• Sep 25, 2006
That the Autobot better known as Bumblebee will take the shape of a Camaro (both old and new) in the Transformers film is old news. Other than a few on-set pics, including some showing a Camaro concept curiously sporting a Saleen license plate, not much else was known about the car.
Well, Hot Rod magazine visited the set and got the full skinny on Bumblebee, and it's all very interesting. In a feature named "Flight of the Bumblebee" in Hot Rod's November '06 issue (on newsstands now) , we learn that GM, who had a good working relationship with Michael Bay already, opened up the "skunk works" (Bay's words) to the director, who immediately decided he wanted the new Camaro in the film.

The problem was that there were no new Camaros available to be used for filming. The only two in existence were on the auto show circuit, and of those, only one was a runner (the silver one), and it was in no way prepared to handle the rigors of real stunt driving. For the production, new Camaros would have to be created.

Enter Saleen, who was brought on board to build the cars. Saleen has done this kind of thing before: they created the Shelby Cobra Concepts used in the Ice Cube actioner, XXX: State of the Union. GM decided that the Pontiac GTO would be the best candidate to act as a base vehicle for the film's Camaros, and they provided two of the Pontiacs, all the relevant specifications, as well as two fiberglass Camaro bodies made from the concept car molds. Then, the team from Saleen went to work.

(Keep reading after the jump)

[Source: Hot Rod magazine]


They cut off the GTO's bodywork, reinforced the chassis and built a tube frame around the passenger compartment. They attached the new bodies and pretty much created all the customized Camaro interior and trim pieces from scratch using fiberglass (even the rims and brake discs are fiberglass copies mounted on steel wheels). The end result is that they had a pair of cars that on film look exactly like the concept Camaro, but have the driveability of the production GTO. It took under 45 days for Saleen to complete both cars. .

We love how much trickery and sleight-of-hand went into making Bumblebee. After all, the Transformers tagline is "More than meets the eye."

Go get yourself the November '06
Hot Rod (subscribe) for the full story, including pictures of the build and a great shot of Bumblebee vaporizing his rear tires (sneak peek above) at the behest of writer Randy Lorentzen, who was behind the wheel. That little stunt got Hot Rod booted off the studio lot by a Teamster. We're guessing it was totally worth it.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      This headline totally confused me, i was thinking, "Wait, Hot Rod is going to be in the movie? Is he going to become Rodimus Prime in the sequel?"
      • 8 Years Ago
      #2,
      Don't take this the wrong way, but none of the reasons you've cited are valid excuses for a loyal Camaro owner to jump ship. Sounds like you're already a Ford guy in denial.
      Hell, as a long time GM/Chevy owner, I would love for Saleen to jump into the fold and do some production applications for cars like the Camaro, GTO, Impala, Cobalt and Vette.
      • 8 Years Ago
      What a sham! As a long time Chevy/GM owner I think GM is pathetic for bringing the "new" Camaro to the '06 Int'l Auto Show, then letting Saleen use the GTO to recreate Camaros for this film. Its pure fantasy...you can go over to Ford and buy a Mustang at your local Ford dealer. Now THATS reality. Oh, so now they are going to build the Camaro...in '08 or 09??? And they chose a CANADIAN GM plant to produce it! Thats enough to make me puke and become a Ford man!
      • 8 Years Ago
      >I am pretty annoyed that it looks like only GM vehicles are appearing in the movie. Guess GM's marketroids are ahead of the game. Sorta.

      Apparently, one of the Decepticons is a Mustang:

      http://www.autoblog.com/2006/06/01/camaro-and-mustang-do-battle-in-transformers-the-movie/
      • 8 Years Ago
      A Ford Mustang, _dressed_ like a cop car, will appear on the film too... ;)
      • 8 Years Ago
      biff you are an idiot the last camaro was made in Canada, why didn't you become a Ford man then jackass?
      David H
      • 8 Years Ago
      Yea Camaros have been made in canada atleast since the 90's I own a 95 it says made by gm canada so stop ranting and get your facts straight before you make yourself look stupid.
      • 8 Years Ago
      THATS A LOT OF RESPECT TO GET SALEEN TO WANT TO COME OVER TO THEIR SO CALL DARK SIDE BUT WHO WOULDNT LIKE TO IMPROVE A MOTOR THAT ACTUALLY MAKES RAW POWER FROM THE FACTORY. THE ONLY REASON STANGS CAN KEEP UP ANYMORE IS CAUSE OF SALEEN SUPERCHARGERS... I PITY ALL FORD GUYS IF SALEEN STARTS ADDING MORE POWER TO LS SERIES ENGINES IT JUST WONT BE FAIR.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Kirk, VW has repeatedly declined Hasbro rights to the New Beetle design for the Transformers line, since they are "war toys". I'd infer that that extends to the movie version.

      Nobody tell VW's brass about the Kublewagen. Their secret might get out!

      I am pretty annoyed that it looks like only GM vehicles are appearing in the movie. Guess GM's marketroids are ahead of the game. Sorta.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think its dope that bumblebee gets to be a camaro and if saleen jumps into makin camaros ill be in heaven, if youre a real fan you'll realize that saleen teamin with GM will do some real damage to the mustang in the future not to mention the power that they'll put out