Dream machine

Lego blocks car comes to Winchester
Matthew Vollmers, general manager of Don Beyer Volvo and Volkswagen of Winchester, kneels beside this Volvo XC90 Lego car inside the Winchester showroom. Rich Cooley/Daily
The Lego Volvo sports a Lego license plate. Rich Cooley/Daily
Matthew Vollmers, general manager of Don Beyer Volvo and Volkswagen of Winchester, stands beside this Volvo XC90 Lego car inside the Winchester showroom. Rich Cooley/Daily

WINCHESTER — Amidst the shiny, new 2015 model sedans at the Don Beyer Volvo dealership sits a 2004 Volvo XC90 that has been sighted in places like San Diego, New York City and Boston.

But this car hasn’t been driven a mile, because it’s made out Lego bricks, a popular children’s modeling brick.

Weighing 2,930 pounds, the Lego SUV was built in Enfield, Connecticut, by a team of five model builders over a 10-week period in 2004. Except for the vehicle’s chassis, wheels and tires, the builders constructed the car with 201,076 Lego bricks, one piece at a time.

The red brick plastic car is one of just two in the world and has been displayed across the country, including Legoland in Carlsbad, California. The other one, a blue brick model, is displayed in the Volvo Museum in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Before being transported to Winchester, the vehicle was in Boston, said Matt Vollmers, general manager of the dealership. He said the vehicle is in Winchester for the Boy Scout district Pinewood Derby championships that are being hosted by the dealership March 7 and 21.

“The catalyst of this is we’re going to have so many Boy Scouts and families, this is such a great piece to show them because I know my sons just go absolutely crazy designing and building Legos,” Vollmers said.

After “a little bit of phone calling, politicking and groveling” the car traveled on an insulated trailer from Boston to Winchester, arriving Tuesday, Vollmers said.

“The snowstorms in Boston delayed it a couple weeks, but we were working with a March 6 deadline,” Vollmers said. “We had to have it in a complete enclosed carrier … one 80-mile-an-hour windblast could damage this irreparably.”

Vollmers added, “This piece is kind of communal property with our dealerships, so if I could get it down here, I could put it in the showroom … if you ask, you never know what will happen.”

The vehicle has seen some wear and tear over the years, with blocks chipping off and missing. For instance, the headlights can actually turn on, however the battery is dead. Vollmers said the dealership is waiting for a new battery to arrive.

He noted that the car has to be hand washed with a toothbrush, then dried with a leaf blower.

“We’re even talking about doing some restoration, because the epoxy glue holding it together seems to be wearing out,” Vollmers said. “There’s little small details we want to work with, we want to get every thing fixed up and working right … she’s been around the block, but we’re going to go crazy on it.”

He said the vehicle is “an amazing piece of engineering.”

“The minds to put this together, with three master builders designing it on a computer, then five LEGO master builders to put it together, this is just truly amazing,” Vollmers said.

Vollmers isn’t the only one who was impressed.

“My boys are 2, 9 and 12 … they didn’t want to leave the showroom,” Vollmers said. “And when they heard there was a hatch underneath to get inside, I had to say, ‘Not yet,’ because I still need to handle some of the spruce-up items on the car.”

Vollmers added, “I think they’re so used to handling Legos on a small scale then they see this … it was like Christmas day, their eyes just popping out.”

The Lego car is part of a way to give back to the community he calls home, Vollmers said.

“I was an Army brat. I’ve lived on six continents, but the valley is where I’d call home because it’s a great place to raise my boys,” Vollmers said. “I want to take care of the community and I hope this Lego car will make some kids’ day.”

The car will undergo restoration work in preparation for the district pine car derby and will be at the dealership at least through March.

Vollmers said there are talks underway to display the car in the Discovery Children’s Museum in downtown Winchester, the Apple Blossom Mall or in the Apple Blossom parade, although nothing is set in stone.

Don Beyer Volvo is located at 4015 Valley Pike in Winchester.

Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or hculvyhouse@nvdaily.com

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