Throughout the history of Technic there have been always one or more "big cars". These cars represent the top of the range with the most working parts including pistons, gears and others. They are the most wanted sets. Let's have a closer look!
The story started in 1977 with the set no. 956 (sometimes 853) named "Car Chassis". As the "Technic" brand did not exist yet it ran as part of the brand new "Expert Builder" series. The car introduced many of the Technic parts known today: bricks with holes, connectors, rods, gears. It also had a number of special elements like the pistons (the old 2x2 type). The size made it possible to have a 4-cylinder engine, working steering and gearbox with 2 gears. Four adjustable seats made the set complete. As the name suggests it did not have a chassis and no working suspension either.
This set was replaced by the 8860 in 1980. The car became much sportier and was "driven" by a rear-mounted flat-4 engine. Just like its predecessor, it did not have a chassis, but it got a rear differential, a rear suspension and the number of gears has increased to 3. More features took more space as well so it had 2 seats only, but this is perfectly in line with the sporty character. Some models the shock absorber was made of an axle, bushes and connectors. Later models had proper shock absorbers.
From 1984 the series is called "Technic" officially but the new set 8865 "Test Car" came only in 1988. Unlike the previous sets this one had a Technic-style chassis: edges of the bodywork, the roof and the doors are marked by red bricks. The four-cylinder engine came in a V configuration this time. The newly introduced suspension and steering parts allowed a proper front suspension as well. Apart from that the car was built from the usual studded bricks.
The next set in the line is the 8880 "Super Car" introduced in 1994 that represents the top of traditional Technic building. This is the last car made of mostly studded bricks. It contains new bricks like the V8 engine or the chain in the engine drive. Apart from that it continued the traditions of its ancestors and sports more working features than any of them (and any of its successors). It had a complete four wheel drive with three differentials, plus it included a four wheel steering that is not quite typical on road cars either even today. Of course it did not miss any of the usual ingredients like front and rear suspension and the gearbox with 4 gears.
This set is the last in the row that emphasises technical content, for its successors cool looks are more important. It is also the last big car to occupy the top alone, newer models have brothers. Let us talk about them in the next part.
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