1986 saw the final wave of Mini Vehicle, though their supply of previous Takara designs was exhausted. Hubcap transforms into a super-deformed Porsche 944 Carrera GT. The Carrera GT was a special racing-homologation model, revealed even in Hubcap’s unfortunate proportions by the four small rectangular inlets on the front edge of his hood. The square tops to his rear fenders distinguish him from the very similar 924 model.
Hubcap was retooled (and slightly redecorated) from G1 Cliffjumper. Hubcap was based on the Porsche 924 design by Hideaki Yoke. Hubcap’s US Patent, titled Reconfigurable toy vehicle (aka Transformers G1 Hubcap) was filed on October 4, 1985 (U.S. Patent No. USD295302 S).
Hubcap has chrome wheels shod in Dunlop-branded rubber tires, which he shares with the actual Takara Penny Racers (sold in the US as Tonka Turbo Tricksters). His arms pull out to the sides, allowing his hood and front fenders to be pulled down to form his feet, and lastly folds open his head from the rear of the vehicle. He is primarily molded in the same shade of yellow as 1984 Cliffjumper and Bumblebee, often leading to confusion between Hubcap and Cliffjumper. Hubcap is identifiable by his lack of a raised rear spoiler, and his bright orange-painted face.
Date stamp location: under hood of vehicle (bottom of robot feet)
Rubsign location: center of roof
Unfortunately, Hubcap still shares several design weaknesses with his predecessors. His feet are attached by thin plastic hooks on either side of an ankle pin. If his feet are pulled in the wrong direction, or too hard, these hooks can break. His head hinge can wear easily, causing his head to droop back or fall forward back into the car. The internal pins connecting his arms can break or become disjointed, leaving him both armless and without wheels. Additionally, pushing Hubcap’s arms in when they are misaligned can stress or bend the produding corners of his rear fenders. Many specimens may have minor stressmarks in this area.
Hubcap does not have any domestic production variations. His stampings and other traits correspond to the same changes made to the Type 5 version of Bumblebee, indicating that the actual Type 3b Cliffjumper mold was modified to create Hubcap - leading to years of confused identity between the two, including Generation 2, where Hubcap was released in chrome red - an obvious reference to his more popular former identity. Hubcap was also released in China during their early 1990s production of G1, again matching the changes made to the parallel Bumblebee mold.
Type 1 With rubsign, "創作・著作物 ©Takara Co. Ltd. [BLOCK]-1983 Japan 1985 ©Hasbro [BLOCK]1983-1985" stamp, square head hinges, smooth ankles, straight front bumper
Type 1CN With rubsign, "[BLOCK] ©Hasbro [BLOCK]1983-1985", square head hinges, smooth ankles, straight front bumper, lighter yellow
Hubcap was available worldwide in 1986. He was available in the US from 1986 through 1988 as a mail-away exclusive, although he was consistently incorrectly listed in the fliers as Cliffjumper. During the early wave of 1986 in the US, Hubcap was available with a random one of ten iron-on character patches.
Case Assortments (Item#/Asst#): Early 1986: Mini Vehicles Asst. 3 with Prizes in Disguise Patch (5909/5711.05), 3 per 24; late 1986: Mini Vehicles Asst. 3 (5909/5711), 3 per 24
Mail-Order Price: $4 and 1 Robot Point (1986), $3.50 and 1 Robot Point (1987-88) OR $4.25 and 0 Robot Points (1987)
Packaging: Blister card with instructions and Tech Spec on back
Robot Points: ½ Autobot
Paperwork included: iron-on patch with “Prizes in Disguise” entry form (early 1986), “Look Inside for a Special Offer!” (late 1986), instructions with b/w tech specs (mail-away)
Redecos & Retools
Hubcap was released in Generation 2, using a vacuum-metalized red deco, but still bearing his distinctive orange face.