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New Sets for 1999
New Parts for 1999

1999 - Super Street Sensation

1999

With 25 total sets released, 1999 is tied with 2000 for the most sets ever.  You'll notice that there are nowhere near that many models in the image above.  The omission is intentional.  At this point, Technic began expanding so far beyond its traditional market than many of the models are arguably not part of the Technic line.  This distinction is subjective.   Pictured are the 4 Micro sets, the 2 Competition sets, the 6 Tech Play sets, and the 4 Tech Build sets.  Not pictured (but included on the list below) are the 9 new Slizer sets.

Slizer was a brand new idea to use Technic parts (and a lot of totally new types of parts) to create anthropomorphic figures with minimal functionality to appeal to younger males.  These had little in common with the existing Technic brand, but would later expand into the wildly popular Bionicle.  I've chosen to include the models badged as Technic on this web site up until the time that Bionicle came into existence in 2001.   Past that, it became a whole other system.

Three of the Tech Play sets this year used a unique new part as a modular connector to allow portions of the models to be combined in many different ways.  While intriguing in concept, it didn't really work because none of the alternate connection possibilities made any sense (they didn't learn from 8244).  This part was never used again.

The focus on model appearance was pushed even farther this year.  Previous years saw the use of flex tubing and ribbed hoses as decorative elements.  This year went much farther and added curved panels and flexible axles.  Nowhere was this more evident that in the 8448 Super Street Sensation.  This 5th evolution of the Supercar line attempted to improve on the older 8880 in every way.  Whether or not it succeeded is a subject of much debate, but there is no doubt that this car ushered in a new era of Technic automotive design.

Once again, the number of new parts was very large, and those listed do not even include the new Slizer parts.  Some of the new parts (like panels and flex axles) set a new standard and were used for decades.  Other new parts (like the modular connector and many of the unique 8448 parts) never appeared again.

Sets

1257/3000 Tricycle
1257

1258/3001 Buggy
1258

1259/1268/3003 Motorbike
1259

1260/3005 Car
1260

8246 Hydro Racer
8246

8247 Road Rebel
8247

8251 Sonic Cycle
8251

8252 Beach Buster
8252

8253 Fire Helicopter
8253

8255 Rescue Bike
8255
8268 Scorpion Attack
8268

8269 Cyber Stinger
8269

8444 Air Enforcer
8444

8445 Indy Storm
8445

8446 Crane Truck
8446

8448 Super Street Sensation
8448

8500 Torch
8500

8501 Ski
8501

8502 Turbo
8502

8503 Scuba
8503

8504 Jet
8504

8505 Amazon
8505

8506 Granite
8506

8507 Electro
8507

8520 Millennium Slizer
8520

 

Parts

Modular Connector
The part shown in transparent yellow is a modular connector used to securely attach disparate parts of a model together and allow them to be connected in various ways.  It didn't work very well and was never used again.

Rotors
A 5L straight rotor and a 3 bladed rotor were introduced.  They each had a central axle hole to drive rotation and studs on the blades.

Gears
To augment the existing bevel gears, a new set of double bevel gears was introduced.  The full thickness gears have 12 and 20 teeth and can be used at a 90 degree angle from either side or can be used as spur gears.  To round out the set, a half thickness traditional 20 tooth bevel gear was also introduced.

Damper
The part that looks like a transparent shock absorber is a damper.  Some early promotional material inaccurately called it hydraulics.  This spring loaded cartridge can be compressed and will then extend at a controlled rate.  There were initial quality problems that lead to high breakage rates, but a redesign solved the problem and many existing parts were replaced (it was my first interaction with LEGO Customer Service).  This part is quite rare, but did remain in intermittent use for a decade.

Suspension Arm
A new suspension arm was introduced just for 8448 and never appeared in any other set.  The primary advantage is the small size which allowed it to be contained inside the wheel for an accurate turning center.

Miscellaneous
A new 5.5L axle was introduced with an integral stop.  This part saw heavy use as a wheel support axle because the stop prevents it from falling out of a hole.  A 2x4 L-shaped liftarm was introduced.  A double pin with cross axle hole provided for very secure connections, as did a cross block with two axles holes and a perpendicular pin hole (both shown in black).  With the toothed elements gone, a new smooth toggle joint was needed.  When used in pairs, these can be used to connect axles as angles not possible with the 22.5 degree increments of angle connectors, but also not locked.  Finally, an extension was introduced for the driving ring transmission system.  This is discussed further with 8448.

Decorative Parts
Some new parts which were introduced which were purely decorative in nature and had little to no structural or functional utility.

A series of flexible axles was introduced in fixed lengths (11L, 12L, 14L, 16L, and 19L).  These are made of a very soft malleable material and have the same cross section as regular axles.  The designers included multiple features to prevent builders from using them to transmit torque (which would destroy the parts).  Firstly, the ends are round.  This allows them to be inserted into pin or axle holes but remain free to spin.  Even more importantly, the ends of the cross are blocked.  Besides providing an aesthetic accent, the real purpose of these features is to prevent a gear from being attached.

There were a new set of curved panels, released in matched sets of mirrored pairs.  All of these parts had large circular openings which were intended to accept the ribbed hose.  Pin holes at the ends allowed locking to structure.  Like the angle connectors, the panels had molded in numbers to assist in identification.  The numbers released this year were #1-4.

Wheels and Tires

A new wheel and tire set were released for, and are unique to, 8448.  The painted metallic silver wheels have a directional pattern which rotates the wrong direction on one side of the car.  The tires have a unique tread pattern.

A new set of medium (56x30) balloon tires were also introduced.  The wheel was available in metallic silver this year but then reverted to more traditional colors.
1999

1999

1999

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