Real “Transformers” fans (of the comic books and the animated series) know that the original Bumblebee’s car form was a yellow Volkswagen Beetle, but in the” Transformers” movies, Michael Bay decided to upgrade him to a Camaro because the yellow Beetle reminded him too much of Herbie from “The Love Bug,” a Disney movie from the late 60’s (later updated as “Herbie Fully Loaded” in 2005, starring Lindsay Lohan). Herbie did not exactly fit the whole shoot-up-everything movie concept that he had in mind. As a sort of tribute, a yellow Volkswagen Beetle is parked next to the yellow Camaro when Sam is shopping for a car.
I applaud his decision. While the Beetle is a cool car, it’s just not what I envision a bad-ass robot turning into, even one as laid-back as Bumblebee. The Camaro was a great choice, and it has evolved throughout the movie series, making the car even more awesome than the original.
In the first “Transformers,” the car started out as a 1969 Camaro, but the producers did not like it and changed it to a 1977 model. The Camaro is bright yellow with black stripes and has patches of primer and rust. The car has a riveted hood scoop, front Cragar SS wheels, and rear Eric Vaughn Real Wheels. It is equipped with high quality vinyl seats, and also has an eight-track player which made me laugh and was absolutely appropriate to the age and era of the car.
Later in the movie, Bumblebee is rebuilt as a 2008/2009 Camaro Concept model, using the same molds as the 2006 Camaro Concept.
For “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” Bumblebee becomes a Camaro SS, and changes color from yellow to amber. He has thicker stripes, and he has dark rims and side mirrors. He’s also sporting a rear spoiler. For both movies, what looks like wheel-disc brakes are actually hubcaps made from composite. All the Bumblebee cars in the movies also had a custom front bumper.
I love movies where the car is as much a character as the humans in it are, and the cars in the Transformers series definitely qualify. The Camaro in this series are some of my favorites, though I must admit to a partiality for the first one.
The 1977 Camaro from the the first “Transformers” movie was eventually sold on eBay for a cool $40,100.01. Someone got an awesome car with a great movie tie-in, though I wouldn’t have paid that much for it unless it really did turn into a giant, 16 foot robot at will.
Neff, John. “Camaro and Mustang Do Battle in Transformers: The Movie.” Autoblog. Aol, June-July 2006. Web.
Aziz, Nick. “New Chevy Camaro to Star in Transformers Movie.” LeftLane News RSS. LeftLane, May-June 2006.
NIBMRatchet. “MichaelBay.com Updates More Transformers 3 Interviews, Images And Bayhem.” MichaelBay.com Updates More Transformers 3 Interviews, Images And Bayhem. Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd, July-Aug. 2010.