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Every Car Form Bumblebee Has Taken In The Transformers Franchise

Since the very first generation of "Transformers" toys and media, the little yellow bug named Bumblebee has stood as an icon of the franchise. Young and impetuous yet equally kindhearted, Bumblebee is the first autobot to travel to earth and make contact with humans. Though he ranks lower than most other autobots, his eagerness and ability to befriend humans prove invaluable resources to the autobot cause and, in some continuities, allow Bumblebee to become a respected leader among Cybertronians. In the real world, his value as a "kid-appeal" character made him a cornerstone of the franchise for much of its existence.

These days, like many "Transformers" characters, Bumblebee is probably most well known for his role in the live-action film franchise. This iteration of the classic character is iconic in its own right, but the mute muscle car present in those films is more so the brainchild of Michael Bay and the film's writers. It is not entirely indicative of the character as a whole, in the same way that the MCU's Scarlet Witch is reminiscent of, but not necessarily the same as, the original comic book character.

Among the various timelines, Bumblebee and his vehicle transformations have undergone much, well, transformation. The various modern Camaros he mimics are only the most popular transformations in recent memory. There has been a veritable gold mine of car forms throughout Bumblebee's long history in "Transformers" media. This is every one of them.

Wasn't he supposed to be a bee, not a beetle?

Before we get into Bumblebee's first form, we should clarify. This is technically not a list of every Bumblebee car design that has ever existed. There is a staggering amount of Bumblebee figures that have been released since the brand's origins in the early 1980's. Instead, we're more interested in Bumblebee's car forms from the cartoons, comics, and games that have been released since Hasbro turned "Transformers" into a multimedia franchise.

However, it wasn't Hasbro who designed the original Bumblebee. The iconic design present in Generation 1 of "Transformers" media was originally created in 1982 for the Micro-Man toy line by Japanese toy company Takara Toys (via Medium). Their original bright yellow Volkswagen Beetle became the first, and possibly most prevalent, Bumblebee design in "Transformers" history. In addition to looking cool, his compact and unassuming vehicle form became the foundation for Bumblebee's role as both the autobots' spunky little brother, and as a best-buddy to their human ally, Spike Witwicky.

The basic Beetle design is also likely the most common form Bumblee has taken across the franchise's history. He even retains it as his vehicle transformation after being destroyed and rebuilt as Goldbug in the original cartoons and comics. The standalone "Bumblebee" film also shows us this form in live action before Bumblebee takes on his first Camaro transformation.

Bumblebee really likes Camaros

For the most part, Bumblebee's car form remained consistent for over 20 years, making its first radical change with the first live action "Transformers" film in 2007. In this film, Bumblebee takes on the form of two different Chevrolet Camaros in a black and yellow color scheme. The first is a 2nd Generation 1977 Camaro, and the second is a 5th Gen. 2006 Camaro Concept (via Mr. Mashup on YouTube). As the live-action films progressed, Bumblebee assumed several more Camaro designs, including two other variations of the 5th Gen. Camaro, a 1st Gen. 1967 SS, and two variations of the 6th Gen. (specifically a 2014 Concept and a 2017 ZL1).

Thanks to the widespread success of the live action film franchise, black and yellow Camaros became as synonymous (if not moreso) with Bumblebee than the original Beetle. Hasbro capitalized on this fact by employing the Camaro design in several other "Transformers" series. This includes the Bumblebee from the Aligned Continuity, which includes shows like "Transformers Prime" and the Bumblebee from the Cyberverse Continuity. While these cars are original designs, and have no official affiliation with Camaros, it's pretty obvious where the inspiration for their appearance comes from, as they still resemble modern Camaros immensely.

Bumblebee shrinks down to a smarter size

While the age of the Camaro has not ended for Bumblebee, especially where live action properties are concerned, there are modern "Transformers" series that stray away from the muscle-car aesthetic of the modern day. Taking a more modern approach to the compact design of Beetle-era Bumblebee, the Bumblebee of the Animated Continuity adopts a look not too dissimilar from a smart car. It has two doors and a short body, and sets Bumblebee at a smaller size than his autobot companions.

Barring some other minor transformations in the "Bumblebee" film, the smart car is Bumblebee's only non-Camaro car form following the live action "Transformers" series. In many ways, this makes it a breath of fresh air for those who are well over seeing a slightly different muscle car every film. Unfortunately, it seems like the muscle car legacy outlasted the smart car, as it continues to be the primary transformation for Bumblebee in most of his appearances.

The outliers in Bumblebee's automation

At this point, you might think that Bumblebee is too cyber-chicken to transform into anything that isn't a hot rod or a compact car, and you'd almost be correct. Given the choice, it seems like Bumblebee really does prefer those kinds of vehicles. Media that takes place before the autobots come to earth, such as "Transformers: Fall of Cybertron" and portions of "Bumblebee," often depicts Cybertronians with custom vehicle forms. Even on his own planet, Bumblebee basically always turns himself into a car of some kind.

When necessary, however, Bumblebee will become anything he needs to be in order to accomplish his goals. The "Bumblebee" movie shows him doing this several times. In one instance, he assumes the form of a military jeep (still in bright yellow, of course). In another, more unique, situation, Bumblebee disguised himself as a Mercedes Benz 770, a classic car that he copied during World War II. In addition to being the only car that deviated from his color scheme (this time being all black), Bumblebee went by the alias ZB-7 during that period. This is a fitting detail, given the radical change in color scheme.