SR Pick: The Cars Behind the G1 Autobot Transformers

Published 4 years ago by , Updated May 22nd, 2011 at 8:02 pm,

transformers autobots SR Pick: The Cars Behind the G1 Autobot Transformers

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is nearing completion – as the film rolls toward its July 1, 2011 debut in theaters.

However, many Transformers die-hards still haven’t forgiven Bay for “destroying” their childhood with his updated interpretation of the robots in disguise and today, we’ve got an awesome (and especially thorough) infographic that shows a number of the G1-style Autobots (in robot and vehicle form) – as well as identifies their real-world vehicle counterparts.

The infographic comes courtesy of Comics Alliance and features a number of series favorites including Optimus Prime (a 1984 Freightliner Semi), Bumblebee (a 1967 Volkswagen Beetle), Ironhide (a 1978 Nissan Onebox Vanette), Ratchet (a similarly fashioned 1978 Nissan Onebox Vanette Ambulance), Cliff Jumper (a 1983 Porsche 911 Turbo), and Prowl (a 1979 Nissan 280ZX Police Car).

Check out the awesome image, which contains over 50 Autobots, below:

transformers autobots SR Pick: The Cars Behind the G1 Autobot Transformers
Research and Design by:

Not all of the pairings are as specific as Hound and his 1943 Mitsubishi J59 Military Jeep (we’re looking at you Wheelie/Cybertronian Car and Sureshot/Race Car), but it’s certainly interesting to see the actual inspiration for the blocky G1 toy designs. Not to mention, who would have guessed that Nissan would be the preferred car brand for protoform Transformers in the 1980s – as opposed to the Chevy-friendly films?

While it’s certainly cool to see such an exhaustive list of G1 (and a few modern update model) Autobots in one place, more than anything, it’s strange that Michael Bay still hasn’t tapped some of the more interesting Autobot designs and special abilities such as Red Alert (and that menacing shoulder mounted laser), Mirage (utilizing his titular holographic projections), as well as Wheeljack (along with his flashing ears). Especially considering how the movie-only characters, such as the infamous Autobot Twins, turned out.

Maybe a few of the fan-favorite Autobots, or at least elements of their original designs, will still show up in the form of the NASCAR Wreckers or the SUV Dreads – or other yet to be seen characters from Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Follow us on Twitter @benkendrick and @screenrant and let us know which is your favorite G1 Transformer.

Transformers 3 hits theaters July 1st, 2011.

Source: Comics Alliance

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  1. I want to know why Michael Bay won’t give bumblebee a voice.

    • Because Michael Bay is a hack and can’t direct anything without over doing it with explosions and bad writting.

      How about he make a Transformers that is about the actual robots and not the Humans.

    • B/c having a robot that talks through the radio (or through movies in TF2) is “funny”. Well, it satifies Bay immature sense of humor.

      • It also makes him seem more pop culturaly sound. He is the young one of the group. Plus it added the mystery to his alien origins.

        • I see what you’re saying, but it becomes just a plot hole in the second movie. It worked for TRANSFORMERS b/c Bay was trying to give Sam and Bumblebee a “relationship that’s more than just words”, but he gets his voice back at the end of the first film. Then it becomes a plot hole in number 2.

          • You’re all wrong. It’s because Bumblebee is being typecast as his faithfull, protective pet/sidekick. Ya know, Lassie and Jeff/Timmie or Old Yeller and Travis. This is Bay people, no original ideas and he doesn’t look that deeply into meanings.

  2. Pretty cool. There are a few pics of either the vehicles or robots that are not exactly G1. But all in it was fun.

  3. cool list

  4. I’ve still got some of the G1 originals in my basement somewhere… seeing these just made me think of them: Mirage, Sideswipe, Red Alert, Beachcomber (he was one that was almost as small as a Gobot if i remember right), Optimus (naturally) and Tracks.
    I sold some others about 4-5 years ago including the Airielbots/Superion in the original box (got almost $200).

    This brings back alot of memories.

