The Throttlebots are a team of six Autobots, who share a common transformation scheme.
The Throttlebots are...
- Chase - eager and superficially friendly; red Ferrari Testarossa
- Freeway - thin-skinned comedian; blue Chevrolet Corvette C4
- Goldbug - rebuilt form of Bumblebee; gold Volkswagon Beetle
- Rollbar - hard-driving and macho tracker; green Jeep CJ-7
- Searchlight - quiet and reclusive scout; white Ford RS200
- Wide Load - vain and narcissistic; orange mining dump truck
(In both the original cartoon and the Marvel comics the rest of the Throttlebots are a pre-existing unit, before Goldbug is created and joins up with them. Only in the Japanese Headmasters cartoon is he ever firmly presented as a part of that team.)
- Italian name: Racerbot
Marvel Comics continuity
Note: While Bumblebee was rebuilt into the Throttlebot-themed Goldbug first, this write-up focuses on the five primary members of the group. Events from Marvel UK are in italics.
The Throttlebots were among the numerous Autobot guerrilla units on Cybertron, and led a successful campaign of fuel raids against the ruling Decepticons. However, thanks to a Decepticon Titanium-class Destruction Drone, the Throttlebots were eventually captured and brought to the Chief Decepticon Fuel Auditor Ratbat. An outbreak of Scraplets had begun on Earth, and unwilling to waste Decepticon troops, Ratbat captured them to travel there and destroy all of the infected -- or he would destroy the planet itself to prevent spread of the deadly disease.
Given new Earth-style vehicle forms and canisters of corrosive acid, the Throttlebots arrived on Earth and soon found Goldbug in the death throes of a Scraplets infection. They attempted to destroy him, but during the skirmish, Goldbug's human friend Charley Fong discovered a cure for Scraplets, the "rare chemical" water. G.B. Blackrock provided two tanker trucks full of water at the crater; but the water treatment proved ineffective when the Scraplets merged themselves into a giant monster. It did, however, allow them to heal all the affected Transformers, who disabled the creature with their weapons. The acid was then used to destroy all the remaining Scraplets.
Joining Goldbug and Blaster on their travels, the group discovered that the bodies of Galvatron and Ultra Magnus had been found. While they initially intended to let the Combaticons destroy Galvatron, they were forced to intervene to save human lives. This unfortunately attracted the wrath of the Combaticons, and they came under attack from Vortex. Blaster saw him off, but their attempts to refuel at a Blackrock gas station were blocked by a RAAT team, Rollbar being damaged during the battle. Running low on fuel and seeking a place to hide and regroup, the Throttlebots chose to stay at a used car lot. When the owner, "Big Steve" Ludwig, tried to have the damaged Rollbar towed, the Throttlebots revealed themselves to Big Steve to stop him. With a reward posted for information on the group, Big Steve promptly reported the Throttlebots to the authorities, and filled the Throttlebots' fuel tanks with soda to immobilize them. Later that night Walter Barnett arrived with a RAAT strike force to pick up the immobile Throttlebots when the Combaticons and Protectobots both arrived to take the Throttlebots themselves. Even as he began to realize that there might be two warring factions among the Transformers, Barnett ordered the Throttlebots to be towed away as the Autobot and Decepticon combiner teams attacked each other.
Taken to Triple-I, the Throttlebots were dissected, rebuilt and constantly interrogated over an increasing volume of Decepticon raids. Unwilling to believe their repeated explanations about two factions, Triple-I made a public declaration that if the raids continued they would execute their prisoners in retaliation. Eager to bump off some Autobots, the Decepticons did just that. Unable to stop his boss from carrying out the threat and realizing the Throttlebots spoke the truth, Barnett transplanted their brain modules into his young son's remote control cars, allowing the Autobots to survive and even control their new "bodies". Which was kind of handy after the Ratbat and the Predacons discovered their brain modules were missing from their trashed bodies and gave chase as Barnett sought out Buster Witwicky. Evading the Decepticons in a local mall, Barnett fled with the five original Throttlebots while Buster took Goldbug to the last known location of the Ark.
