Lego ExplorerMagnesium engine blocks? Yesterday's news. Carbon-fiber bodywork? Puh-lease. No, the latest and greatest exotic material to grace Ford's 2012 production range isn't some space-age alloy. Instead it's something that'll already be familiar to parents nationwide: Lego bricks.
OK, so this awe-inspiring, life-size model doesn't actually drive anywhere. In fact, the doors don't even open. But it's none the less impressive for that. Created to mark the launch of Ford's latest Explorer SUV (and the upcoming opening of the world's largest Lego theme park), the model was constructed by a Connecticut-based team of 22 master builders, a task which took some 2,500 hours. In its finished state, it weighs over 2,600 pounds, more than half as much as the real car -- although about a quarter of its mass is down to a huge aluminum base that strengthens and supports the structure.
But don't try building it at home. In total, the Lego Explorer uses about 380,000 bricks -- which, at a typical market rate of about ten cents per brick, would cost nearly $40,000. And yes, that's indeed more than enough to buy you an actual, drivable new-model Explorer, with enough left over to spec out some nice options.
Instead, if you want to see Lego's Explorer in person, just head for Legoland's new 150-acre theme park in Orlando, Florida, which opens on October 15. And if you want to see the actual Ford Explorer in person, it's probably easiest to just head for your nearest Little League soccer game.