Downshift

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Not to be confused with Downshifting, the social trend.

Downshift is the name of three fictional characters in the Transformers universes.

Transformers: Generation 1[edit]

Downshift
Downshift-g1.jpg
Generation 1 Downshift toy
Autobot
Information
Sub-group Omnibots
Function Air Defense, Security Agent
Alternate Modes Toyota Supra
Series Transformers: Generation 1

This Autobot's function is Security Agent, and he transformed into a white Toyota Supra.[1] This character never appeared in the television series, but did appear in the Generation One Dreamwave comics.

Another little-known fact is that the Omnibots were the Autobots' first "triple changers"—a talent identified more with the Autobots Tracks, Perceptor, and (until 1986) the Decepticon Triple Changers. Downshift, like Overdrive, transformed into a heavily armed, flying version of his compact sports car mode.

The original Omnibots' instruction booklets described them as such new additions to the Autobot team that no tech spec data or statistical information was available about them. This left kids and collectors able to use their imagination regarding what personalities and roles the characters would play. No hint was given at possible profiles until a 1987 mail-order catalog was published, with Ultra Magnus giving synopses of each Omnibot's function. In this mail-order pamphlet, Downshift is referred to as a "Security Agent", a title which some fans and eventually Dreamwave used as an official function.

Original show bibles discovered in 2007 revealed the biography written by Bob Budiansky. This biography describes Downshift as an Air Defense specialist. A war-weary veteran, he enjoys the planet Earth and children.[2]

The resulting Dreamwave bio described him as a serious and competent security agent, often being assigned to protect important positions. The only problem is that Downshift often sees enemy agents where there are none: as he tries to root them out he leaves what he is guarding open to Decepticon attack.

Manga[edit]

In the Transformers Manga #5 Galvatron and his Decepticons attacked the Prime Energy Tower. Galvatron ordered the Decepticons to form Menasor, Devastator and Bruticus and attack. Rodimus Prime counted this move by ordering in Superion, Omega Supreme and Defensor. Galvatron then ordered in Predaking, knowing that Sky Lynx was elsewhere and couldn't counter them. Rodimus ordered the Omnibots to attack Predaking's legs. Tripping up the giant he fell into the other Decepticon giants, winning the day for the Autobots.[3]

Dreamwave Productions[edit]

Downshift and the other Omnibots featured briefly in the second G1 miniseries from Dreamwave. He and the other Omnibots were seen lying lifelessly, victims of Menasor's rampage. They did not appear again before Dreamwave went bankrupt.

IDW Publishing[edit]

Downshift appears in the background of one panel of #1 of The Transformers: Stormbringer series from IDW Publishing.

Downshift was on the Autobot Orbital Command Hub in Spotlight: Blaster. He was present when Blaster was recovered and returned to the Autobots.

Toys[edit]

  • Generation 1 Omnibot Downshift (1985)
Originally part of the Diaclone toy line. The three Omnibot toys were offered exclusively as mail order items by Hasbro in the US, obtained by sending in collectable Robot Points off boxes plus $5 shipping. During 1985 the number of orders for Omnibots exceeded expectations by Hasbro, who extended the offer. They had nearly 50,000 orders for Camshaft alone by July.[4]

Transformers: Armada[edit]

Downshift
Downshift-dreamwave.jpg
Road Assault Downshift
Mini-Con
Information
Sub-group Race Team, Road Assault Team
Partner Dirt Boss, Mirage, Thundercracker & Dirtboss
Motto "Nothing to prove, nothing to lose." (Race Team)
There's no virtue in modesty, and no conceit in victory." (Road Assault Team)
Alternate Modes Toyota Supra
Series Transformers: Armada
Transformers: Energon
Transformers: Universe
Transformers: Cybertron

The second Transformers character to be named Downshift is a member of the Mini-Con Race Team. He transforms into a race car and combines with teammates Dirt Boss and Mirage to form the Skyboom Shield.

Dreamwave Productions[edit]

In Transformers: Armada #9-11 by Dreamwave Productions the Race Team were among the Mini-Cons survived crashing on Earth's moon. Under the leadership of Dualor they built a fortress there and defended it from an attack by Megatron, Starscream, Thrust and Cyclonus. Once Megatron overpowered the base the Mini-Cons escaped to Earth.

