Welcome to Radiator Springs, gateway to Ornament Valley, legendary for its quality service and friendly hospitality! If you're looking for a refreshing drink, stop at Flo's V8 Cafe to get some of the finest fuel on Route 66! This is where famous racecar Lightning McQueen comes to relax with his friends. If you would like to meet them and find out everything there is to know about Flo's cafe, keep on reading!
Set Number: 8487
Name: Flo’s V8 Café
Year of Release: 2011
Price: $59.99 USD
S@H Brickset Bricklink Brickshelf
The box is rather thin and long. It features the usual red-and-black design of all the Cars 2 sets, even though this is obviously a Cars 1 set, and like all the larger Cars sets, it has both Lightning and Mater in the lower left corner. Also, it has the choking hazard warning in the lower right corner which Lego seems to be putting in front of every box this year. Usually this sign is rather distracting, but on a box this big it's not very noticeable. The box art shows Lightning, Mater, and friends hanging out at Flo's in front of a backdrop of the car-shaped Radiator Springs mountains which looks pretty nice and is very reminiscent of the movie.
On top of the box there is a line-up of all the characters included in the set as well as an "actual size" box which uses one of McQueen's tires as reference.
The back has the same line-up, but with a different background and with the names of the characters under the picture. It also has several windows demonstrating the play features and other details of the set. Some of these seem a bit unnecessary, such as the close-ups of the V8 sign and the interior which are perfectly visible on the front of the box already. In the upper right corner there is the spy radar thing that is on all of the Cars boxes. It looks more out of place than on any of the other sets as this is a classic Cars set which has absolutely nothing to do with the spy story of the second movie. The overall design, however, has a nice Cars feel to it.
Inside the box you will find four numbered bags, an instructions manual, and a surprisingly small sticker sheet. As you will see later on, all the parts on the cars are printed! Both the sticker sheet and the instructions in my copy of the set were a bit bent. I really hope TLG will start packaging stickers and manuals together with a card board in all of their sets soon. Note the choking hazard warning which they decided to put on the manual as well. Can't be too careful, I guess.
Here is a random instructions page. Like all the Cars instructions, it has the spy radar as a background which, again, doesn't fit the set at all. The instructions are pretty easy to follow as they usually only call for one or two parts and never more than 5 different parts at a time. In the back of the instructions there is a page showing the same play feature pictures from the back of the box, a parts inventory, two pages with ads for 8206 Tokyo Pit Stop, 8424 Mater's Spy Zone, 8426 Escape at Sea, and 8484 Ultimate Building Lightning McQueen, a full-page ad for Lego Club, and the usual "WIN!" page on the back.
There are tons of notable pieces in this set as it is full of parts with rare colors and/or unique prints, but here's just some of the brand new parts: The new 3-wide windscreen on a 2x4 base, the new drivers cabin piece, the two new fender pieces, the 3x4 hood, a juniorized version of two of these next to each other, the new 4x1 curved slope which is used as a bumper on some of the cars, two new kinds of small wheels and the old Tiny Turbos wheel in gray. These are all very nice pieces, and the ones that aren't printed should be very useful for MOCs of all kinds.
As it is to be expected, there are no minifigs in this set, so let's just go on to...
The first half of the build focuses on the characters. Bag number one contains all the parts you need to build Lightning McQueen, Mater, and Flo, as well as the two caution cones.
Since each of these cars is built pretty quickly, there's not really any in-build pictures to show, so here's a picture of them completed:
The second bag contains all the parts for the rest of the characters, Fillmore, Sarge, and Sally.
Fillmore is a bit more complex than the other cars, so here is an in-build shot of him.
And this is what the cars from bag two look like finished.
Let's take a closer look at these characters. First up we have best buddies Lightning and Mater.
Mater looks the same as he does in most of the sets, so I wont comment much on him other than that he look very close to his movie counterpart. McQueen has the paint job that he had at the end of the first movie. Kind of an odd choice, but by no means a bad one. It's highly accurate, right down to all the little logos on the side, except for maybe the missing printing in the back and on the tires, but I guess that would have been too much to ask for. Still, it would have been awesome to get tires that say "Lightyear" on them. I'm personally not a big fan of how they used those 2x4 tiles on McQueen's sides as they ruin the smoothness of his body, but I guess this is the only way that they could have printed the sides.
