As Transformers G1 reached a fever pitch in 1986, Hasbro and Takara rolled out a plethora of new designs. Almost half of the new releases were combiners, such as Drag Strip, a Stunticon who transforms into a yellow 1976 Tyrrell-Cosworth P34, a six-wheeled Formula 1 car.
Drag Strip was originally conceptualized for a Diaclone subseries called “Jizai Gattai”, or Free Combination, which would have included the Stunticons, Combaticons, Aerialbots, Protectobots, and Metroplex. Each team had a theme, each limb figure could combine with any other team leader as any limb, and each leader figure had some sort of base mode, usually, with a spring-loaded vehicle launcher. All the figures could also interact with Metroplex. However, Transformers’ imminent success put Diaclone and Jizai Gattai on ice. It was Transformers’ long term success that saw these designs to completion, however. Drag Strip was invented by Kaoru Matsumoto and the US Patent, titled Reconfigurable toy vehicle (aka Transformers G1 Drag Strip) was filed on July 31, 1985 (U.S. Patent No. USD296914 S).
Drag Strip transforms into a yellow Tyrrell P34. Despite his fictional color, Drag Strip is otherwise a fairly accurate representation of the famous racer. He features a chromed panel that represents the eight exposed air intakes of the Ford-Cosworth DFV engine (which was shared in real life with the Ligier JS11 - Mirage’s alternate mode). He features plastic wheels riveted to the body (as opposed to the usual pins). The rivet heads are decorated with a concentric ring to give the appearance of hubcaps, though not accurate to any particular vehicle. Drag Strip&rsqo;s transformation is very simple. The hood rotates over his blocky head and onto his back, the chrome engine flips up to fill the cockpit as his chestplate, his feet extend from the rear of the car, and the spoiler flips up to form his feet. He can wield his pistol in his wrist (above the molded fists) in robot mode, or a large dual cannon can be attached to the back of the car to form an “Attack Car”. As a “Scramble City”-style combiner, he can also transform into any combiner’s arm or leg by connecting a hand or foot to the rear of the car and pivoting his head down, or his hood back, respectively. He typically forms Menasor’s right arm.
Drag Strip is a fairly sturdy figure, but as with all combiner limbs, care should be taken when removing his head from a combiner team leader. Paint wear on his face is almost inevitable for a Drag Strip that has ever been combined.
Drag Strip has no production variations, other than a date stamp change when production was moved to Macau.
Drag Strip was available in 1986, either individually carded, or as part of a Menasor giftset. Due to the popularity of the combiners, Drag Strip was available again in 1987, with or without a random purple Decepticon Decoy. He was available again in 1990 in Europe’s extension of G1, as part of the Classic Stunticons.
Redecos & Retools
Dead End’s mold has not been re-used, but a prototype redeco was produced for Generation 2. Several of these prototypes exist, including some sealed production mockups.