Downshift appeared among the Mini-Cons in issue #18 of the Transformers: Armada comic book who aided Over-Run using the Mini-Con Matrix in the defeat of Unicron.

After initially being released a repaint of the Race Team appeared a year later and was known as the Road Assault Team; the same characters only now under a Decepticon influence. His Dreamwave bio attempted to explain how this change came about, noting that in his past he had been an arrogant speed demon few could outpace. Eventually settling and becoming a more mature and focused individual alongside his comrades in Race Team, Downshift's dark competitive side still existed, being fully unleashed when the Decepticons get hold of the Skyboom Shield.

Toys[edit]

  • Armada Race Team Downshift (2002)
Part of the Race Team.[5]
The original Armada Downshift was released in 2004 as a Transformers: Universe toy, which sold individually with a "Tiny Tin".
  • Armada Road Assault Downshift (2003)
Part of the Road Assault Team.[6]
The Road Assault Mini-Con Team was repackaged with the Space Team as a discount six pack of Mini-Cons under the Energon label. These toys were identical to the Armada version.
  • Cybertron Deluxe Dirt Boss with Downshift (2005)
A recolor of Armada Mini-Con Downshift in a Tiny-Tin was released as a promotional item inside the boxes for Dirt Boss as a Wal-Mart exclusive promotion.
  • Cybertron Deluxe Thundercracker with Downshift (2005)
A recolor of Armada Mini-Con Downshift in a Tiny-Tin was released as a promotional item inside the boxes for Thundercracker as a Wal-Mart exclusive promotion.
Thundercracker's bio revealed that he had abducted Downshift, using him to boost his own power levels. However, the Mini-Con's dark side eveidently resurfaced, as he and Thundercracker now formed a loose partnership in terrorizing the Autobots on Earth for the sheer thrill of the chaos they cause.

Transformers: Energon[edit]

Downshift
Downshift-energontoy.jpg
Energon Downshift toy
Autobot
Information
Sub-group Deluxe Vehicles
Function Special Engineer
Rank 6
Motto "If I can't beat ya' in battle, I'll beat ya' on the road."
"I’ll tidy swiftly tidy this fight up." (Superlink)
Alternate Modes 1967 Plymouth Barracuda which is mixed together with a 1978 Dodge Challenger.
Series Transformers: Energon
Transformers: Universe
Transformers: Cybertron
English voice actor Ty Olsson
Japanese voice actor Makoto Yasumura

The third Downshift first appeared in the Energon toyline in 2004. Designed as an homage to the original Wheeljack (the name Wheeljack had already been applied to another character in this continuity), he transforms into a sports car. As a nod to the obvious homage, Downshift's Japanese name was Wheeljack. This character appeared in the cartoon series, where his name and that of Cliffjumper were often misapplied to the other.

This Downshift was a brave soldier who relied solely on his speed and wits to outmaneuver his Decepticon foes. While he often rushes into battle without a clear plan in battle, this flaw has been recognised by Hot Shot. The former Autobot rookie recognises these flaws that he once had, and has sworn to correct them.[7]

Animated series[edit]

Downshift appeared in the Transformers: Energon series as one of the inexperienced soldiers sent into the rift caused by the collision of Unicron's head with his body under the command of Bulkhead and alongside his firiend Cliffjumper. They eventually succeeded, and brought Optimus Prime's team back to the normal universe. In the final battle, he gave his spark energy to empower Optimus Supreme against the Unicron possessed Galvatron.

Dreamwave Productions[edit]

In the Energon comic series, Downshift appeared as part of Jetfire's team of reinforcements that headed to Earth to battle the Terrorcon invasion. He was part of the team that battled the Terrorcon clones in Moscow, but was bailed out by a surprising source - Megatron, resurrected in a new body by Prime, who decimated the Terrorcon attack.

Transformers: Universe[edit]

A slightly recolored version of the Energon Downshift toy was available in 2005 exclusively at Kay Bee Toy Stores as part of the Transformers: Universe line, and appeared in the official Hasbro Transformers Fan Club exclusive Transformers: Cybertron comic book.

Although labeled as part of the Transformers: Universe line, the box style, storyline and co-sells presented for Universe Downshift were directly from the Transformers: Cybertron line.

His Universe bio revealed he stayed behind on the black hole threatened Cybertron at the instruction of Optimus Prime himself to guard the entrances to the energon shafts of Iacon city - and by extension the core of the planet itself. Though daunting, the mission suits this veteran loner perfectly. Ironically this contradicts the later bio for the Cybertron Downshift.

