Will GM Drop the Curtain on a New Transformers Lineup?

February 26th, 2007 by William

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If you grew up watching Transformers’ cartoons and playing with the action figures than you are no doubt excited about the upcoming release of the live action Transformers movie. The folks at General Motors are also giddy with anticipation, but not because they crave special effects or have found childhood memories of playing with transforming cars. GM has a huge role in the upcoming movie with several vehicles playing main characters in the film: a Pontiac Solstice will play Jazz, a Hummer H2 will star as Ratchet and a GMC TopKick takes the role of Ironhide.

The most controversial product placement character in the whole movie is the famous Transformer Bumblebee. Bumblebee was one of the most beloved characters in the entire cast, and appropriate to his name Bumblebee Transformed into a yellow Volkswagen Beetle. However, in a complete disregard for the originality of the series and probably due to a large sum of money coming from GM, director Michael Bay has cast Bumblebee as the a new Chevrolet Camaro. To be fair, it probably wasn’t Michael Bay’s call, but as a Transformer fan and hater of blatant product placement at the cost of artistic vision I think this blows. I can’t say that I blame GM for trying to plaster their name all over this movie, it makes great sense from a marketing stand point, but it would be great to see Bumblebee in the film as a new Beetle. Maybe Volkswagen missed the boat.

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Original Bumblebee

In addition to having prominent vehicles in the film, there have been whisperings that GM will release Transformer Edition cars and trucks. This has left people asking the obvious question: What exactly will the Transformer Edition be? Let’s shoot down the wishful thinkers right away; GM is not going to build a car that actually transforms! This is the same company that came late and underdressed to the hybrid party, the small two seat sports car party, and the stop building giant ugly SUVs party, I don’t think they have it in them to build a real transforming vehicle. If anyone is going to build one (and why would you?) it’s going to be Honda or Toyota.

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Chevrolet Camaro “Bumblebee” seen on the Transformers set

Beyond that we really have no idea if the cars are simply going to sport Transformer badges (Autobots and Decepticons) or if they will have any performance modifications, graphics packages or body kits. The film opens this summer on the 4th of July.

For more information on Transformers and other classic toys, check out the awesome 451 Press toy blog, Toy Bender: Lots of cool vintage commercials and up to date information on what’s going on in the world of toys, also the source of this story. Thanks Paul!

-Bill Mertz

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4 Responses to “Will GM Drop the Curtain on a New Transformers Lineup?”

  1. Paul Says:

    Thanks for the shout out!

  2. Gayle Says:

    This may be getting a little off-topic, but speaking of Beetles- Have you written anything specifically about Volkswagens? I love Beetles, Things, and Karmann Ghias. I’ve always been a Volkswagen nut and have owned a couple of them.

  3. Jeff Says:

    How exactly would you propose that a vehicle “transform”? Are you that delusional? Remember, GM is the company that brought you the first electric car (EV1), the first crossover (Aztek), the Corvette, the first hydrogen-powered concept and runner(Autonomy then HyWire and Sequel) and fleet (HydroGen 1, 2, 3) and the soon-to-be first plug in electric vehicle Saturn Volt concept and VUE production. Wake up

  4. William Says:

    I guess my tongue wasn’t far enough in my cheek for you. I would never propose a way for a vehicle to transform since I’m not an engineer, but I bet it can be done, even thought there isn’t any good reason to do it (as I said in my post). But there is a video that shows you how a vehicle might transform: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STQ3nhXuuEM

    And sorry to say the EV1 was not “the first electric car, in fact not even close. They were building electric cars in the late 1800’s. In 1899, a Belgian built electric racing car called “La Jamais Contente” set a world record for land speed - 68 mph - designed by Camille Jénatzy.
    Also there have been plenty of “plug-in” cars already built (the Tesla is one of the cooler and more recent ones).

    The Aztek first showed up as a show car in 1999 I believe; definitely not the first crossover. What about the AMC Eagle of the 1980s, even the Lexus RX300 was out in Japan in 1997 (known as the Harrier).

    Here’s a link to a hydrogen powered car and motorcycle from the 1960’s: http://www.gkss.de/Themen/W/WTP/wasserstoff/eGeschi.html

    I do give them credit for the Corvette, and always have.
    Lastly, yes I am delusional and I am awake.
    Thanks for your comment.
    -Bill

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About William

I am a twenty something car enthusiast. I spend most of my days working in a small restoration shop in Northern California that specializes in vintage Alfa Romeos. I also manage to do some freelance writing for a handful of automotive publications. When I'm not at the shop I can usually be found working on one of my own project cars, out driving on a good windy road or good jeep trail. Despite what my girlfriend says cars aren't what defines me, they are only what I do. When I have a chance I also love to go camping, play sports or generally do any type of outdoor activity. I don't take myself to seriously, so I hope you don't either.

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