All Michael Bay’s Transformer movies were a smash hit because of lots of action and amazing CGI, but the cars themselves were also a huge part of it. Between all the interesting engine-driven machines pictured in the series, hardly any of them is as recognizable as the Bumblebee.
The Bumblebee is based on the legendary Chevy Camaro, and with every movie came a new Bumblebee Camaro. A few years back, all four Camaro Bumblebee cars were sold at an auction for $500k, which might not seem like a lot, but that is because all four of these are not street legal.
The first generation Bumblebee starred in the 2007 Transformers and the following sequel, Revenge of the Fallen. The second-generation Bumblebee was introduced in 2010 which appeared in the Dark of the Moon film. These two generations look fairly similar.
The third generation Bumblebee was a 2013 redesign Camaro made to look like the 2016 serial production model. The fourth and final Bumblebee Camaro was used in the 2016 film The Last Knight. Chevy did this to promote the 2019 model Camaro which looked almost identical to the movie car.
1st gen Bumblebee Camaro – The original
The first Transformers movie aired back in 2007, and the first iteration of the Bumblebee Camaro is arguably the most iconic one. This Camaro model was later released as a serial production 5th generation Camaro, and thanks to the movie, this model was a smash hit with record-breaking sales.
The movie starts with an old and rusty 1977 Camaro which later transforms into the now beloved 5th gen Camaro. Only in 2009 did Chevy eventually release the 5th generation Camaro to the public, which means that the original Bumblebee was in development for quite some time.
This Camaro model was based on the 2006 Camaro Concept, but the underpinnings were actually based on the Holden Monaro. This was necessary for performance reasons as the Camaro Concept was only just a concept at the time.
As such, the original Bumblebee became iconic, and almost everyone knew that this Camaro model is likely to become a future classic. Between a large number of movie-famous cars, this yellow muscle car is certainly one of the most iconic.
2nd generation Bumblebee Camaro – A worthy successor
Before the second generation Bumblee was introduced, Chevy decided to use a modified production version of the first Camaro for the Revenge of the Fallen sequel. The sequel came out only a few months after the public release of the 5th Camaro which further boosted the sales.
However, for the 2011 Dark of the Moon film, Chevy decided to upgrade the Bumblebee to the SS spec. This version of the Bumblebee sported a similar, but different yellow which was more akin to an amber hue rather than a flat yellow as its predecessor.
Other changes included a set of newer sporty black wheels, black side mirrors, and a set of painted black stripes running along with the hood. This version of the Camaro was quite a bit more streamlined, yet aggressive, and many people believe that this version is the best-looking one.
3rd and 4th gen Bumblebee Camaro models – A significant departure from the original
The third car was a lot different when compared to its predecessors with a more modern-looking front and rear end. This version also rocked a more aggressive body kit all around the car, and a set of new wheels with tire writing.
This Bumblebee Camaro is based on a concept for the post 5th generation Camaro model, which further reiterates the fact that Chevy cleverly used the Transformers franchise to market all the upcoming Camaro models.
The last Camaro model is undoubtedly the most aggressive one yet. Sporting a crazy aero kit this Camaro looks more like a track car than a muscle car. This generation was also basically the next serial production Camaro as well, just like all its predecessors.
No matter which Camaro generation you think is the best, all of these models did very well as far as sales are concerned. Nowadays, the Chevy Camaro is slowly becoming less and less popular due to controversial design decisions, and this can play in favor of all the preceding models.
How much did the Bumblebee collection sell for?
Back in 2019, all four Bumblebee Camaro models sold for a reported $500k. This might not seem as much for four movie-famous cars, but the reason why they didn’t fetch even more is that they are not street legal, and as such, these can only be driven on a track.
However, no one wants to risk damaging a movie car on a track day, and it is more than likely that all four of these will never see any driving. As such, these are only valuable to people with car collections and lots of money. If they were street legal, chances are that the auction price would be considerably higher.
Why was Bumblebee a Camaro, and not a VW Beetle?
The original series depicts a yellow WV Beetle named Bumblebee, but the rumor has it that Michael Bay thought that the VW Beetle was way too similar to Herbie, and he wanted to change that. In addition to that, Chevy agreed to write up a huge check if the Camaro was to be used as Bumblebee.
In retrospect, Chevy made the right choice as the Transformers franchise was essential for promoting all the newer Camaro models. In the future, the VW Beetle just might make a comeback as Bumblebee per one of the movie’s producers.
What is the best Chevy Camaro of all time?
Choosing the best Camaro of all time is rather difficult, but it seems that the 1969 Camaro ZL1 is the very best Camaro out of them all. Thanks to a stunning design, a long legacy, and a thunderous L88 427 big block engine, the 69 Camaro reigns supreme as the undisputed Camaro champ.
This version of the Camaro offered 430hp which was a huge number back in 1969. Besides the engineering flex, this version was also limited to just 69 units which made the 69 Camaro an incredibly valuable car.