I’m certainly not a completist when it comes to the Speed Champions set, but they continue to offer interesting build experiences, often unique parts and a rewarding result even if you are not a car aficionado per se such as is the case with me. So that’s why we’ll have a look at the LEGO Speed Champions Chevrolet Corvette C8.R Race Car and 1968 Chevrolet Corvette (76903), and yes that’s quite a mouthful. I’ll therefore keep referring to the cars in abbreviated form in this article.
Contents and Pricing
As I wrote in my most recent Speed Champions review, I’m rather fond of the single-pack editions for their good value-to-price ratio. The dual packs are another matter with them consisting of two sub-types, one being the equally cost-efficient regular version and the other some sort of ill-conceived “premium” package where you’re mostly paying for the licensed name such as the Lamborghini two pack. Thankfully this one here is in the first category where two models have been packed together for convenience and ease of distribution, not to milk the costumer, despite being an officially licensed GM product. It even has a fancy extra sticker with a holographic silver strip and a QR code on the box for verification.
This being a “goodness x 2” offering, the price is exactly in line with what you would pay for two single packages. At 40 Euro this starts out as very reasonable and even the discounts follow that logic with this set being widely available at around 30 Euro from many vendors. I got mine for 27 Euro on one of those evening flash sales on Amazon you cannot plan for and that you would just miss if you don’t happen to browse their pages or your favorite price guide exactly at those times. That really is a very satisfactory price and one cannot complain even a tiny bit about it for 512 pieces.
The minifigures for Speed Champions are usually not worth writing something specifically about, but the grumpy C8.R driver made me giggle, so I had to include an image here. Who knows what technical issue ruined his day?
I’m generally not great on stickers and even less so when they are not used sensibly. This is the case here, in particular for the classic 1968 Corvette for which the transparent sheet on the left is meant. I’m particularly irked by the two large tiles with the flag symbol because aside from the nonsense of having to paper over a large tile with an equally large sticker these two tiny car logos clearly would look better printed on directly and, which also is sort of a point, would have given the model a bit more of a “collectible” aura. The even larger sheet for the C8.R is more tolerable, with the only real cardinal sin being that they once again expect you to represent the headlights with two stickers split across two elements, but of course the fact remains that there should simply generally be more printed parts in these sets.
C8.R Race Car
The C8.R Corvette could be most recently seen in the 2021 Le Mans 24h race, though it had to give up only a few hours in due to technical difficulties. So my memory is still somewhat fresh and while I was aware of some of the flaws in the model beforehand, now these shortcomings and omissions feel even more painful.
The first thing that immediately springs to the eye is the car not being wide enough in the rear. Yes, this lady has a fat booty. This is not helped by the aft upper air intake being to flat, either. The LEGO model makes you believe that at best it is a small slit, but in actuality it’s quite bulged out. This is also an area where I feel the stickers won’t help to create the illusion, either. It really is a situation where the designers would have needed to add that half stud or even a full one in extra width on each side.
Since doing so likely would have involved quite some jumper-based construction to transition between odd and even numbered stud layouts it potentially might also have resulted in a better representation of the fastback.
The lower rear section with the exhaust pipe and the reinforced underside of the chassis looks quite odd in that it appears to stick out and stands off the main car body way too much, but according to images one can find on the Internet is pretty accurate. I guess it’s one of those aerodynamics things you really have to be a nerd about to fully appreciate the details.
The other critical detail they unfortunately got pretty much wrong is of course the pointed shark nose hood. It’s very distinct and impossible to miss, but totally absent here. Now the thing is that this may be yet another case where LEGO would have had to invent/ design a new piece because basically they do not have anything close to “a 15 degree angle with a bit of rounding”, but given that this is a scenario that actually comes up regularly not just with cars but also for instance aircraft and their wing leading edges it might have been worth to put in the resources. I bet such a piece would be quite popular for all sorts of MOCs if only it existed.
The cockpit is a very sparse affair, but then so it is on the real thing and once you add the tinted glass piece even less can be seen of the interior, so this is sufficient.
Classic 1968 Corvette
The 1968 Corvette has become an icon and a classic in its own right and has long deserved its due, but I feel that this model more or less completely fails to re-create the magic. For its time the original had quite some complex curves and in my opinion the designers have been largely unsuccessful translating them into miniature form. On first sight you can kind of get away if you squint your eyes a bit, but once you delve into the details, you begin to realize more and more how wrong some things are.
Naturally, the thing that stands out the most is the completely wrong windshield. it has the wrong inclination, no curvature, not the typical tapering toward the roof and to cap it of (literally) LEGO did a very lazy job here by slapping on two 2 x 6 tiles with not a bit of corner rounding. The back window is also not great with the real point being that since they already use a 1 x 4 transparent brick as a structural element, the ramps could likely have been much better represented with this wedge plate mounted vertically.
By now we all have gotten used to the sad reality the LEGO never (or no longer anymore, to be precise) does real chrome on their pieces, rarely ever metallic silver and even only for some elements Pearl Silver, and without endlessly debating the whys and hows I can accept that, but with this model I felt that hot needle in my head stinging me again with one tiny details: Yes, the rear lights really, really, really could have used that small ring of chrome to make them stand out from the rest of the car. Unlike my more specific gripes with other parts this should have been a no-brainer.
On that note – and not trying to bore anyone – someone on Facebook showed a picture with custom chrome wheel hubs and it looked pretty rad, regardless. Just sayin’! 😉 The printed dishes are perfectly acceptable, though the probably should concave, not convex, i.e. mounted the other way around, to further the illusion of depth.
The cockpit interior is again full Black and while that may be correct and true to the original, I wish they had gone with a brighter color as you can see on some restored vintage cars with custom colors. Some Tan or Dark Tan for the covers and fake seats would have gone a long way to make this look a bit more friendly.
Both car models are serviceable, but regrettably not very accurate representations of their real counterparts. Especially the 1968 Corvette leaves a lot to be desired with many tiny flaws adding up and spoiling the look of the whole model. The C8.R fares slightly better, but overall ends up feeling very generic and too similar to other super cars in the series. It just as well could be a Ferrari, McLaren or even just a souped-up Audi or whatever you prefer. You would only be able to guess what it is supposed to be based on the stickers or when the differences become more apparent in a full line-up next to other Speed Champion models.
On a broader level they are just fine if you’re not obsessing too much about the details. It just feels to me that this is a bit of a missed opportunity. Had they gotten it right the 1968 Corvette alone would have compelled many people to buy the set and they could have re-issued it in a different color in two or three years and sold it just as often. In the current form people will be more hesitant and they’ll likely need to give it a major work-over should they want to bring it out again in the future.
As a way of killing some time and learning a few interesting building techniques I got something out of it and of course in particular the Dark Red pieces will come in handy one day. Many of them are new for this year, but not exclusive for this set, as we are kind of living in “The Year of Dark Red” with many pieces having been recolored in this shade for some Star Wars and Super Heroes sets already. For the right price there’s nothing wrong with that, but serious car fanatics will probably feel let down by this set and the lack of ultimate realism.