Unlike McQueen, Mater does have back printing, which is great. His crane can move up and down and his hook can swing around a bit. Note that he has wider wheels in the rear than in the front, just like in the movies.
Next we have the ladies of this set, Lightning's girlfriend Sally and Flo, the owner of the cafe herself. Flo is mostly made up of parts in the lovely new color Light Aqua, whereas Sally consists of parts in medium blue. Again, I don't like how those tiles stick out from Sally's sides, but unlike in McQueen's case, this can be easily fixed by removing one of the 1x4 plates under each tile.
Compared to these reference images, they are very accurate as well. The only thing that seems off is the use of yellow tiles on Flo's sides.
These ladies look as good from the back as they do from the front. I really like how they did the fins on Flo, and Sally's back printing is nicely detailed. My only nitpick is that her rear window looks too small.
Last, but not least, there are the two bickering neighbors Sarge and Fillmore. Fillmore is easily my favorite of the bunch. He's, like, totally groovy, man! Just look at all those lovely printed light-aqua hippie bricks! Sarge looks quite lovely too with his sand green and dark tan color scheme and his army star prints which should prove quite useful for military MOCs.
If you compare them to these reference pics, you will see that they are no less accurate than the other characters.
(Note that these are images from Cars 2, so just ignore the headsets and "95" decals.)
Here's a close-up of Fillmore's face. Isn't it great? It really has that stoned expression that seems to say "What you really need is some of my organic fuel, man." And just look at the detail! They even included the dirt spots around his headlights!
In this rear view you can see that instead of a spare tire, Sarge has a frying pan on his back, and Fillmore has an exhaust pipe. I don't see why they couldn't give Sarge a real spare tire, but oh well. Note that the 1x6 brick with the "peace" printing is different from the one on the other side which reads "groovy love". The only thing that bothers me here is that 1x2 gap on Fillmore's back which should have been covered up by a tile in my opinion, but that's just a minor issue considering how magnificent the rest of him is!
Let's continue with the build. Bag three contains the parts for the forecourt.
First you build the gas pumps. It's a pretty easy build due to the large pieces being used. One might argue that the use of such pieces lessens the building experience, but since the final result looks nice and smooth thanks to them, I don't mind too much. Here is an in-build shot of it.
Next you build the roof which is then simply placed on top of the supports. There are sockets for the two tiled 2x2 bricks which you can see in the picture above to go into on the underside of the roof. Below you can see the first completed structure. It looks pretty good, except for some of the yellow and red pieces which clash with the more realistic colors of the supports and roof. For instance, why TLG decided that the nozzles should be red and yellow instead of gray or black is beyond me. I guess they wanted to make it look more fun, but it just ends up looking ridiculous. One thing that's inaccurate, but is a good addition to the set in my opinion, are those bumps on the 2x12 plate connecting the supports. It adds stability to the whole structure and allows cars to park steadily underneath the roof.
The nozzles of the fuel dispensers are placed on top of a long arm which can be tilted down in order to "fuel" up the cars, just like in the movie. However, there is no hose or string connecting the nozzles to the pump like in other Lego gas stations which is not very realistic. Would it have killed the to include some string?
Here you can see McQueen filling up his tank. He looks very happy, but why?
A closer look at the fuel dispensers gives us the answer. According to the sticker, the gasoline at Flo's V8 Cafe costs only 97 cents per gallon! I'd be smiling like McQueen too if I was getting gas for such a low price!
This must be some kind of cruel joke by the Lego designers, because the gas pumps in the movie didn't display this price. In fact, the fuel dispensers in the movie looked a little different overall from TLG's. Thanks for the tease, Lego!
Then you build the car wash. For the most part it's constructed the same way as the gas pumps structure, except without the fuel dispensers and instead with these brush arms, making for a somewhat repetitive build. Flo's cafe doesn't actually have any car wash in the movie, but at least it provides a different play feature and makes the build a tad less repetitive. Plus, the next time Sarge tells Fillmore to "take a car wash, hippie," he can do so right there.
Low cars like McQueen, Sally, and Flo can simply drive through it, but the other cars will need a little help getting those brushes over their heads. I think they could have included a slightly more sophisticated mechanism for raising the brushes, but I suppose it gets the job done. Also, the blue color seems a bit out of place. Would be nice to get those brushes in a different color for once, but oh well.