  5. Ok…. so why is the Optimus Prime shown up there not a flatnose Semi?

    • I was gonna say the same thing. Rachet is wrong too. Actually a couple are wrong if campared to their G1 ‘cartoon’ counterparts. Brawn’s vehical color scheme looks wrong as well. Over all though pretty sweet. Some might have been taken from the comics.

  6. Holy crap. That list is like so wrong.

    Optimus Prime: His G1 alt-mode wasn’t a longnose semi. It was Cabover
    Bumblebee: The robot mode posted is actually his upgraded form Goldbug.
    Ratchet: The vehicle mode shown is actually what he had for the 2007 “Transformers: Animated” series.
    Blurr: same thing as Ratchet.
    Hot Rod: Same as Blurr and Ratchet.
    Chromedome: The whole entry isn’t Chromedome. It’s a recolored version of Downshift from “Transformers: Energon”
    Sandstorm also had a helicopter mode in addition to his dune buggy.
    Rollbar: He was green in the cartoon. What’s show in alternators Hound painted red red with a name slapped on to preserve trademark. Not the same thing.
    Rodimus Prime: The vehicle mode’s fine, but that robot mode is Optimus from “Transformers: Armada” colored orange. major fail.
    Wheelie: That vehicle mode is actually a “Wheelimus Prime” that somebody drew for a joke.
    Punch: His gimmick is that he had two robot modes. One was his regular mode, the other was used for infiltrating the deceptions. The robot mode pictured is his “decepticon” form.
    Tracks: That’s his Alternators toy. Looks very little like he did in the show

    Talk about barely researched…

    • Nice point outs! I’m viewing through mobile so the pic is small. But I agree very un-researched, at least from a G1 fan stand point. Cupp’s robot mode isn’t correct either.

      • Hot Rod’s vehicle mode looks correct to me. It’s the form from Transformers: The Movie 1986, so I’m not sure if I’m missing something perhaps the newer design

    • @ Duck

      As we mentioned in the article, some of the bot modes (as well as their vehicle counterparts) do appear to be from post G1 comics and animated series.

      Overall though, we thought it was pretty cool (considering they managed to cover over 50 characters) and worth showing to Transformer fans.

      Hopefully you guys still enjoyed checking it out – even if they didn’t get everything spot on.

      • No excuse. At least Bay didn’t try to pretend his films are a G1 continuity; throughout the entire history of the brand characters have been reinvented into forms that don’t even resemble their original counterparts and ended up with their names as such because Hasbro wanted to preserve tradmarks. Compare the designs of the “Robots in Disguise” cartoon as well as the Unicron Trilogy. Some of the nameslaps are even more nonsensical. Ironically, by changing the designs for the movie the way he is, he’s actually staying true to the toyetic nature of the brand. This thing was just pathetic because it tried to pass itself off as a scholarly chronicle and failed miserably.

        • @duck
          Holy S! Thank you, thank you. I’m sick of all these so called Transformer “purists” who keep crying about the continuity of the Transformers. Why? Because there isn’t any continuity. In major markets of the world (that means different countries to you slo-mo’s) the transformers and many other toys are changed and tailored to appeal to the cultural and geographic identity of the consumers. Toy companies have been doing it for a long time, hell any manufacturer of any sellable goods does it. Just take the Bay movies for what they are, another multi-media consumable in the long line of Hasbro products.

      • Ben, I liked it. Who cares whether they were 100% accurate or not. It brought back memories and that’s all that counts.

    • And why do the have Hot Rod, Rodimus Prime, Arcee, Kup, Wheelie, Blur and few other that are Generation 2 Transformers but they have them listed as generation 1.

      • they’re not generation 2. they’re season 3 characters. generation 2 is merely what they called the re-airing of the show in the 1990s.

      • pawn65: That’s a common misconception. Generation 1 covers all Transformers from 1984 to about 1992, so that includes Hot Rod, Rodimus Prime, Wheelie, Kup, Blurr, Ultra Magnus, Galvatron, Cyclonus, Scourge, Unicron ect. These guys are from Generation 1.

        Generation 2 was the franchise during 1992 to 1995. By that time, guys like Hot Rod weren’t even being made as toys any more.

