1986 saw the final wave of Mini Vehicle, though their supply of previous Takara designs was exhausted. Hubcap transforms into a super-deformed Porsche 944 Carrera GT. The Carrera GT was a special racing-homologation model, revealed even in Hubcap’s unfortunate proportions by the four small rectangular inlets on the front edge of his hood. The square tops to his rear fenders distinguish him from the very similar 924 model.
Hubcap was retooled (and slightly redecorated) from G1 Cliffjumper. Hubcap was based on the Porsche 924 design by Hideaki Yoke. Hubcap’s US Patent, titled Reconfigurable toy vehicle (aka Transformers G1 Hubcap) was filed on October 4, 1985 (U.S. Patent No. USD295302 S).
Hubcap has chrome wheels shod in Dunlop-branded rubber tires, which he shares with the actual Takara Penny Racers (sold in the US as Tonka Turbo Tricksters). His arms pull out to the sides, allowing his hood and front fenders to be pulled down to form his feet, and lastly folds open his head from the rear of the vehicle. He is primarily molded in the same shade of yellow as 1984 Cliffjumper and Bumblebee, often leading to confusion between Hubcap and Cliffjumper. Hubcap is identifiable by his lack of a raised rear spoiler, and his bright orange-painted face.
Unfortunately, Hubcap still shares several design weaknesses with his predecessors. His feet are attached by thin plastic hooks on either side of an ankle pin. If his feet are pulled in the wrong direction, or too hard, these hooks can break. His head hinge can wear easily, causing his head to droop back or fall forward back into the car. The internal pins connecting his arms can break or become disjointed, leaving him both armless and without wheels. Additionally, pushing Hubcap’s arms in when they are misaligned can stress or bend the produding corners of his rear fenders. Many specimens may have minor stressmarks in this area.
Hubcap does not have any production variations.
Hubcap was available in 1986. He was also sold for $3.50 and one robot point as a mail-away in the “Digital Doom on the Highway to Destruction” and “The Autobots Are Under Attack!”, although he was incorrectly listed in these fliers as Cliffjumper.
Redecos & Retools
Hubcap was released in Generation 2, using a vacuum-metalized red deco, but still bearing his distinctive orange face.