Mini vehicles

Messengers with meaning! Whatever that means. Half of 'em aren't even related to any Mail carrying.

The Mini Vehicles (also known as Mini-Autobots or Minicars) were Autobots, small, simple, and inexpensive in toy form, who kept their smaller size in their media appearances. Size notwithstanding, many had considerable abilities or armaments, the latter usually built-in, as they usually did not carry guns or fit external launchers.

In 1984, the Mini Vehicles were originally known as "Minicars". But after that year, non-car toys were added to their subgroup, and so the new, more general term was needed. Mini Vehicles were in production from 1984 to 1986. Many were redecoed or retooled from the earlier Microchange line. They generally had basic super deformed proportions in vehicle mode, since in the Microchange backstory they represented robots that became small toy cars. (Specifically, they were meant to look like Choro-Q / Penny Racer cars.)

After 1986, their place as the line's low-end price point was filled by a series of gimmick-based groups, including the Throttlebots, Triggerbots/Triggercons, and Micromaster patrols.

A popular fan-coined term for the Mini Vehicles is Minibots, which is also the Japanese name for the Mini Vehicles. Its use has eclipsed both official terms.

Members include:

1984 releases

A seventh toy was also available briefly in the early releases of the line. The toy that would eventually become known as "Bumper" did not have its own name or card, but came on either Bumblebee or Cliffjumper cards. How the hell this happened is still a mystery.

Note: The initial run of the "Mini Cars" (as they were called then) were packaged with the toys in their alternate modes, as the rest of the line's toys were. This changed to robot-mode packaging, which the assortment would retain throughout Generation One. Why this change was made is unknown.

1985 releases

The six standard Mini Cars from 1984 were made available again. ("Bumper", of course, was not.) In addition, the Mini Vehicles had bonus Mini Spies attached to the cards for a time.

Note: The vehicle-mode photos on the cardfronts could have either white or gray borders. This packaging variation exists for all 1985-version Mini Vehicles.

1986 releases

The five Mini Vehicles new to 1985 were also re-released in 1986. Bumblebee continued to ship through '86 as well, the only '84 released to do so.

Note: The initial releases of all Mini Vehicles and Special Teams in 1986 were part of a promotional campaign that featured reflective iron-on patches as part of a contest. Later in the year, packages without bonus patches were released.

1993 releases

Four Autobot 'Minibots' were re-released as vacuum-metalized versions for Generation 2.

  • Beachcomber - green chrome version of 1985 toy
  • Bumblebee - gold chrome version of 1984 toy
  • Hubcap - red chrome version of 1986 toy
  • Seaspray - violet or blue chrome version of 1985 toy

Keychain releases

In the early 2000s, four of the original mini-cars were released first by Fun4All and then by Basic Fun with little rings molded on to make them into keychains. These were released blindpacked by Takara in Japan with all-black variants.

  • Bumblebee
  • Cliffjumper
  • Windcharger
  • Brawn
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