Is the LEGO Creator Expert 10265 Ford Mustang the best LEGO car yet? [Review]

There are few cars more iconic than the Ford Mustang, which surpassed 10 million sold last year. So it’s fitting that the LEGO Creator Expert theme’s next automobile replica represents this piece of muscle car history. After taking us back 50 years to the world of spies and intrigue with the James Bond Aston Martin DB5 last August, LEGO is remaining in the 1960s with a striking blue-and-white version of the original pony car. Although LEGO coyly dodges addressing the specific year of the car (consistently referring to it as simply a 1960s model) the license plate and styling indicate that it’s primarily based on the GT Fastback from the 1967 model year. Available beginning March 1, 10265 Ford Mustang has 1,471 pieces and retails for $149.99 USD | $199.99 CAD | £119.99 GBP. 

The box & contents
Tying with the Aston Martin DB5 for most-expensive Creator Expert vehicle, the Ford Mustang is a big set in a big box. Although the part count is more than 200 higher than the DB5, when laying out the eleven bags (spread across only six numbered steps) the set’s parts don’t initially seem to live up to the price tag. However, once I began building, the very slowly dwindling pile of parts made me reconsider. And by the time I’d finished the model hours later, I felt the price was entirely justified.

The instructions and stickers are packed together in a protective bag, following the laudable trend of large sets in recent years. The instructions open with eight pages of information about both the set and the real automobile. The brief history of the car is a bit scattered, including such details as how the logo was developed and that 19 shades of blue were offered between 1967 and 1973, but it’s all neat information that Mustang enthusiasts and casual readers alike will enjoy. The LEGO-focused spread introduces fan-turned-designer Mike Psiaki as the primary design lead for the model. Mike’s been busy with the Creator Expert line, having also designed 10262 Aston Martin DB5 and 10252 Volkswagen Beetle , along with 10260 Downtown Diner and 10257 Carousel .

The small sticker sheet primarily includes alternate license plates, although there are a handful of decorative touches as well, such as the air filter, rear-view mirror, and tail emblem. Many of the Creator Expert cars include alternate license plates for a variety of countries, and that’s continued here with registration tags for Michigan and California USA, Denmark, New South Wales Australia, and Germany. The Michigan plates’ meaning is obvious, and it’s a safe bet that the California plates are a rendering of Mike’s last name. Meanwhile, the instructions note that the German plate numbers once belonged to fellow-designer Adam Grabowski, who helped prototype the Mustang. But I’ll have to solicit guesses on the Danish and Australian plate meanings.

Despite the fact that the set includes 18 stickers, they’re actually outnumbered by the unique printed elements in the set, of which there are a whopping 28. Nearly all are used for the Mustang’s blue-and-white stripes. I’ve also included in the picture the 1×1 round tiles printed with the galloping Mustang emblem, although that part has previously appeared in the Speed Champions Mustang  (only one is used in this set — the other is extra).
Two new element molds also appear in the set. The first are the hubs, which are a new design for the 30.4mm D. x 20mm wheel , showing the iconic five-spoke hubs. They look great, and it’s hard to imagine any solution short of this new mold doing justice to the classic design. The other new element is a curved slope 8×2. This part adds to the existing family of slopes that includes the 10×1 , the wedge 10×3 , and the  wedge 12×3 . You’ll get four in dark blue, two in white, plus an additional white one with a dark blue stripe.

The build
As with many sets in recent years, the frame starts off with Technic box beams strung together. The build quickly moves to cover this with a layer of plates that form the floor. Already, though, readers who have built any of the previous Creator Expert vehicles will notice one major difference near the front: there’s a steering mechanism. And it’s an odd one, too, relying on a large 40-tooth gear embedded deep in the engine bay to translate the gear ratio from the steering column to the tie rods.

Amazingly, this huge gear is entirely invisible in the engine bay on the finished model.

You may also notice something interesting going on with gears at the back of the car. A worm gear is connected to a small 8-tooth gear on the rear axle, which combined with rotating lift arms, will allow the car’s rear suspension to be raised or lowered significantly.
Next comes the interior, starting with a pair of plush seats. They’re of a simple design, but my only complaint is that they don’t fold at the waist to allow access to the rear seats. The rear seats themselves are of a similar style, but built into the body.
The doors come next, and they employ a nifty double-hinging mechanic that has the hinge plates rotating on their single-stud connections in addition to using their hinges. The added friction of the stud connection gives the door hinges a firm, stiff action that’s quite smooth once everything’s built into the car.
At this point the big block V8 engine is constructed. Sadly, unlike the Aston Martin, the engine isn’t removable, being completely built into the frame. Nevertheless, it still employs some clever details such as a set of black reigns as wiring to the distributor. It’s more than a few wires short of being an accurate detail, but it makes the engine look great nevertheless. There are also taut rubber bands for the belts, presumably in white because LEGO doesn’t make that size in black anymore. White belts are less an issue on a LEGO car than a real one, however.

