Speed Champions has more than a century of automotive history from which the theme can take inspiration. Its primary focus undoubtedly remains modern super cars and I usually enjoy those sets, although a few classic vehicles are also very welcome.
75889 Ferrari Ultimate Garage includes two such models, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO and a Ferrari 312 T4 Formula One car from the 1979 season. They both look marvellous and I am similarly impressed by the more modern 488 GTE. This should therefore prove to be an excellent set but I am a little sceptical about the supporting elements as they are usually the weakest aspect of the Speed Champions range. Hopefully these will prove to be a pleasant surprise by matching the high standard of the cars.
A driver is included for each of the three cars and they are dressed in racing uniforms which are roughly appropriate to their respective eras. The tan and red attire worn by the Ferrari 312 T4 driver looks good but I am disappointed that it does not more closely match the uniforms from 1979, even if that had meant omitting a number of the real sponsors. It also seems strange that the driver of Gilles Villeneuve's car is female. While I would not expect to see an official Gilles Villeneuve minifigure, it would surely be more appropriate to include a character of the correct gender.
The other two minifigures are splendid though. Their uniforms are distinctive and I am very impressed by the authentic branding on the driver of the 488 GTE when compared with his real-life counterparts, Davide Rigon and Sam Bird. The black and white suit worn by the Ferrari 250 GTO driver looks good too. A classic 1962 Le Mans racing helmet would have been a wonderful addition to the figure but I think a plain black helmet is absolutely fine.
A pair of Ferrari mechanics are also included and they wear polo shirts with the Ferrari logo on the front and back. I like this new design and the combination of red, white and black across the torso and legs looks marvellous. However, it would have been nice to see dual-moulded arms representing short sleeves as most real Ferrari mechanics wear short sleeves.
The male mechanic comes equipped with a selection of black tools while the female figure carries a chequered flag. These often appear in Speed Champions sets so it seems a shame that the stickers used on both sides of the flag have not been replaced with a printed design. Fortunately, the stickers are easy to apply so this does not bother me too much.
Two spectators complete the set. I am delighted to see the Aran jumper return from 21310 Old Fishing Store and it looks fantastic on this figure, including tremendous printed detail on both sides. The dark tan legs work very nicely in conjunction with the jumper and a camera is included which seems appropriate for a day at the race track.
A more common torso is used for the other spectator. The medium lavender jacket looks superb and I like the double-sided head which features two smiling expressions as well as a pair of sunglasses that match the colour of the jacket. It might have been nice to see her carrying some kind of Ferrari flag as motor racing fans will know that Ferrari flags are a perennial feature of crowds at racing venues, although this was not a necessity.
The Completed Model
The Ferrari GTO 250 is probably the most appealing aspect of this set for many people but I have been most looking forward to the 312 T4 Formula One car, due in no small part to my interest in Formula One. Several Formula One cars have appeared in the Speed Champions range but this is the first historic model and I think it looks brilliant, with a unique profile which matches the 1979 design as well as plenty of authentic smaller details.
Red dominates the Ferrari, as one would expect, so the light bluish grey front and rear wings really stand out against the rest of the bodywork. The tapering of the front wing is perhaps slightly too steep when compared with the source material but I think it looks alright given the small scale and an entirely straight leading edge would probably appear even more out of place. However, it is disappointing that the dual layering of the nose has not been captured as that is a particularly distinctive feature of the real T4.
The shaping of the bodywork surrounding the cockpit looks fantastic though and I am impressed by the flat profile of the car in relation to its width. Sixteen stickers are used across the model and include all the advertisements that were present on the real car along with a couple of aerodynamic features which could not be represented using bricks at this scale. I particularly appreciate the numbers and lettering on either flank, identifying this as the car that belonged to Gilles Villeneuve during the 1979 season.
There is room to seat a minifigure in the cockpit and I like the dark bluish grey headrest frame, formed using a Battle Droid body element. The exposed engine towards the rear looks great as well, including two 3L bars representing exhausts. A single clip links the rear wing to the engine so the connection is somewhat fragile, although the narrow frame is accurate to the real vehicle and the wing itself looks marvellous.