The parts from the fourth bag are used to build the main building of the cafe. The card board package includes a white rubber band.
The build of this part is a little more interesting as it uses some Technic and other smaller parts, and the interior is asymmetric.
Most of the stickers are used on this structure and are a bit tedious to apply. The most challenging part, however, is the construction of the SNOT "V8" sign. I really like how they used the lifesavers for the 8. Here is the finished building.
The back of the cafe is very flat, bare, colorful, and industrious looking. In other words, it's not very appealing and strengthens the feeling of the building just being a facade rather than an actual building. I really think they could have done a better job on this if they wanted to.
The interior features a Texas Tea fuel dispenser with three different varieties, a small table with a mug, and a fake jukebox. Would it have been too much to ask to get a brick-built jukebox? That would have been neat. And I realize that it would have been difficult to tile the entire floor due to the rounded corners, but having only two rows of tiles makes it look unfinished in my opinion.
To the right of the building, there is a stack of blue cylinders which, I suppose, are meant to be oil cans. The other side is empty. How boring.
When you look at it from the top you will see a pretty big hole in the roof. Looks like Flo will be getting an involuntary car wash when it rains.
The key feature of the main building is the car launcher. There is a curved Technic piece in the back of the cafe which is pushed forward when you hit the dome on the roof. It's a very simple, yet effective technique.
The launcher works pretty well on most of the cars, except for Flo whose backside is a bit too flat for the launcher to hit, so she ends up just performing a little jump. The distance the cars travel after being launched depends on their weight and on how hard the button is being hit, but usually it's around 2-3 feet (1/2-1 meter) which is pretty good in my opinion. The one who travels the farthest is Sally as she is the lightest. And she's a Porsche after all. Here's a demonstration of Lightning shooting out of the cafe:
The Completed Cafe
This is what the completed cafe looks like. Looks pretty good on its own. It certainly has that nice feel of a '50s rock'n'roll cafe/gas station.
However, compared to this reference picture, it's not very accurate. Aside from the fact that there is no car wash in the reference, only half of the forecourt is included in the set and the main building is way underscaled. It's also missing the window panes which wouldn't have been too hard to include.
Here is a car's point-of-view of it. Again, those yellow pieces under the roofs kinda ruin the aesthetics, but fortunately they are usually not visible.
And here it is with all the cars. Looks like a nice Cars display.
There are a couple of left over parts, but nothing exciting. Just a bunch of studs, two 1x1 tiles, a droid arm, and some Technic bits.
Design: 4/5 - The set looks good for the most part and is pretty close to the cafe in the movie, but the cafe's main building seems like a lazy effort and only seems to serve the purpose of a car launcher. The fact that they included only half the forecourt is disappointing as well.
Build: 3/5 - The build, as mentioned before, is fairly easy, but at least there's some interesting SNOT.
Playability: 4/5 - Well, you can pretend to fuel the cars, shoot them out of the cafe, and give them a semi-car wash, and with all the characters included you can act out lots of situations. Kids will probably be happy just to zoom the cars around though.
Parts: 4.5/5 - You get lots of new parts, some of them in rare colors, and a lot of them have very detailed prints, making this a great parts pack. It's just too bad that TLG couldn't go the extra step to print the parts of the cafe as well.
Price: 3/5 - 517 parts for $60 isn't bad, but not great either, just sort of average.
Overall: 4/5 - While the design could have been more accurate and several of Radiator Springs' residents are missing, it's still a pretty good representation of Flo's V8 Cafe with a couple of play features. If you want a more accurate version of the cafe, you can probably make one by buying two of these and combining them.
But as with most of the Cars sets, the real reason to buy this set is for the characters. You get a lot of the main characters from the first movie in one set, and all of them are very accurately printed. Therefore, this is one of my favorites of the Cars sets and I can recommend it to anyone. If you're not a fan of the movies, you can just get it as a parts pack or use it as a retro gas station in your Lego city. It might even be possible to convert some of the cars into normal vehicles that can fit a minifig. And come on, it includes a HIPPIE VAN!
You can find larger versions of all the pictures in this brickshelf folder. I hope you enjoyed this review, and remember: Life is a journey; enjoy the trip.
Edited by Oky Wan Kenobi, 02 July 2011 - 01:00 AM.