Moving to the car’s back, now, large flags line the interior of the wheel wells. It’s a brilliant solution to placing a wall where a standard LEGO brick would be too wide.
The fastback’s large rear window is the same 2x12x4 windscreen element that’s used for the windshield, just turned on its back. With the addition of a slew of finishing slopes, the car is looking just about complete.

As the build progressed, I noticed that these two white columns beneath the front bumper looked more and more out of place. Even I know that most Mustangs don’t have those. In fact, they are supports for constructing the front fascia, and the instructions call for them to be removed right before putting the tires on. They are then handily recycled into the Nitrous Oxide tank (that’s right, this car conceals some dark secrets).

The completed model
The Mustang is an icon of automotive design, with clean lines in all the right places and a simple elegance the defined the 60s muscle car aesthetic. The LEGO model has done it justice, capturing the nuances as closely as is possible within the scope of plastic bricks at roughly 1/13 scale. No matter the angle from you view this car, you’ll instantly recognize it as Detroit’s first pony car.

The double white stripes splaying lengthwise down the car are accomplished with three white bricks, with the middle having a dark blue stripe printed on, delineating the stripes from one another. It’s a simple way to do the narrow center stripe on a vehicle that’s an even width of studs, although in some places the alignment of the printing could use some refinement (note the jagged line on the hood).
The fine striping on the sides is accomplished entirely with printing. Though it doesn’t show up well in the photos, it’s clear in person that not all of the white printing is the same opacity — a disappointing lapse in quality that thankfully doesn’t distract too much when viewed from a distance.
The car has plenty of features, with all the right compartments opening to see the details.
Up front, that V8 looks great with the reinforcing frame straddling it. I particularly like the detail of the battery, which uses red and black Technic 2-length axles for the terminals. There’s also a light aqua 1×2 brick for wiper fluid. A handful of stickers give a bit of extra detail to the fan shroud, air filter, and cylinder head covers. In back, the trunk opens to reveal a capacious space that feels unfinished. The suspension mechanism is exposed to the trunk floor, so any small parts stored in the trunk have a chance of gumming up the works. It’s an unfortunate design oversight, especially since it seems easily fixed using only a handful of pieces.

In addition to the opening doors, the roof pops off to aid with interior access. When attached, it connects to four studs at the back, so it’s not likely to fall off accidentally.

The interior is appropriately sparse for a car from an era when neither a radio nor air condition were a given. The dashboard features the two large dials — a speedometer and a tachometer on the real car — but lacks the smaller displays in the instrument cluster. Down the center is a radio courtesy of a sticker and the distinctive T shifter. Up above is the rearview mirror, which shows the outline of a trailing vehicle that looks suspiciously like a Chevelle.

Had enough of the mild-mannered road car, though? It’s time to upgrade and customize, because there’s plenty of extra bits and bobs included. Besides the adjustable suspension, you’ll get a front splitter, shorty exhaust headers, a supercharger, a nitrous oxide tank, a rear spoiler, and enough license plates to let you commit crimes in at least five districts.
We’ll start by adding the supercharger. The hood’s small, stock air scoop is removable, as is the air filter below it. Add the supercharger on top of it and you’re good for at least a gazillion more horses. Impressively, the hood can still be lifted even with the supercharger attached. The supercharger itself is a nifty bit of LEGO engineering, employing some clever SNOT to invert the fender element for the bottom of the intake.
Next, add the front splitter and rear spoiler, which each just clip on, and hook up the nitrous oxide tank in the trunk. Then turn the small dial beneath the trunk to lift the suspension.

The dial provides a hefty lift, raising the rear of the car about a half inch in real terms, which equates to about 6 inches at scale.
Finally, pop off the tailpipes, attach the exhaust headers, and swap the plates, and it’s time to get street racing. The only thing that would have made this better would have the inclusion of some racing slicks for the rear wheels. Personally, I’m a fan of the classic look, but there’s no denying that the souped-up, supercharged Mustang is a sweet look.

Conclusion & recommendation
I won’t beat around the bush: I think this is the best Creator Expert vehicle yet. Unlike the Aston Martin which struggled to transmit its subtle curves into the brick (though an admirable attempt was made), the muscle car’s lines translate very well into the palette of bricks and slopes.
It’s a shame that the entire series isn’t quite in the same scale (the VW van, in particular, is considerably smaller), but they still look fantastic together on the shelf. And as much as I’d have loved to see a dark green Bullett Mustang, when it’s sitting among its companions it’s obvious why LEGO chose the gorgeous dark blue.
At $149.99 USD for 1,471 pieces, the price point is right on the mark without any of the oft-noticed “license tax” that can accompany sets in this price range. And