As the popularity of Transformers G1 grew in 1985, Hasbro and Takara decided to engage in a popular sales strategy of offering mail-away exclusive toys. “Robot Points” could be clipped from the packages of purchased toys to send in for these exclusives. Four Robot Points and $5 could be submitted to get the Omnibot Overdrive, a 1981 Ferrari BB 512 Berlinetta Boxer.
Overdrive’s mold was designed by Koujin Ohno for Takara’s Diaclone toyline as the Double Changer No. 2 Ferrari BB. This version is virtually indistinguishable from the eventual G1 release, differing only in some Autobot symbols added to the sticker sheet. Overdrive’s US Patent, titled Reconfigurable toy vehicle (aka Transformers G1 Overdrive) was filed on December 30, 1983 (U.S. Patent No. USD284490 S).
Overdrive’s Ferrari 512 BB alternate mode is relatively detailed, despite the smaller scale than the Autobot Cars. He features accurate chrome five-spoke wheels shod in rubber tires, and a transparent windshield. The plastic body is detailed with many trademarks of the real-life car. Overdrive can be transformed into an additional “Armored Car” mode by extending small black wings, gun barrels from the front bumper, and two “searchlights” from the roof (which are Overdrive’s feet). His transformation is fairly straightforward, following a similar pattern as earlier designs. His robot mode is taller than the other Omnibots, and uses his long hood as an awkwardly-sized chest. His arms are well-articulated by a compound joint at the shoulders and bending elbows. He wields two of three included chrome pistols, each with its own unique design.
Despite his scrawny appearance, Overdrive is the least flawed of the Omnibot designs in terms of durability. Even his roof, which attaches in the same fashion as Jazz and Bluestreak, survived intact much more frequently.
Overdrive did not have any production variation during the short course of his manufacture.
Overdrive was available in the USA and Japan in 1985 as a mail-away exclusive. He continued to be available in the US in 1986 through a different order form. He has never been reissued.