LEGO Historian

The simplest and yet most complex LEGO set of all...

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Of all the LEGO building model sets.. few sets have such a complex history as the 236 Garage set.

It was introduced under the (Scandinavian) number 1236 in Denmark, Norway and Sweden in 1955 with the introduction of the Town Plan series of sets and part. It was a loose rectangular box set that sometimes came with red garage plates (rare), but mostly with white garage plates.

From 1956-57 when Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Portugal came online to LEGO they too had a rectangular box set... but with different design on the box.

The rectangular box version came in 5 different box varieties from 1955-70.

The top box is of the 1955-57 variety of Denmark, Norway and Sweden (in the local language).

The 2nd box is of 1956-57 variety for Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria.

The 3rd box is of the 1958-59 (International) LEGO System version sold in several countries.

The 4th box is of the 1960-65 (International) LEGO System version sold in several countries.

The 5th box is of the 1966-70 (International) LEGO System version sold in all countries (except USA/Can).


Then in 1958 TLG came out with a new version (for only some countries) of the box... known as the flat box version of 236. This had all the parts held in place with part inlays, and also contained a 1:87 scale VW Bus. The rectangular boxed versions never contained the VW.

This flat box version came in 3 different box tops... 1958-59, 1959-60 and 1960-65.


****NOTE: The printed "LEGO" brick was NEVER found in any set... it just represents the brick that would be found in the local country... which would be "GARASJE" for Norway, and "GARAGE" for other countries (and possibly :"HUOLTO" for Finland).

As complex as all of these varieties of boxes are... it gets even more complex... the question of which box variety was sold in which country?

From 1955-57 the rectangular box varieties were sold in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Netherlands Belgium, Switzlerland and Portugal.

From 1958-65 the rectangular box varieties were sold in Sweden, Germany, Austrian, Netherlands, and Switzerland.

From 1958-65 the flat box variety was sold in Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Italy, France, Portugal, Finland, UK, Ireland and Australia. Neither variety was ever sold in USA/Canada.

From 1966-70 the last of the rectangular box versions was sold in all of Europe/Australia.

Now when it comes to value... the early Danish/Norwegian/Swedish rectangular box varieties command premium prices, due to the local languages on the box, and also due to using slotted bricks and (occasionally) red base plates).

But the really valuable sets are the flat box sets that came with a 1:87 VW Bus. A 1960 Belgian flat box version of 236 could be worth 10 times the value of a 1960 German rectangular box version of 236. This is due to the fact that most early model sets came in flat box versions with the parts held in place in the box via partitions... and all of these sets are very highly sought after.

Here is an early 236 flat box inside showing the parts (and 1:87 VW) held in place with inlays.... what makes this set so highly desirable and valued...


So the 236 garage sets is a very complex and varied set that betrays the fact that early LEGO catalogs appear to be very simple... since their catalogs are only the front and back of one sheet of paper.... "LEGO Mayhem" at its' most complex....

If it weren't for the complex nature of early LEGO sets and parts, my LEGO collectors guide on DVD/download... would only be 1/4 of its' 2,800 pages in size.... (still available in the Eurobricks LEGO Bazaar as an instant download).

Edited by LEGO Historian

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For those people who throw away LEGO boxes... here's a lesson..... :wink:

If the different box types for this set was not complicated enough... it gets more so.....

This is the later version of the first flat box top (with instructions on the inside box top) worth probably 200-300 Euros without any LEGO parts included!


TLG likes to drive collectors of old LEGO crazy.... so the earliest of these garage (flat box sets) had the instructions crudely on the bottom of the box (below)...


Then circa late 1958 TLG decided to put the instructions on the inside box top (first image above with inserts). And then then circa 1959 TLG decided to change the box and put color instructions on the inside of the box....


Then in 1960 TLG decided to change the box design again... but put the instructions back on the bottom of the box....


Then there's the rectangular box versions of this set... at first TLG decided to add separate instructions, such as these from 1955-56...


Then later TLG decided to just put the instructions on the box......

ARRGGGH.... so if you need instructions for a 236 set.... you're going to have to be VERY SPECIFIC about what you are looking for!! :sick:

LEGO MAYHEM.... it's the whole reason I wrote my collectors guide... TLG is messing with our brains!!!! :wacko:

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Thanks for a really interesting thread.

In an age where cross-border communication is taken for granted, the effort behind produce 'localisation' is often taken for granted. This is a great insight into the history of this issue.

It really helps to put modern software (i'm an IT guy) localisation in perspective.

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Meh. Set looks boring as heck.

That's because you're looking at it as a standalone set. It was part of the 1955-67 Town Plan series of sets and set boards.

The Town Plan was based on the 1:87 HO scale, which was the standard for LEGO building until the mid 1970s. There were few sets that had more hours of "playability" than the Town Plan...


I once built what I call a Super Town Plan... with more of a downtown feel.....



Edited by LEGO Historian

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You know I have some of those garages at my mother's house in the attic, I remember them as a kid. I am also pretty sure seeing several of those di-cast vehicles that I had some of them as well. I expect they are also in the attic, I had a lot of vehicles like that when I was young. My father still collected cars and stuff up to his death a few years back so they would not have been got rid of. I really must get up there one day and have a good root about.

