The main heroes in the first series of Generation 1 in 1984 were the Autobot Cars, such as Ironhide, a red C120 Nissan Cherry Vanette (exported to other countries as the Datsun C20). The roofline vaulted above windshield level and the square headlights indicate it as a Cherry Vanette SGL Coach, the top-end luxury model.

US Patent for G1 Ironhide


Ironhide, like so many of his wave mates, was originally designed by Koujin Ohno for Takara’s Diaclone series, and sold as Car Robot No. 2 Onebox Cherry Vanette. This version included a small plastic and die-cast driver that could sit in the driver’s seat of the cab, or in one of three positions in Onebox Cherry Vanette’s combat deck. The body of this version was all-black, including the same yellow stripe stickers down the side of the van. Also, this version did not include the face sticker discussed below - it was added for the Transformers release. The US Patent for Ironhide, titled Reconfigurable toy (aka Transformers G1 Ironhide) was filed on August 12, 1983 (U.S. Patent No. US4530670 A).


Ironhide’s alternate mode is highly detailed and has a thorough sense of realism. He has plain, vacuum-metalized “chrome” wheels shod in ridged rubber tires, all of which he shares with is predecessor, Sunstreaker, and another less-exotic entry in the Diaclone lineup, Skids. He sports clear plastic side windows and windshield, which reveal his detailed chrome dashboard. His sides are decorated with stickered black and yellow stripes. Chrome headlights and bumpers, as well as a stickered sunroof, finalize the sense of detail in the van mode. His transformation is quite unusual, even among his highly varied peers. The entire van divides in two distinct units: the windshield and chassis, and the box van body. The chassis and cab follow a simple transformation to become the Ironhide robot, while the roof of the van splits down the middle and opens like clam, revealing the combat deck portion. The combat deck is supported by three chrome treads extending below, and features a chrome missile launcher and associated missiles, mounted on a long black arm at the rear, and a chrome cannon mounting on a peg at the front of the deck (formerly the rear of the van). In an unusual twist, the chrome cannon and the post may be stored in the center of the van’s chassis in alternate mode, but the cannon often protrudes too far to allow all four wheels to touch the ground. The robot mode is somewhat unusual on its own, while die-cast feet, chrome and stickers make a robust set of legs, they are only topped by the windshield and part of the front bumper, with the driver’s seat having a black face stickered on it, showing through the windshield. What’s more, the face is not particularly robotic, but silver lines depicting a wide-nostril nose, smile lines, and curly eyebrows, along with nondescript line-like eyes and mouth, possibly evoking the look of a Japanese Kabuki mask. His somewhat thin arms pivot from die-cast rods. The robot can operate the combat deck by clipping his feet around the base of the missile launcher stand, and balancing the whole unit to prevent it from toppling over backward.
Date stamp location: Underside of cab
Rubsign location: None (1984), or left front of roof (1985)

Collector Notes

Ironhide, true to his name, is rather sturdy overall, and not particularly prone to any specific breakage, unlike many off his contemporaries. However, the red gun post can fit loosely, and since its function is obscure, it is very frequently lost from original samples.


Like all the former Diaclone toys, Ironhide has several production variances over the period of his release. Most of these variations seem to be part of one revision, however. Minor modifications were made to the detail and fitment of his dashboard, thumbs, chrome waist piece, bumpers and arms. Other minor variations exist with international releases of Ironhide.


Ironhide was released in the United States in 1984. Ironhide was available again in the US, and debuted in the UK in1985 with a rubsign placed on the front left part of his roof. 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. Ironhide was one of the Autobot Cars selected to be reissued as part of Europe’s 1990 Classics line. Ironhide was available in Japan for the first time (ever!) from e-HOBBY in 2001, virtually unchanged from the original US release. He was reissued once more in Japan as part of Transformers Encore in 2007. This version included a cardboard head-and-chest cutout that could be inserted into Ironhide’s robot chest to cover the sticker face and give him a cartoon-accurate head protruding above the windshield, as well as a molded set of clips to keep the robot more securely mounted to the combat deck.
Case Assortments (Item#/Asst#): 1984: Autobot Cars Asst. 1 (E5758/5750), 1 per 12; 1985: Autobot Cars Asst. 3 (E5758/5766), 1 per 12
MSRP: $9.99
Packaging: Window box with top flap, inner plastic bubble sealed to 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, 1985 Catalog, “Reinforcements from Cybertron”

Redecos & Retools

Ironhide’s mold was originally used to create Diaclone Car Robot Onebox Cherry Vanette in 1982, (and again the same year to create Car Robot Onebox Ambulance Type). The Onebox Cherry Vanette was briefly available in the US as Diakron DK-2. The Ambulance Type was used in 1984 to create Transformers Ratchet. The mold came full-circle in 2008, when it was used to create e-HOBBY Ironhide Protect Black for the Japanese market using the Diaclone black color scheme – which coincidentally was shared by the contemporary Movie Ironhide. The mold was also used the same year to produce eHOBBY Ratchet Emergency Green.