Transformers: Cybertron[edit]

Cybertron’s Downshift is an original toy by Hasbro and does not appear in Transformers: Galaxy Force toy line or its cartoon series, which was dubbed into English to become Transformers: Cybertron (this version turns into a Buick Gran Sport).

In 2006 a special edition of Downshift was available in Walmart stores which contained a DVD with the episode "Cybertron" as a promotional item—despite the fact that he wasn't in that episode.

His bio revealed that Hot Shot's tutoring, mentioned in his Energon toy bio, had indeed paid off. Once an immulsive racer, he was now a much more mature and balanced individual. He now weighs up his options before entering into battle, using his speed and agility wisely to take down even the largest opponents. His Cyber Key data, found on the Hasbro website somewhat oddly revealed that he had been partnered with a Female Transformer prior to leaving Cybertron, similar to Earth marriage. Separated when leaving Cybertron, they reunited back on Earth, and eventually stayed behind on Earth after Galvatron was defeated. (A design sketch of his alternate mode is also included, showing a rear isometric view with rear taillights resembling those on a 1970 Dodge Charger.)

Confusion over alternate mode[edit]

A deal of confusion is brought about by collectors and fans assuming, or trying to figure out what real-world vehicle Downshift resembles. While Cybertron's Crosswise clearly resembles a Bugatti Veyron, Downshift seems to be an amalgamation of a few muscle cars from the 1970-74 era. The following cars can be seen as inspiration for his vehicle mode:

Vehicle Part
Rear
Front End
Side Panels
Roof
Make/Model 1967 Plymouth Barracuda 1967 Plymouth Barracuda 1967 Plymouth Barracuda/1978 Dodge Challenger 1978 Dodge Challenger
  • The 1968-1970 Plymouth Roadrunner shared various features (as well as its chassis) with the famous 1968-70 Dodge Charger, so both could also be cited as the source of the car's rear and front ends.
  • Actually the car as a whole is closest to the 1968 Plymouth GTX. The front end much more closely resembles the GTX's vs. the 'Cuda's.
  • Several muscle cars from the 1970s shared the same hoodscoop design found on Downshift. Most prominently the Dodge Mopar designs.

Fun Publications[edit]

Downshift also made a number of appearances in the Hasbro Club Collector's comic. His appearance here was faithful to the bio laid down for his Universe incarnation, as he guarded the tunnels leading to the core of Cybertron. Unfortunately an attack by Nemesis Prime proved too much for him, and the deranged Herald of Unicron almost killed him. Rebuilt in a new body that transformed into an Earth car - his Cybertron toy - he went on to take part in the Mini-Con civil war, and was one of those that received Optimus Prime's party bearing word of Vector Prime's death.[8]

Toys[edit]

  • Energon Downshift (2004)
A homage to Generation 1 Wheeljack.[9]
  • Universe Downshift (2005)
A redeco of Energon Downshift.[10]
  • Cybertron Downshift (2006)
Initially sold individually.
A value 2-pack repackaging Cybertron Downshift and Cannonball in Transformers: Universe packaging was first seen online in September 2007, called "Search For The Pirate Moon".[11]
This toy was later redecoed into movie Big Daddy.

Shattered Glass[edit]

Downshift
Downshift-sg.jpg
Shattered Glass Downshift
Autobot
Information
Function Scout
Alternate Modes Toyota Supra

Downshift is a mirror universe duplicate of the Generation 1 character. He is one of Optimus Prime's evil Autobots. His physical appearance is based on Generation 1 Downshift in the colors of Generation 1 Reflector.

Fun Publications[edit]

Downshift appeared as a member of the Autobots in the story Do Over by Fun Publications. He was part of an Autobot team led by Kup.[12]

Downshift appeared in the story Reunification by Fun Publications. He investigated an unusual energy readying at Alpha Trion's abandoned lab, only to be ambushed and stabbed by Alpha Trion.

Transformers: Reveal the Shield[edit]

Downshift
Autobot
Information
Sub-group Scouts
Alternate Modes Ford Model B hot rod
Series Transformers: Reveal the Shield

Toys[edit]

  • Reveal the Shield Scout Downshift (canceled)
A black/yellow redeco of Hubcap from the 2010 movie toy line.


References[edit]