All of a sudden, 5 months ahead in calendar, we got surprised to see the next LEGO Technic March release (42000, Grand Prix Racer), on auction at ebay...
The evidences are so many that there is no doubt of its authenticity.
Full set of photos:
Apart from a few differences, this is pretty much coincident to the early image from a box, we came to see already some weeks ago. This comes without surprise as the images from the dealers catalog are often taken from early models which may not match exactly with the final model (and that's just one of the reasons why TLG gets so upset with the early leaks). I noticed the following differences: No stickers on the box image; Several white panels were replaced with red ones and vice versa, namely the new tiny panels and the side panels behind the front suspension and lateral air intakes.
The images that now came public reveal a lot about the model's functions, new parts and its presumable origin.
As for the functions we clearly see:
- 4 wheel double wishbone, pushrod suspension
- Front wheel steering via HoG, in front of the cockpit
- Two functions manual gearbox that controls (control via side gear on the back)
- Body or engine cover lift
- Rear spoiler tilt
- V8 fake engine
As for the new parts, so far we can clearly see:
- New housings for the steering portal axle hub
- Kind of C-hub housing in the front wheels
- Plain housing for the rear wheels
- New 2x5 micro panels
- There is a suspicion about a new +OOO+ beam in the front suspension, for which I've some doubts though.
As for old parts being released with new colors, we have at least some panels
Old parts re-released
- The now rare 81.6 x 36 R tire, which was only released with 8146 Nitro Muscle (2 of them only, in each set as they were used in the rear wheels only).
Although they were not much different from the 81.6 x 36 ZR tires, released with 8880 Super Car and a couple of other old sets.
As for the origin of this model and knowing this is a shipping lost item as mentioned at EB, I believe this might be a 'selling in' item which regional LEGO offices order to have at their show rooms and present in advance to their larger costumer accounts. Several details point in this direction... From left to right: 1) the small label in the bottom with the model reference hand written; 2) asymmetrically mounted parts, which is likely a mistake; 2, 3) parts not properly tighten which is likely not only a shipping consequence; 4) missing elements leading to parts not properly fixed; 2, 3, 4) these demo models are often build in rush by less experienced workforce which leads to build mistakes and parts not properly tighten.
Now looking into some details,
Together with the portal axle hub, the C-hub housing on the leftmost image serves the same function as the previous steering gear with 4 ball joints (32495c01). From the geometrical pov, the steering ball joints seem to be in the same place (almost inside the wheel which is good), but there is a substantial change for the knuckle with the ball swivel now replaced with a spindle (upper and lower Technic pins). This pushes the double A-arms joint from the knuckle, 2L towards the inner side of the suspension.
Here the image that suggests a new +OOO+ 5L beam.
While I still see no other solution to make this setup work, I'm still in doubt about this presumably new part.
Here we can see the new 2x5 micro panels, now released in red color.
The evidence that the now rare 81.6 x 36 R LEGO tires, are returning back. 4 of of them in each set, matching the 44772 wheel.
Here the 12t double bevel HoG steering knob, just in front of the cockpit, as illustrated on the former leaked image.
This image shows a 3L beam not properly attached to his counterparts because of some missing elements , but also what I think to be the mechanism that switches among the rear functions (body lift and rear spoiler tilt) - The 3x5 L-shape yellow liftarm.
The 12t double bevel gear should the knob that actuates both functions.
Now be patient!
You only have a 5 month wait ahead...