The main heroes in the first series of Generation 1 in 1984 were the Autobot Cars, such as Mirage, who transforms into one of five Ligier JS11 Formula One cars, dressed in #26 Gitanes livery. Proving competitive during the 1979 and 1980 seasons, the #26 JS11s were primarily driven by Jacques Laffite and Didier Pironi.

US Patent for G1 Mirage

Mirage, like so many of his wave mates, was originally designed by Koujin Ohno for Takara’s Diaclone series, and sold as Car Robot Ligier JS11 F-1. This version included a small plastic and die-cast driver that could sit in the cockpit of the car. This version was also released in a made-up red color scheme, sold exclusively in the Powered Convoy DX Set with the Diaclone equivalent of Ultra Magnus. Mirage’s US Patent, titled Reconfigurable toy vehicle  (aka Transformers G1 Mirage) was filed on April 4, 1984 (U.S. Patent No. USD285465 S).


Mirage’s alternate mode is a surprisingly accurate representation of the Ligier JS11 ground effect Formula 1 car, decorated with #26 Gitanes / Elf livery. The most prominent difference is the white letters down his sidepods actually read “CITANES,” to avoid trademark issues, and because Gitanes is a French tobacco company. Mirage’s alternate mode is replete with detail, using red and silver stickered stripes to recreate the racer’s blue-and-white deco. Vacuum-metalized “chrome” parts are accurately used for the front and rear spoilers, vents for the ground effects system, and visible Ford Cosworth engine. Stickers are used to add the Elf and Ligier sponsorship markings. Mirage has wide chrome wheels and matching, bevel-edged Goodyear rubber tires precisely modeling those used on the real car. As the only open-wheel racer of the former Diaclone Cars, Mirage’s wheels and tires are not shared with any of his Autobot brethren. His transformation follows a common scheme: the legs are extended down from the rear of the car with the spoilers as toes, the arms pull out to the sides, the front of the car forms the chest, and he is rotated at the waist to complete the look. The robot mode is more stout than some of his peers, but well-proportioned. His arms are jointed at the shoulder and the elbow, with the body panels hanging from the upper arm like a long sleeve. His unique, semicircular head is molded underneath the front of the cockpit, forming a look not unlike the pharaonic Nemes. He features die-cast metal plates on the back of his legs, which also extend under his feet and become his spoiler mounting points, making him quite stable in robot mode. Die-cast is similarly used for the swing arms connecting his front wheels, which rest behind his shoulders in robot mode. He is armed with a long chrome rifle, as well as a non-firing black missile launcher that can clip to one of his front axles, and the associated chrome missiles. A few additional stickers on the underside of the car add some more detail to the robot.
Date stamp location: Bottom of car, on leg link panel
Rubsign location: None (1984), or right spoiler or bottom of right foot (1985-)

Collector Notes

Mirage, like so many former Diaclone designs, is prone to minor and major breakage due to his design. The rear chrome spoilers attach to the die-cast struts extending from his underside. The intention was to make the brackets sturdy, but the die-cast parts wear away the plastic nubs on the spoiler, causing it to fall off and get lost. A more concerning condition, however, is the swivel that rotates Mirage’s upper body around on his hips: internally, it is barely the size of a small screw, yet it can undergo a large amount of leverage during any mishandling of the toy, snapping poor Mirage in half. Coincidentally, a one-of-a-kind hand-painted mockup for an unproduced Generation 2 Mirage is broken in this way.


Like all the former Diaclone toys, Mirage has production variations over the period of his release. Regular retail releases feature missile launchers with deeper-molded details, and thicker ridges near the barrel end of the launcher, as well as more thickly molded rifle with a number molded in the indent above the handle peg. Mail-order Mirages featured a more finely molded launcher with longer, thinner ridges lengthwise along the barrel, and a thickly molded gun without a sprue number on the side.


Mirage was available in the United States and UK in 1984. Mirage was available again in the US, and debuted Japan (with a firing launcher, as Ligier), continental Europe, and Italy in 1985 with a rubsign applied to his spoiler or the back end of the car. 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 Italian GiG-licensed Mirage sports missiles with large rubber safety tips, as well as “Ligier” stickered over the sidepod “Citanes” tampographs, or later tampographed in their place.
In the US, Mirage was available by mail-order from Hasbro Direct: in 1985’s “Have the Decepticons defeated us once and for all?”, in 1986’s “Can one boy, alone, hold back the evil Decepticons?” and “You Have Been Chosen”, 1987’s “Rodimus Prime remembers the Transformers greatest battle on Earth”s, and 1988’s “The Autobots Are Under Attack!” Despite the tremendous longevity of his availability, he has never been reissued, as his molds are reported as lost or destroyed.
Case Assortments (Item#/Asst#): 1984: Autobot Cars Asst. 1 (E5754/5750), 2 per 12; 1985: Autobot Cars Asst. 3 (E5754/5766), 1 per 12
MSRP: $9.99
Mail-Order Price: $8 and 2 Robot Points (1985-1988) or $9.50 and 0 Robot Points(1986 “Can one boy...” only)
Packaging: Window box with top flap, inner plastic bubble sealed to cardboard insert, Tech Spec on back
Packaging (Hasbro Direct): plain brown mailer box including black-and-white Tech Spec sheet minus the graph section
Packaging (Milton Bradley): Window box with top flap (with MB logo), inner styrofoam tray supported by 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

Mirage’s mold was originally used to create Diaclone Car Robot Ligier JS11 in 1983. The mold has not been used after its first Transformers incarnation.