Retro Review: 6627 Convertible. Enter the Headlight Brick

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the Erling Brick, also known as the headlight, or washing machine, brick. This was one of the earliest SNOT elements – a brick with a stud not only on top, but also on the side, inset by the thickness of half a plate. Today, I would like to look at one of the first sets to feature this element: the 6627 Convertible.

This set was released in 1980, and celebrates its 40th anniversary since release this year. The set has 37 pieces, and one minifigure. This set is from the third year of LEGOLAND Town sets, and features a few elements that made their debut this year. I purchased mine via eBay this year, with Instructions, but no box, for £13GBP. Perhaps slightly pricier than I would have liked, but it arrived well presented, and in great condition, including the instructions.

We have previously discussed that, this year, we are commemorating the 40th anniversary of the headlamp brick. This one one of the first sets to contain this novel element, and it came with 4, each of them black. It is also the first example of the minifigure seat 2×2, design ID 4079. Here it is seen in yellow. There are no other design ID’s making their debut in this set, but it is the first time that we see the ’10 gallon drum’ hat in light grey.

Construction is pretty quick, coming together over the course of 7 instruction steps. This set uses the 10×4 vehicle base plate, which was in common use for the four stud wide cars in production at the time. It is now obsolete, as is the ‘red stud’ wheels in use here. Otherwise, most elements are still available in some form. Bear in mind that light grey was discontinued in 2004.

The car has a couple of neat features, including opening and closing doors, and an opening bonnet over the engine compartment. These both add to the degree of play possible with the vehicle.

But I picked this vehicle to review because it represents one of the first appearances of the headlamp brick: here it is used for the eponymous headlights, in conjunction with some transparent yellow 1×1 plates, and tail lights – using transparent red 1×1 plates.

As you can see, it is a pretty quick and simple build, but our minifigure provides plenty of human interest for this story: opening the bonnet, and making repairs, opening the doors, rebuilding his vehicle as an off-roader, and generally messing around.

These single car/minifigure sets were commonly seen in the early days of LEGO Town. While there are no key elements to tie them into a definite story, adding any other small set instantly gave you story telling potential.

The headlamp bricks add so much to the set. Not only do they become an essential component in the development of SNOT techniques, they revolutionise the way that the front of a vehicle is approached in future sets.

Prior to this time, the front grille would typically be represented by a printed 1×4 brick, such as seen below, but the headlamp bricks, in combination with the transparent plates, become the dominant way to depict headlights over the following years. In fact, the square plate in the headlamp brick was used until 1986, when the transparent yellow round 1×1 plate started to enter the role.

6676: Mobile Command Unit. One of the first examples we see of round headlamps incorporated in LEGO Town sets.

The instructions provide a couple of ideas for alternative builds, which are easy enough to reverse engineer.

Overall I really like this set: the minifigure, with his cowboy hat is a stand out: the mould had not been used in generally available sets previously (only in two promotional sets). and this was the first time in grey, which gave me a feeling that he was just a casual traveller.

As I looked at this set, I found myself trying to establish the story behind it. Was he just passing through town? Coming to stay, as a mysterious stranger, with his advanced car, and crazy headwear?

The small, offroad vehicle made me wonder if he was an adventurer

Certainly, he looked like a force to be reckoned with, with his problem solving skills.

In the early days of LEGO town, and mini figures, there was a fairly rapid rate of introduction of parts which would subsequently enter the ongoing library for builders of the future, with little modification or improvement.

This set introduced us to the headlamp brick, as well as the minifigure seat. By opening up the opportunities provided by SNOT techniques, the legacy of the headlamp brick continues to this day. This set delivers all that you could ask of a set at this place in the range: a vehicle with several play features, a relatively rare minifigure accessory, and a number of interesting rebuilding possibilities. I find myself wanting to just run it around my desk instead of typing this right now! I give the set four out of five (4/5) arbitrary praise units.

As you may have gathered, I am rather taken by the headlamp brick. At the time, it was revolutionary. We have seen a multitude of elements used of these techniques now, in both intended and unintended ways. We shall talk about a few more of these parts over the coming months.

What do you think of this little convertible? was it part of your childhood? Have you adapted it to the 6-wide city that we seem to live in now? Why not comment below, and until next time,

Play Well.

3 thoughts on “Retro Review: 6627 Convertible. Enter the Headlight Brick

  1. Great review!
    Yes, it was part of my childhood. I guess I got it around 1981, when my mother went to a booooring curtain shop in a nearby town. With this, sitting in the car waiting, I was a content 5 year old 🙂

  2. The hat did get used before then in white and black in a couple of conventional sets before then – 697 Stagecoach, 617 cowboys, 699 safari and 664 TV crew. I missed out on 664 altogether, picked up 697 in the 1990s in a shop where it had lain for 20 years, and and got the other two in the 1970s.

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