An alternative rear wing is also included. This was used on street circuits during the 1979 season and it looks equally impressive in my view, featuring a pair of the new 2x2 angled tiles in light bluish grey. The differing wheel sizes are also realistic but I wonder whether LEGO might consider creating a wider tyre for use on Formula racing cars as these are rather narrow. Nevertheless, I am very satisfied with the model as a whole and hope we will see a few more classic Formula One cars in future Speed Champions sets. A six-wheeled Tyrrell P34 would be incredible!
The Ferrari GTO 250 is among the most famous Ferraris ever produced so I had high expectations for this model. Its curving bodywork must have presented an extraordinary challenge for the designer but I am delighted with the results as the proportions and shape of the vehicle look magnificent in relation to the original vehicle. Admittedly, the roof is a little higher than it should be and some of the curves are not perfect but the overall design has been rendered nicely.
Curved slopes are used to brilliant effect on the nose of the GTO 250, accurately recreating the narrow profile of the real car. I love the curved roof element fitted upside down on the underside of the model and the stickers along the front look superb, depicting the radiator grille and a row of air intakes along the bonnet. The large headlights are also included and make good use of the 1x2 rounded plate which was introduced earlier this year.
Additional stickers are used on either side of the model and the bonnet, identifying this as the number 22 car which finished third in the 1962 24 Hours of Le Mans. I like these scattered white highlights and the yellow details look splendid too, matching the actual 250 GTO exactly. The windscreen and roof are removable but the projecting 2x4 curved slopes make it quite difficult to place a minifigure inside. There is just enough room though and the figure looks great once properly seated.
A new wheel arch has been created for the 2018 Speed Champions range and four are used in red on this model. The trim is more pronounced here than it is in reality but this is certainly the most suitable wheel arch available and I like the exposed wheel hubs, although the 1x1 round plates in the centre should have been pearl silver to match the hubs.
The sweeping curve at the rear of the Ferrari 250 GTO is perhaps its most immediately recognisable feature. I love how the designer has recreated this using curved slopes which line up perfectly with the rearmost angled section. Unfortunately, this has left a small gap behind the wheel arch which is a shame but I am not sure how this could have been filled in using legal building techniques.
I think the model looks fantastic when viewed from the rear, as shown below. The printed fuel filler cap on the left hand side is a charming detail and I like the number 22 sticker on the right, despite the fact that this should be slightly bigger. The angled rear has allowed the designer to include a small spoiler and there are four exhausts underneath, just as on the real Ferrari 250 GTO. This is certainly a worthy model of such a famous car and I am confident that Ferrari fans will be pleased.
The 488 GTE is the last of the cars to be assembled is also the most modern, having participated in several 24 hour races during 2016 and 2017. Its colour scheme of red, blue and white is unusual for a Ferrari but I think it works remarkably well in LEGO form. The shape and construction of the model is very similar to that of 75886 Ferrari 488 GT3 Scuderia Corsa, as one might expect given the similarity of the real cars. This does reduce the appeal of the 488 GTE to some degree but I still think it looks tremendous.
Sponsorship covers the Ferrari 488 GTE in reality so it should come as no surprise that a total of 39 stickers are used across the entire model. Many of these are necessary but 39 stickers feels like a vast number and some are quite tricky to apply, particularly those on 1x1 tiles. Nevertheless, they do look magnificent when the model is complete and really help to accentuate the curves of the bodywork where slopes are not sufficient.
The front splitter consists of a 2x6 rounded plate which is fitted upside down as well as two 1x1 round plates with bars. These are a lot more prominent than the wire braces on the real vehicle but I appreciate that such details have been included at all. The canopy can be removed to reveal a seat for the driver alongside a steering wheel and a printed dashboard. Unusually, the canopy is not printed but features a sticker which is a bit disappointing.
Five more stickers are applied on either side of the model, depicting a wide array of different sponsors. They serve an additional important purpose by creating diagonal curves which cannot be formed using curved slopes, the most notable of which is the white stripe running from below the door mirrors to the rear of the cockpit. Furthermore, these stickers line up quite well with the brightly coloured pieces sprinkled throughout the model so I would be reluctant to omit any of them.
