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The AstroBus by Retro Motors
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Mainly based on the VW bus, this Minivan is a safe a stylish way to take your family on a road trip! It has opening doors, sliding side door, and seats 6 Minifigs with plenty of room for cargo.
About this creation
The design room (conceptualizing and building the car):
My original plan was to build a much more modern minivan (the Astrovan), with the rear sides curving around forming fins (much like the 1959 Impala Wagon) along with additional vertical fins forming along the roof. After getting the LEGO VW camper van for X-mass in 2012, I decided to make a bus instead of van because it seemed more retro.
The AstroVan (original concept):


         The VW bus was very unsafe, so my goal was to not only make a classic bus stile minivan, but to make it as safe as a traditional minivan too. For safety reasons, I made the front stick out a little more then on the original; the dashboard also extends for quite a ways into the passenger compartment as additional crumple zone. Of course it also has seat belts, airbags, and other safety features not present on an old VW.
         For the design, I started by giving it a bullet nose like on my retro wagon, and created a nice bumper with air intakes in it. Originally I had planned to have the engine in the front with the whole front lifting on hinges (like a truck cab) to access the engine, due to design difficulties and reliability concerns, this idea was scrapped in favor of a rear engine model. The interior is based on my 1998 Ford Windstar, with the single sliding door and offset middle bench seat (far superior to the double door with middle isle in my opinion). It took a while to get the sliding door to work, turns out you have to have a holder at the top and bottom or it won’t work right. The engine is in the rear under a sound proof cover. I ended up having fins trailing from the roof like in my original drawing, and I added inverse slopes to the bottom of the rear window creating a curved effect. It took quite a while to build this as I had to order quite a few parts and wait for them to come in.

Road Trip! (about the car):
The Retro Motors AstroBus is the best looking minivan on the road, it is also one of the safest roomiest cars you can buy. Able to seat 6 Minifigs, it is equipped with Retro Motors new Fireball 6 Engine which has as much power as the V8s from most other car brands, and gets the MPP (Miles Per Push) of a V4! Having cargo space in both the rear (on top of the engine cover) and front (the bullet nose opens), it has the best cargo space in its class.

The AtroBus is the 6th car to be manufactured by Retro Motors

Uber long story start
The real story:
“Retro Motors” is a fictitious car company I made up, it is a company that really couldn’t exist in the real world because there isn’t enough of a market for classic stile cars in the modern world. But in LEGO I can do what I want, aerodynamics can be thrown out the window because they all get the same MPP (Miles Per Push), they are all imagination powered after all! The company is really just an excuse to relate all my custom cars together by creating a back story for them, it’s a good outlet for my imagination to.

The fictional story behind “RM”:
Retro Motors, or RM, was created by young inventor Scott Bertaut in Buildington, New Jersey. The first car it made was a custom “El Camino,” followed a year later by “the Retro Wagon.” These first prototypes were really just one of a kind cars thrown together out of old parts in Scott’s family’s garage but soon became mass produced as part of an actual company. “The Retro Wagon” was mass produced first to gain funds to purchase the “El Camino” name from GM, the name “Astro” was also part of the deal The company mainly makes new cars that looks similar to the classic cars of old but have all the features of a modern car from one of the “Big 3.” The company is really held up by its use of revolutionary engines and other technology that allows the cars to be fuel efficient and powerful at the same time. It’s these new technologies in its cars that allow them to have any shape but still be fuel efficient and handle well. As soon as the rest of the country is willing to cooperate, the companies CEO planes to introduce advanced hydrogen burning engines into all of its models. The company also has a small side branch that does restoration work on actual classic cars. Retro Motors is one of the only American car companies to enjoy growth in the current recession, and it plans to continue to look into the past to bring people the future cars.
Uber long story end

Pictures:










Everything open (sorry for the blurry picture)


The front storage compartment



Engine compartment: This is the new Fireball 6 Engine, similar to the original (know known as the Fireball 8) that was used in the Nifty Fifty. Unfortunately I didn't have another fireball printed element.





The superiority of the single sliding door with offset bench seat is that the isle is on the side. With the separate seats and double doors, the isle is in the middle forcing you to climb over the middle seats to get to the rear ones.






Try fitting 6 Minifigs in a 4 wide city scale car! You can even fit 7 if the ones in the rear seat aren't clicked down.

Update:
I have now made some slight improvements to this MOC. I switched plates on the two front doors with tiles, I'm not a studless builder, but studs on the doors just looked too weird. I also switched out a few parts on the sliding door mechanism to make the interior color scheme look better. Pictures to come soon, Although I want to modify the dashboard first.



Comments

 I like it 
  January 28, 2014
It looks cool, and fun. Bravo!
 I like it 
  January 16, 2014
plenty of cool functions, nicely done Scott!
 I made it 
  January 14, 2014
Quoting clayton Marchetti Uber Awesome! I love the VW look to it . I like the way you did the front windows. I like how the engine is accessed very cool. The interior looks awesome too. Love the front seats. It took me minute to figure out how you made the sliding door work that's very clever. I like how you placed the dash and steering wheel. I really love the back stories that accompany these releases . The best thing about this vehicle , it's an 8 wide! Excellent job!
Glad someone likes 8 wides! The guys in my local LEGO group are always complaining because my cars take up the whole darn road in our group town displays. As for the dashboard, I agree, it is one of my best, though I still need to replace that white 1x4 slope with a blue one. Darn, just placed a bricklink order today and I forgot to look for it.
 I made it 
  January 14, 2014
Quoting XY EZ This is soo great; where can I buy it? Will it be produced? 8-D 5/5
I might sell them on a website someday, though I doubt if I will ever feel like giving the effort. If I get the motivation though I might make them in LDD and post instructions. Will probably have to have a few pictures to go along with it as some building techniques wont work in LDD
 I like it 
  January 14, 2014
Excellent work! Well done.
 I like it 
  January 13, 2014
Very cool. Lots of great features and functions.
 I like it 
  January 13, 2014
That's so awesome! I love all the openings and the sliding doors! Very good job!
 I like it 
  January 13, 2014
Uber Awesome! I love the VW look to it . I like the way you did the front windows. I like how the engine is accessed very cool. The interior looks awesome too. Love the front seats. It took me minute to figure out how you made the sliding door work that's very clever. I like how you placed the dash and steering wheel. I really love the back stories that accompany these releases . The best thing about this vehicle , it's an 8 wide! Excellent job!
 I like it 
  January 13, 2014
This is soo great; where can I buy it? Will it be produced? 8-D 5/5
 I like it 
  January 13, 2014
Great job, love the brick built paint job and the sliding door!
 I like it 
  January 13, 2014
Really well made! The sliding doors are awesome, as is the front. Very reminiscent of the VW van, but with some witty design.
 
By Scott Bertaut
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Added January 13, 2014
 

The background images used on this page are © Todd Lehman,
available at http://www.lugnet.com/fibblesnork/lego/backgrounds/


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