I also recall having a fold out cardboard town plan, but I don't think it was as big as the one you have shown. I am pretty sure it had a white bungalow with red roof made up of 33 degree roof tiles and a yellow fire station with a red plate roof and a brick saying firestation. There were probably a couple of other buildings but I cannot remember them?

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Time to go attic searching......

Those 1:87 vehicles are some of the most valuable of early LEGO parts... especially when they are in great condition or of a rare variety. These are 2 large multi-pack vehicle sets (very rare) from 1965-67 (from my LEGO chapter on 1:87 Die Cast Vehicles). Each of these rare boxes is worth over 1000 Euros... but some individual vehicles can be worth up to 3000 Euros each, such as a black Fiat 1800 (only 6 known), or a red "Poultry-Fish-Meat" truck at 1000 Euros (only about 12 known).



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I've still got my original white garage plate (I belive I had the Service Station). I also still have a bicycle, two mopeds (or is it a Vespa?) and a motorcycle like what can be seen in the photos above. I know I had some of the cars, but not from such a large pack, but the ones you could buy one-off in a little clear plastic box with gray bottom.I still have some of the boxes and bottoms, but none of my cars survived childhood (end of the fifties, beginning of the sixties).

Nice to see you still working on this Encyclopedia, Gary!

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Those vehicles look to be in mint condition. I know people who would give an arm for them.

Edited by Front

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I knew that the old garage exists in many versions. But I did not know that it exists in so many versions.

I do actually own a 1236 Garage with box and instruction from 1955:


I collect old LEGO sets, cars and bricks from the 1950s and 1960s.

I have 3 town plans:




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Odonaman!..... here's one the'd give an "arm and a leg" for ..... :sweet:

This #605 Fiat (1964-65).... in black there are only about 6 known... this one sold for 3235 Euros 2 years ago on Ebay....


And then there is the #657 Mercedes truck... in all 17 known variations... most of these can be had for 100-200 Euros in decent condition. The red Beef-Poultry-Fish truck is the rarest of the group with only about a dozen known... and recently sold for 1000 Euros...


There are dozens of even rarer trucks that TLG produced as prototypes. And recently the sold some of these "extras" to the public at auction for up to 10000 Euros. I have captured images of ALL the rare trucks for my LEGO DVD/download chapters on 1:87 Cars/Trucks, the chapter on LEGO promotional items, and the chapter on LEGO prototypes. Those 3 chapters have about 50,000 Euros worth of rare LEGO parts pictured.

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This does look nice. They could still release them under a different trademark or something. It's fun to see a completely different shape of Lego's logo and how the company's product evolved itself.

I could really see kids playing with sets like these:


Thanx for creating this thread LEGO Historian! :thumbup::sweet:

Edited by Mazin

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WOW!! Lasse... the 1950s continental, the 1960s continental and 1960s British Town Plan boards! Very nice!!!

Love all the 1:87 vehicles... the 271 Traffic Police items (only sold in Denmark, Norway and Netherlands), the 1950s trees/bushes, the British Esso Pumps/Sign, street lights... the 306/307/310/318/324/326 sets, as well as the regular Town Plan items. I can tell that your Esso Station is a 310 version... since it has the painted edge to the roof plates (the 810 Town Plan version does not). Also see the 1960s trees/bushes and white base road signs in the UK version of the board. All very very nice!!

I'm not sure if you have my LEGO DVD/download... but here's a few reasons why you should! :wink:

Very very rare Swedish and Norwegian items, along with some UK items....


Norwegian, Swedish, British, and continental European Esso pumps....


.... Danish, International, Norwegian and 2 versions of Swedish Esso Tankers...


3 cross type and one curve top (UK) Esso sign.... as well as 4 versions of the Denmark only Esso Oil barrels...


Several variations of the Shell (1966-70) gas pumps...


1955-56 Norwegian road signs with rare red bases....


Rare variations of the 271/1271 Policemen Accessories crossing light and traffic island....


1966-69 wavy continental wavy flags... including the very rare Faroe Island flag (cross w/ white background) and rare Japanese flag...


Very rare 1955-56 Swedish road signs with light and dark brown bases...


more very rare 1955-56 Swedish road signs with light and dark brown bases....


This is just a small sample of the over 6000 images of rare LEGO items that I have in my DVD/download... also I got many many images from the TLG Archives. I mention on LUGNET about a special right now....

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Great thread! :classic: It's always nice to learn more about just how LEGO came to be. I'm pretty sure my Grandma had a town plan in her house, but since I've gone back I have not seen it.

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Something in my mind is telling me that as a kid in the late 1960's early 70's you used to get those lorries and other vehicles as a promotion with packets of Lipton Tea, but I can not be sure? I know I have some and know the location of the box in mother's attic, it is just being able to get to it. One day I will. I am reasonably sure I have a couple of those yellow fuel pumps in my bits and bobs box in the conservatory. I'll have a look later.

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