Transformers Generation 1 was heavily populated with exotic cars, but never more densely than in the first series 1984 Autobot Cars. Jazz was modeled a successful racing variant of the Porsche 911, called the Porsche 935. More specifically, Jazz represents a the #4 Martini Porsche 935/77 “Works” car, one of three factory-owned 935s to race in the 1977 Group 5 WCM. Somewhat ironically, this model was the reason that the Lancia Stratos Turbo – Wheeljack – did not see much success in road racing.
Jazz, like all the Autobot Cars until 1986, was originally designed by Koujin Ohno and released in Takara’s Diaclone as Car Robot Porsche 935 Turbo. This version included a small plastic and die-cast driver who could sit in the cavity in the center of the cockpit. The Diaclone version is barely distinguishable from his Transformers deco, but for some minor sticker variations. His US Patent, titled Reconfigurable toy vehicle (aka Transformers G1 Jazz) was filed on June 15, 1983 (U.S. Patent No. USD281087 S).
Jazz’s detailed Porsche 935 alternate mode is decorated primarily in white, and dressed with Martini Racing #4 livery. However, the word “Martini” has been altered to read “MARTINII” with two ‘I’s. Porsche logos remain unchanged. The realistic look of the sculpt is enhanced by vacuum-metalized “chrome” lace wheels shod with rubber tires, matching the look of the real car. Opening doors and a clear plastic front and rear windshield complete the model-like accuracy. His transformation is similar to some of the other Autobot Cars, with the die-cast metal rear of the vehicle forming the feet, the die-cast hood forming the large chest, and the doors forming wing-like protrusions on Jazz’s shoulders. He bears further similarity to the Datsun 280ZX Autobots by having his arms folded in an opposed fashion beneath the hood, and his head attached to the underside of the strip of hood plastic that is part of the roof. In keeping with his evident Diaclone heritage, Jazz includes a shoulder-mounted missile launcher that connects via a chrome backpack. His armament is completed by large chrome missiles and a long chrome rifle. His robot mode is replete with more chrome on his shins and abdomen, as well as an extensive sticker sheet to decorate many of his robotic or automotive parts.
Date stamp location: Bottom of car, near left rear wheel
Rubsign location: None (1984), or front right corner of hood (1985-)
Tragically, Jazz’s resemblance of his wave mates Bluestreak and Prowl isn’t only skin deep. He shares their main structural weakness: the roof attaching to the hood via a thin strip of plastic, and completely unsupported in the rear. Many vintage figures have been rendered roofless, exacerbated by the fact that this piece is angled such that the section of hood is tilted slightly downward – correcting this problem by attempting to bend the plastic would simply snap the roof and windshield off. Even when the windshield remains attached to the hood, however, the skinny sliding track under the hood segment of this piece may crack or break, which isn’t noticeable until the piece is slid back for robot mode. However, the design of Jazz’s brittle rear windows includes a broad supporting edge at the bottom that prevents bending or crushing much more effectively than the Datsun 280ZX mold.
Like many of his wave mates, however, Jazz has a number of major and minor production variations. The primary variant is known colloquially as “Cookie Crisp Jazz”. He was released through a mail-in promotion by Cookie Crisp cereal. This version omitted the lettering from stickers featuring Porsche or Martini markings. Therefore, his windshield sticker is just a black stripe, the spoiler stickers just silver, and the transparent door stickers have the number “4” but no Martini red circle or lettering. There are additional molding changes on the figure associated with this version.
Jazz was available in the United States and UK in 1984. Jazz was available again in the US and UK, and debuted continental Europe in 1985 with a rubsign applied to his hood. This version received a revised instruction sheet (or tiny addendum slip), as well as a revised tech spec with the “scrambled” red lines replacing the straighter lines of the 1984 box. The Milton Bradley-branded version available in Europe had “PORSCHE” after his name on the front of the box, although using a smaller font. He was also available in Italy with GiG’s licensed line in 1985, sporting missiles with large rubber safety tips. He was available again in Europe during 1990’s Classics line, using his Cookie Crisp sticker palette lacking sponsor lettering, but now including the red circles on the doors. He was reissued in Japan in 2002 as part of The Transformers Collection, with a heavily retooled face, spoiler, and other parts. He was reissued in the U.S. in 2003 as part of the Toys ’R’ Us Commemorative Edition line. This version retained the oddly retooled face from the Takara reissue, as well as omitting the chrome from his weapons, leaving them all-black. Additional modifications were made, such as a long rod protruding from the back missile launcher, and lengthened, rounded missiles. He was reissued in Japan again in 2008 as part of Transformers Encore. All of the post-G1 reissues return lettering to the stickers, although they replace “Martinii” and “Porsche” with “Agent Meister”, based on his Japanese name.
Case Assortments (Item#/Asst#): 1984: Autobot Cars Asst. 1 (E5757/5750), 1 per 12; 1985: Autobot Cars Asst. 2 (E5757/5765), 1 per 12
Packaging: Window box with top flap, inner plastic bubble sealed to cardboard insert, Tech Spec on back
Packaging (Milton Bradley): Window box with top flap (with MB logo), inner styrofoam tray supported by cardboard insert, Tech Spec on back
Packaging (Classic Heroes): Gold window box with top flap, inner plastic bubble sealed to cardboard insert, Tech Spec on back
Robot Points: 2 Autobot
Paperwork included (1984): Instruction booklet without rubsign on last panel, sticker sheet, Tech Spec Decoder, 1984 Catalog; (late 1984) “Reinforcements from Cybertron”, rubsign instructions addendum.
Paperwork included (1985): Instruction booklet with rubsign on last panel, sticker sheet, Tech Spec Decoder, 1984 Catalog, “Reinforcements from Cybertron”
Redecos & Retools
Jazz’s mold was first used in 1983 to create Diaclone’s Car Robot Porsche 935 Turbo. He was redecoed and his accessories retooled in 1987 to produce Stepper in Japan. He was slightly retooled and redecorated in 1993 to produce Generation 2 Jazz. In 2003, he was redecoed by e-HOBBY as Meister Gold Version, which homaged a very rare, completely vacuum-metalized Diaclone campaign prize.