        • Nope generation 2 starts after the 1986 Transformers: the Movie. Thats why most of the original characters are either changed from who they were to someone else or killed off. Seeing as i was 7 at the time the original show aired i should know. Also you might want to look at the anniversary addition of transformers the movie seeing how the producers of the original show and movie confirm this.

    • I am hoping someone comes along and makes another set of transformers movies to correct the Micheal Bay mistakes. Bay’s robots have way to many moving parts. Make the robots more like the toys. Its much more believeable and it should be easier to watch as well. Most of the scenes in TF 1 and 2 and way to conjested and you cant make out what part of the robot you are looking at. Keep it simpler.

    • The Rodimus Prime vehicle mode is from the Titanium series toy line. They weren’t that great but yeah, pretty crappy researching. Still interesting though. I love how Ratchet’s robot mode is from G1 but they put the picture of his Animated series vehicle mode. Same thing with Optimus Prime (sorta). G1 vehicle mode and 2007/2009 esque vehicle mode. I don’t even know why they put Rollbar in there. Rollbar really was a red jeep from the Alternators toy line. There were 3 jeeps, I believe, in the Alternator line but he was never in the original series. Only Hound. All in all, a pretty shoddy job.

  7. One of many errors Mitsubishi did not start producing licensed Jeeps until after 1953 starting with the CJ-3b (American model #)…. Since we were still at war with japan in 1943!!!

  8. That’s cool!!!

  9. That image is awful. There’s so many mistakes and usage of random images somebody found off of Google image search. I don’t know why pop culture websites find this image so amazing as to be newsworthy.

    • FFN,

      Probably because we’re not as well versed in the Transformers universe as you are (based on your website) and are looking for an easy to digest, handy guide. And not being experts, sites don’t notice the errors you’re talking about – we assume someone puts something like this out and it’s accurate.

      Not being snarky, just answering your question.


  10. I will probably get a lot of hateful comments because of this but I don’t totally hate Michael Bay for his portrayal of my absolute favorite thing to come out of the 80’s. I do think he really dropped the ball in a few areas but I kinda respect him for trying to modernize the Transformers. I guess he tried to show a little originality. LOL, albeit in all the wrong places. I enjoy ROTF for the awfulness that it is. However, I will give him the benefit of the doubt, until July, that he has learned from his mistakes with ROTF. Thank god Megan Fox has gone bye bye. Ugh. And hopefully the twins will die in a most humiliating manner. LOL But yeah, he hasn’t killed my love of Transformers, yet. My collection continues to grow. Probably around 400+/- so far.
    You could say i’m a fan.

  11. I like how some of the characters in this image were identical as toys (except for the color or some added details such as a police lightbar), yet the vehicles are claimed to be different manufacturing years or even different models altogether.

    For example, Ultra Magnus and Optimus Prime had identical truck cabs (Ultra Magnus had a different trailer which turned into “armor” for the robot, with the cartoon depicting the “armored” mode as the standard robot mode). Prowl and Bluestreak were the same car (Prowl as the police version). Ditto for Trailbreaker and Hoist (Trailbreaker as a regular pickup, Hoist as a tow truck).

    I also love how this list claims that characters that were created from 1984 to 1987 had vehicles modes that weren’t manufactured (also according to the list!) exist until 1994.

    Generally, this list features a semi-random collection of cartoon art, modern comic art, old comic art, concept artwork, photos of modern toys, old toy package artwork, CG models, car photos, photoshopped car photos and blatantly stolen FANART of characters that never looked like this an any official capacity.

    Imagine someone taking a photo of a fan cosplaying as “Slave Leia” at a convention, a catalog photo of an R2D2 toy, a screencap of Yoda from the original Clone Wars cartoon and a fan-drawn version of Darth Vader and claiming it depicts the Star Wars cast.

  12. im nit picking here and im sure someones already pointed it out, but thats not a picture of Bumblebee at the top. thats a picture of Goldbug, same character sure, but different name. so…. they screwed up in other words.

    • and as i went further down i noticed they had a picture of BumbleBee in place of Goldbug. you can tell them apart because gold bug had a face plate and bumblebee didnt(doesnt)

  13. lets just all agree that the compiled images are way off. oh yeah, and Bay SUCKS!!!!