The Idea Book
The 2nd Auto chassis, an auto engines set and the 1st Idea Book were the only items for 1980. The 8858 Auto engines set, released only in the US, could replace the engine in the 853 Auto Chassis (or presumably in the 8858, which wasn't released in the US until the next year). This was also the year that Lego switched over from 3 to 4 digit set numbers, all new Technical or Expert Builder sets were given 8800 numbers.
Several new elements were introduced in 1980. Most important was the shock absorber and crown gear differential, the first of the specialized auto elements. 8860
The second of the major Auto Chassis and the last of the first generation sets, using a high percentage of regular Lego bricks but also utilizing the new shock absorbers and differential gear, the model featured rack and pinion front wheel steering. A three speed manual transmission, rear wheel independent suspension and a 4-cylinder boxer engine. Probably the last of the first generation models, the 8860 still relied heavily on standard bricks and beams, it even used Homemaker faucets as part of the manifold.
8888 Idea Book: However limited the early selection of specialized elements and however much
reliance there was on standard Lego elements, quite complex models were possible. Nowhere was this more evident than the models and ideas presented in the original Idea book, which, even 20+ years later, are quite impressive. In many ways this may be the most inventive of all the Idea Books. Among many other things, the book included instructions for a steam shovel, mechanical dogs, a crane 'programmed' with gear racks and a writing machine resembling a 4-lead EKG.
8858 Auto Engines8860
8888 Expert Builder Idea Book