footsteps as a giveaway. Based on a design by LEGO fan Versteinert after it won the fan vote in last year’s LEGO Ideas vintage car contest, it’s modeled after a classic 1950s-era sedan with a two-tone teal and white paint job. The set contains 188 pieces and is available this month from LEGO as a free promo between Jan. 1 and Jan. 17 with orders over US $85 | CAN $85 | UK £85. There are over 100 new LEGO sets for 2021, so you’ll have plenty of options.

The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

The box and contents

Vintage Car comes in a small box that’s a familiar size if you’re used to getting 10 to 15 dollar-equivalent promo sets. Inside the box you’ll find three clear, unnumbered bags of parts, two loose plates, the instruction manual, and the small sticker sheet that contains only the license plates for the front and rear bumpers.

As you’d expect from an Ideas set, which generally do not introduce new elements, there are no new molds here. But there are a number of recolored elements–that is, elements appearing in a new color for the first time, and they’re all teal. In fact, the teal lineup in this set is fantastic, spreading across 17 types of elements for a total of 53 teal pieces.

The build

Being a sedan, the base starts off simple with a spread of long plates that’s been a staple of LEGO cars for as long as I’ve been alive. The wheels likewise utilize standard axle clips. A pair of handily color-coded 2×2 plates make it easy to keep the chassis oriented in the right direction while you build, with the teal plate hiding between the rear wheels.

Much of the car’s build is straightforward, studs-up, but there are a few exceptions. The first to come to light is the rear bumper and taillights, which employ some brackets and Technic pin connectors to help give the car its swooping, distinctive styling cues of the 1950s.

The final part of the build that’s worth highlighting are the doors and interior. Although the doors don’t open (few realistic minifigure-scale cars do) it is nice to see that the car can seat two minifigures abreast while maintaining its six-stud-wide footprint. That’s something Speed Champions cars have struggled with, first being six studs wide but only seating a single minifigure, and then moving to eight-studs-wide cars that support one or two figs depending on the vehicle. Here the double occupancy is facilitated with some sideways panels. The two studs just to the front of the panels will hold the surfboards that give the car its distinctive side swoosh.

The completed model

I’ll just go ahead and spoil the conclusion. This is an awesome model. It looks appropriately in scale with the minifigures (as much as a LEGO car can, anyway) and it’s hard to think of a better color scheme than teal and white.

The car pulls its styling cues from a variety of 1950s beauties. The front fascia and two-tone coloring seem to be borrowed from a Chevrolet Bel Air, while the general profile and distinctive rear hearken back to the Chevrolet Impala. If you squint, you could also imagine some Ford Fairlane in there. But despite its mishmash of sources, it all comes together marvelously.

It looks splendid cruising main street in front of 10260 Downtown Diner, and I think it one-ups the pink car from that set in every regard. The pink “Cadillac” looks boxy and inelegant in comparison.

The upside-down windscreen is connected very simply with a pair of clips, which gives it a more upright front and sloping back that’s indicative of the cars of the era. It does leave some odd corners jutting into the passenger compartment that probably wouldn’t feel good in a collision but doesn’t affect the ability to fit minifigures.

Other than looking great and, of course, rolling, the car has no play features like an opening trunk or hood. But I also don’t really think it needs any. Lack of “play features” never stopped a kid from being excited about a Hot Wheels car, nor should it hinder anyone’s enjoyment of this coupe. If I had one gripe with the set, it’s that the surfboards fall off too easily. They’re easily dislodged during normal handling.

One of the things that’s most remarkable about the set is how closely it hews to Versteinert’s original contest-winning entry. LEGO Ideas sets go through revisions with the LEGO design team, sometimes changing them drastically from the original proposal (for example, 21311 Voltron, which is similar to the fan submission in concept only, sharing virtually no parts or techniques). But this car, which Versteinert dubbed the Aedelsten Deluxe (which means “gem” in Danish), appears largely unchanged. A close look does reveal that some things have been modified. The surfboards sit lower on the sides, due to the mid-section of the car being raised about a plate. This means we lose the swooping profile of the surfboards along the top of the doors, but given how finicky the surfboards are to keep in place anyway, this was likely necessary. You might also notice that Versteinert’s design doesn’t have any studs on the middle of the hood, because the rounded 3×2 tile used there is an odd piece that’s only ever appeared as a tag on keychains. Likewise, the mirrors, binocular “headlights,” and headlights and taillights have all changed and the lovely decorative swirls on the front bumper are missing.

