No, this is not an elaborate April Fools' joke. But it is something straight out of the 80s — literally.
The 80s produced some great karaoke music, bad hairstyles and questionable fashion pieces. Of course, the most influential pop culture artifact to emerge from the decade of big hair and Trapper Keepers is the Transformer. The Transformers have grown up a bit over the last 30 years (now you feel old, don’t you?). What were once children’s cartoons and comic books have become a major movie franchise and even — believe it or not — artwork.
The original Transformer toys could change from cars to robots and back to cars again. Some farmers in the Shandong province of China have taken that idea and made it reality. If you ever venture away from Utah or any other state to the Shandong province, be on the lookout for towering robots littering the farmlands.
Optimus Prime towers over the field as the leader of the Autobots. Made entirely of used cars and car parts, the signature red and blue Transformer is merely a hobby of Wang Shizun. He told AFP Relaxnews that he watched the Transformers movies and found models online. From there he decided to make his own real-life Transformers from used cars. Quite appropriate considering how the Transformers began.
The Transformers haunting the farmlands of Shandong are more than just a statuesque tribute to the movie franchise, though. The characters actually have eyes that light up and arms and legs that move. Any 80s kid or action/sci-fi geek would love the sight of that.
The tallest of the Transformers is nearly 40 feet tall so mobility beyond arm and leg movements might be limited as well as terrifying. Not only can they not move around or fly from China to Utah, but they cannot actually transform. Wang told AFP that he and his staff of 11 other farmers are considering making the Transformers transform — but they would have to create all new forms because the current figures would not be able to get aback to their original used car form.
To see some photos of the giant real life Transformers, check out this YouTube video. Maybe you will be able to create your own right at home in Utah. Freak out your neighbors, impress your friends, or save the world from an ancient robotic alien race. It’s up to you how you decide to transform your used cars. Just don’t tell your parents you got the idea from me; let’s just blame it on the 80s.
Katie Alvarez, a writer for Fusion 360 in Utah, contributed to this report. She writes content for Open Book Auto and many other businesses in Salt Lake City.