Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran received radio airplay for a song in which he proclaims that he will build his love interest a house made out of Lego pieces. It served more as a metaphor; still, the U.K. artist is known to be quite the Lego aficionado.
Now two innovators have built something almost as improbable as a Lego house: a car comprised of half a million Lego pieces.
The project is the brainchild of Australian entrepreneur Steve Sammartino and Romanian technology guru Raul Oaida. They met on the Internet and then used a single tweet to crowd source the funds needed. In the prospectus, Sammartino does not promise any revenue windfall from the car. He doesn't even state what the final project will yield. Instead, he assures that "all those involved will benefit from the personal branding via having their names against it."
Sammartino convinced 40 Australians to back the venture at $500 each. It was dubbed "Super Awesome Micro Project," and it became a reality.
"The three CEOs from the largest car companies in Detroit hopped on private jets, no less, to fly down to Congress to beg Washington for money because they don't know what the future looks like," Sammartino told the "Beers, Blokes & Business" podcast in Australia about his pitch to the stakeholders. "Here we are, 40 people from Melbourne, nonmillionaires, investing in a genius kid in Romania to build an eco-friendly car using Internet tools that didn't exist 10 years ago. Boom, baby! That's the future."
Legos may not be the savior of the automobile industry but the "genius kid" did deliver. Oaida, 20 years old, spent 18 months creating the vehicle. The car's body and engine were constructed with Lego pieces. Oaida added four tires and other mechanisms to hold the car parts together. Sammartino checked in on the vehicle's progress over Skype until completion. The hot-rod-styled car was then shipped from Romania to Melbourne.
Sammartino and Oaida successfully test-drove the car, which powers its four orbital engines and 256 pistons using air. The downside? The Lego car tops out at about 20 miles per hour. That, and if you have ever stepped on an edge of a Lego brick, you know you'll need to watch your feet as you step into the vehicle.