As Generation 1 continued into 1985, Hasbro continued to issue the popular Autobot Cars as main characters. As they expanded their horizons beyond the selection of supercars and racing cars, the used more pragmatic designs such as that of Grapple, who transforms into a Mitsubishi Fuso F-Series FT crane truck.


Like all the other Autobot cars in 1984 and 1985, Grapple started his existence in Takara’s Diaclone as Car Robot Truck Crane, designed by Koujin Ohno. This version of the toy came with a small plastic and die-cast driver that could sit in the cab of the truck by tilting it forward. Other than minor sticker differences, the Diaclone version also included the word “FUSO” molded on the front of the truck – this was removed from Grapple for trademark reasons. Like many of the work trucks in Car Robot, Truck Crane was only issued in one color scheme.


Grapple is the largest Autobot Car design, due to the size of his alternate vehicle. Despite the accuracy of the cab, the rest of his truck mode is largely fictional. His head section forms the crane turret, complete with a two-section telescoping crane and chrome hook. The middle section of the truck is dominated by Grapple’s robot mode arms, which simply like stretched out along the sides of the truck bed. The chassis is formed by his legs, which each feature a chromed outrigger pod. He features molded orange wheels shod in glossy, treaded rubber tires, which he shares with mold-mate Grapple as well as Hound. His robot mode towers over the other Cars , giving the appearance of a bulky and strong warrior. He is decorated by numerous chrome pieces and stickers. He displays a traditional Diaclone design, using the windowed truck cab as the robot chest, and having wrists that can mount or (weakly) fire his fists or chrome missiles. Unlike the other fist-shooting Cars, however, he can carry a small black handgun as well. Unlike his predecessor Inferno, Grapple does not feature any wings, and though he has the peg holes to mount the “hose nozzle” wings, he does not include any. An odd twist to his otherwise simple transformation is the ladder turret forming the head, by means of folding a long black arm that tucks into the truck chassis in alternate mode, and hangs down his back in robot mode. Grapple employs very little die-cast metal, except for the soles of his feet, which prevent him from becoming too top-heavy.
Date stamp location: Crane turret, on top of head box
Rubsign location: Center of cab roof

Collector Notes

Despite his considerable bulk, Grapple is somewhat prone to breakage due to his unusual design. The long hinged strut that holds the crane turret / head section can break if twisted or forced in the wrong direction. In addition, the short screw that holds the hinge together can work loose and fall out. His chrome hook is also vulnerable, either to being pulled out of the crane boom entirely, or having the hook broken from the lower sheave.


As with most former Diaclone toys, Grapple has a number of production variations, though not as many as some of the 1984 releases. The primary variation altered the pegs on the crane turret that tab into the wrists for truck mode: early units fit too tightly, so the hole was slightly enlarged. At the same time, four rectangular indentations were molded in to the cab chrome piece, between the bumper and the grill. Other minor and date-stamp variations also exist.


Grapple was introduced in 1985 in the United States, UK, Italy (with GiG’s infamous large rubber-tipped missiles), and Japan (with much stronger arm launchers). He continued to be available in the UK, and debuted in continental Europe in 1986. exclusively sold with the rubsign on top of his cab, and again in 1986. He was reissued as part of Collector’s Edition in Japan in 2001 as an exclusive to Wonder Festival 2001, sold together with Inferno. He was reissued in the US as part of the 2003 Commemorative Edition as a Toys ‘R’ Us exclusive.
Case Assortment (Asst#/Item#): Autobot Cars Asst. 2 (F5952/5765), 2 per 12
MSRP: $9.99
Packaging: Window box with top flap, inner plastic bubble sealed to cardboard insert, Tech Spec on back
Robot Points: 2 Autobot
Paperwork included: Instruction booklet with rubsign on last panel, sticker sheet, Tech Spec Decoder, 1984 Catalog, “Reinforcements from Cybertron”

Redecos & Retools

The mold was first used in 1983 as Car Robot Fire Truck Long Ladder Type. It was retooled the same year as Car Robot Truck Crane. The fire truck version was sold as Inferno in 1985. The fire truck version was retooled and redecorated in 1987 as the Japanese exclusive Targetmaster Artfire The crane version of the mold was redecorated and sold in 2003 as RoadHauler, an e-HOBBY exclusive from Collector’s Edition.