Image credit: LEGO Ideas submission by Versteinert

A few color changes were made, and I don’t think any of them were for the better. The chrome/painted silver bits are all gone, having been swapped for light grey with the exception of the hood ornament which has shifted to flat silver. It’s a shame but not terribly surprising, given that chrome/painted silver elements cost more to produce, though I would have preferred they all switched to flat silver plastic. More surprising is the arch that makes the top of the grille, which has moved to light grey from teal matching the bodywork. I think the teal looks much better. Likewise, I wish the original trans-clear windshield had stayed, rather than the inaccurate trans light blue windshield. Perhaps the worst change, though, are the clips that hold the windshield, which are light grey rather than a matching teal. I’d guess this is because the set’s quota for recolors was exhausted, but it’s a shame because the grey sticks out and draws attention to the connection rather than blending in. However, none of these changes detract from the official set in a significant way. Taken as a whole, the translation from Ideas submission to finished set is an admirable testament to Versteinert’s skill in building a set-worthy design from the get-go.

The minifigures

Two minifigures are included, and both pull from the existing parts catalog to assemble a pair of cool cats ready to cruise to the drive-in on a Saturday night, perhaps pulling in next to fellow gift-with-purchase car 40409 Hot Rod. The guy’s Newberry High letter jacket of course comes from the Hidden Side theme, but it also appeared recently in 10273 Haunted House along with the lady’s leather jacket torso used here (her torso also appears in a few other sets). Only the female driver includes a double-sided head, with and without pink sunglasses. It’s appeared in 22 sets, while the male’s head has come in 38. The minifigures may not be anything special, but they do fit the part well.

Conclusion and recommendation

It’s hard to find too much fault with a free promotional set, but even if I were paying $10 or $15 for this set, I’d love it. The Aedelsten Deluxe is a beautiful car that brings a much-needed touch of vintage class to the LEGO vehicle lineup, and teal and white are a gorgeous color combo. It’s not flawless, but the nitpicks are minor. And with 188 pieces it’s even a pretty darn good parts pack. What’s not to like?

40448 Vintage Car contains 188 pieces and two minifigures, and is available from LEGO as a free promo between Jan. 1 and Jan. 17 with orders over US $85 | CAN $85 | UK £85. Check out the more than 100 new LEGO sets for 2021 in our LEGO guide.

The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

5 comments on “LEGO Ideas 40448 Vintage Car gift with purchase set [Review]

  1. Mr Classic

    Many thanks for this thorough review! It really looks even better compared to the Downtown Diner car.

  2. Phil Martin

    I’m trying to work out what pieces were used for the wing mirrors on the original? Also, has any other set used the teal wheel arch, does it exist for sourcing?

  3. Mr Classic

    The piece used for the mirrors in the original:

    The wheel arches are new in teal, as are several other parts such as the panels and the coupling plate.

    As for the corners of the windshield jutting into the passenger compartment, that wasn’t the case on the original Ideas submission – the windshield was somehow moved back one stud for the final product.

  4. Phil Martin

    Bingo, Mr Classic, thank you! Zip line handles. I knew I recognised them but couldn’t place it. I’m going to try and redesign it once I have it. The front end is also shorter in the original but I need to see it before I can be sure what needs to go where. Shame the clips and arch can’t be sourced in teal

  5. janultra

    It is a wonderful review and very detailed for this small set. From the beginning I was thinking which real car is represented and I think it is more a 56 Buick convertible. It has this one centered hood figure and the long white tear behind the frontwheel. – Do you think a clear transparent windscreen would look better?

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