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Transformers’ Bumblebee: Through the Years

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Transformers' Bumblebee Camaro

The latest film in the Transformers saga, Transformers: Age of Extinction, is set to release on June 27, just slightly more than a week from today. Before you settle into the sticky chairs of the theatre with a seven-gallon container of butter and some popcorn, however, it might be fun to take a look back at Transformers’ Bumblebee, the Autobot hero of the series and the largest inspiration for the rebirth of the Chevy Camaro.

Transformers’ Bumblebee

Transformers’ Bumblebee

Transformers’ Bumblebee and other Autobots have been crucial to Chevy’s success in recent years. According to chief marketing officer, Global Chevrolet, Tim Mahoney, “In all the Transformers films, Chevrolet vehicles get to play the heroes. These movies have helped us get our vehicles in front of a younger audience around the world.”

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“Being a part of the Transformers franchise is an incredible way to showcase the design work of which GM is capable,” Ed Welburn, vice president of GM Global Design, added. “The global series gets our cutting-edge designs in front of more potential customers than we could through traditional methods.”

Let’s take a look back at the first three installments of that franchise and ahead to the next one, and track just how Bumblebee has transformed (ha) over the years, and the Camaro along with it.

Transformers (2007)

The 2007 film marked the rebirth of the Camaro as we know it. While Bumblebee starts out as an old, rundown 1977 second-gen Camaro, he goes on to become an all-new fifth-generation Camaro, two years before the pony car returned to the market in its fifth generation. That meant that, to build Transformers’ Bumblebee, Chevy had to design a running concept just for the movie.

Transformers' Bumblebee Camaro

To be fair, Chevy was able to use the same molds that we saw on the 2006 Camaro Concept, which made the auto show rounds the year before. But it was partly because of the film that Chevy was able to be so confident in the re-launch of this muscle classic.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

The franchise’s second installment, Revenge of the Fallen, was released just months after the first iteration of the fifth-gen Camaro hit the market. Thus, the film featured a modified production version for Bumblebee, with signature black rally stripes on the hood and trunk deck lid, as well as a custom front bumper and mailslot hood.

Transformers' Bumblebee Camaro

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

Transformers’ Bumblebee got a considerable upgrade for the third film to the SS model. The color was updated as well to a more amber hue. In addition, Bumblebee took on darker wheels and a new paint scheme.

Transformers' Bumblebee Camaro

Transformers' Bumblebee Camaro

Transformers' Bumblebee Camaro

Transformers' Bumblebee Camaro

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

And of course, in the latest chapter of the saga, Bumblebee is getting another new and exciting update. Michael Bay requested that Bumblebee be made to “look more aggressive and muscular.” The North Hollywood Design Center took on the challenge, giving Transformers’ Bumblebee a new front fascia and bulked up sides. According to Chevy, these design cues transport the Camaro to years down the road, so pony car fans should be taking note during the film if they’re interested in what could become of the classic.

Bumblebee will be assisted by several other Chevys as well. Crosshairs will be played by an Allspark Green Tin Corvette Stingray, and they will be joined by a Chevy Sonic rally car. In addition, a Trax, which was just revealed for the U.S. market in New York, will join the team.

Chevy also notes that several GM facilities were used for settings for the fourth film, including the Milford, Michigan, Proving Ground; the GM Design Center; and the Lansing, Michigan, Delta Township Assembly Plant.

Don’t miss out on the adventure when Transformers’ Bumblebee hits the big screens once more next Friday.

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