The engine is visible through the rear window and even more stickers are used across this area of the Ferrari. I like the Italian flag motif which runs through the central white stripe and the large spoiler looks superb, featuring authentic branding on top and at either end. The spoiler is mounted using droid arms so its angle can be adjusted very easily.
Enormous diffusers dominate the rear of the 488 GTE and the colourful designs also continue as three more stickers complete the model. This car looks tall in relation to its width so suffers from an issue which has plagued the Speed Champions range and the sheer quantity of stickers is disconcerting too. I still think this is a reasonable rendition of the racing car though and its garish colour scheme stands out when displayed beside other vehicles!
The cars are always the highlight of Speed Champions sets and I often bemoan the inclusion of larger accessories which offer little play or display value but greatly increase the price of sets. However, I was quite impressed by this section of a race track, not least because of the brilliant archway design. Using the curved roller coaster elements is ingenious and I think the arch looks wonderful in relation to real race tracks.
Ferrari emblems adorn the top of the arch and either end is joined to the sides of the track via Technic pins, allowing you to change the angle of the chicane. The walls can also be adjusted to direct cars in different directions and I like the berms at the base of the archway, although they might have looked better still with some white stripes contrasting against the red.
Larger Speed Champions sets often include a garage or pit area and this model looks better than most in my opinion, featuring a number of decorative details as well as some retro styling which is rather nice. The design of the garage is reminiscent of that from 75876 Porsche 919 Hybrid and 917K Pit Lane as the walls are mounted on hinges so can be folded out for display. Fortunately, there is also plenty of room for minifigures when the walls are closed up, as in the image below, unlike in the 2016 set.
I like the combination of red and white across the garage as well as the green, white and red stripes at the foot of the walls, recalling the colours of the Italian flag. The reverse of each wall lacks detail so the garage looks much better when folded out in my opinion and this works very smoothly as clips ensure that the walls remain fixed in place when closed.
The left side of the garage celebrates Ferrari's history, featuring a large golden trophy in a display case, a series of posters displaying the cars in this set and three tiny models which are represented by roller skates. This is much more interesting than the standard array of computers and diagnostic equipment found in other Speed Champions sets and I love the unique styling of each poster, all of which feel suited to their respective eras.
A car lift occupies the centre of the model, allowing mechanics to work on the cars with ease. You can drive the vehicles onto the lift from the rear but they do not slot onto the ramp as neatly as I had hoped. Even so, the lift is activated by pulling on the red lever and it works well, especially if you fit the vehicles to the yellow jumper plates. Some spare hubcaps hang on a rack beside the wall and there are also a pair of workbenches with drawers containing tools. The barrier in front of the lift can be detached with ease and is useful for protecting cars which might be parked in the museum area.
The rest of the tools are mounted on the right hand wall. I like the exposed medium nougat brickwork and the stand for the rear wings is great as either wing can be attached. However, the highlight of this area is definitely the classic fuel pump which is designed to resemble those from the 1950s or 1960s. The nozzle can be detached so you can fuel the cars and it is easily removable, standing on a couple of jumper plates.
The cars in this set are among the best that the Speed Champions range has produced. All three offer impressive detail and I think they have been chosen very well, representing entirely different eras and styles of Ferrari. My favourite is the 312 T4 Formula One car as I love classic Formula One designs, although the 250 GTO is excellent and the Ferrari 488 GTE compares favourably with the source material too.
In addition, the garage and race track include some lovely details and have exceeded my expectations. I particularly appreciate the classic design features of the garage, granting it some character which has been lacking from past Speed Champions garages. The price of $99.99 or £89.99 does not feel hugely expensive in relation to the content of the set but I would be more comfortable with a slight reduction and in that case this is definitely a worthy addition to any Speed Champions collection.
I hope you have found this review informative. Let us know by liking this article and share your thoughts on the set in the comments below.
This set was provided for review by The LEGO Group but the review is an expression of my own opinions.