When the US Navy and Triple-I blockaded the mysterious desert island where the Decepticons were keeping Buster hostage, Barnett arrived with the still remote control car housed Throttlebots. When an Autobot turbo-transport arrived to assault the island and rescue Buster, Rollbar piped up to stop the humans attacking it.
Recovered (off-camera) from Triple-I, Optimus Prime had the five Throttlebots' bodies rebuilt stronger than before. His hope that this would be strong enough to survive the Underbase powered Starscream was a vain one, as the rogue Decepticon dispatched them before they could even transform.
As depicted in the comics, the character models for Searchlight, Chase and Freeway are constantly mixed-and-mismatched, swapping heads or color schemes. In his G2 appearance, Chase has Searchlight's head and colors. In their very first appearance, Chase is colored as Searchlight; Freeway as Chase, and Searchlight as Freeway. Amusingly, the combination of these errors and the dialog makes it appear that both Chase and Freeway are talking to themselves: "Not funny, Freeway," says the blue-colored Throttlebot.
Chase was resurrected at some point, with a new paint job, and was part of Hot Spot's team sent to capture Megatron - he was swiftly killed for the second time, right after saying "we'll fight to the death". It is unknown if the other Throttlebots were restored.
American cartoon continuity
The Throttlebots first saw action when they participated in Rodimus Prime's plan to rescue the body of Optimus Prime, only for themselves, Ultra Magnus and the Aerialbots to enter a trap and become infected by the Hate Plague. Oddly, Rollbar was mysteriously absent, but his comrades were soon cured of the disease.
By the time Optimus Prime had been firmly re-established as Autobot leader, Rollbar finally had caught up with his chums and the Throttlebots were part of the defence of Autobot City against a Decepticon raid (with varying degrees of success). They were later part of the Autobot forces that arrived on Cybertron to fight the Decepticons.
Japanese cartoon continuity
The Headmasters cartoon
They were really really stupid. During a battle, the over-eager Throttlebots sneaked off to try and deal with the Decepticon-created Metamorpho asteroid, confident that they would succeed where others failed. Their hubris proved to be their undoing, as they fell victim to its gravity-warping field. Fortunately for them, they were recovered and put back together in time to take part to the final battle on Earth between the Autobots and Decepticons. They attacked Predaking alongside the Autobot clones, but they were defeated again -as usual- and only the intervention of Pointblank saved them from being taken apart by the gestalt.
IDW comics continuity
The Throttlebots were an Autobot high-speed tactical courier unit used to safe guard top secret information. In the year following the Expanse incident they were assigned to Orvus base with the goal of ferrying away the findings of the lab hidden on the planet Salwatan VI below, should security be breached. No one counted on SixShot being the breacher, however, and the Throttlebots barely escaped. They were pursued to the planet Salwatan VIII where they detected a stray Cybertronian life sign. They attempted to find help in the abandoned city of Salwatan but were found by Sixshot. Despite an audacious plan, Chase, Freeway, Wideload, Rollbar and Goldbug were badly damaged. Searchlight was on the verge of termination by Sixshot when the enormous hand of Metroplex rose from the city and flattened the Decepticon. Sixshot fled, and though he refused to provide further assistance due to his duties, Metroplex provided the Throttlebots with energon that may have saved their lives before he departed.
The Throttlebots were first released in 1987, effectively supplanting the Mini Vehicle assortment at the $3 price point. Some versions also came with free Decoys; in fact, the Throttlebots are the only toys that could have the red Decepticon Decoys.
Each Throttlebot features a pull-back motor that pushes them along smooth surfaces in both vehicle and robot modes. Their transformations are simple, and they have no articulation whatsoever; in fact, their robot modes have panel-thin arms and no defined feet at all, instead standing on the compacted wheelbase of their vehicle mode. Their simplicity has earned the scorn of many adult fans; however, it makes them extremely durable, a definite asset when in the hands of a young child. It is very hard to break a Throttlebot.
The Throttlebots were later re-released in European markets in the early Nineties as part of the "Classics" assortment. In this release, everyone but Wide Load was retooled to remove their rubsign indent, the heat-sensitive decal proper replaced with a glossy-paper faction sigil. Wide Load kept his indent, but like the others, had his rubsign replaced.