AskDefine | Define downshift

User Contributed Dictionary



From down + shift


  1. To shift a transmission into a lower gear.
  2. To function at a lower rate.

Extensive Definition

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

Transformers: Generation 1

This Autobot's function is Security Agent, and he transformed into a white Toyota Supra. 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.
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.

Dreamwave Productions

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

Downshift appears in the background of one panel of #1 of the The Transformers: Stormbringer series from IDW Publishing. It is unknown whether this was just a cameo appearance or if he might appear again, as the series is still ongoing.


  • Generation 1 Downshift (1985)
In the original Transformers toyline, Downshift is the name of one of the three Omnibots, a group of toys available only by mail-order in 1985.

Transformers: Armada

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

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.


  • Transformers: Armada Downshift (2002)
Part of the Race Team.
  • Transformers: Armada Downshift redeco (2003)
Part of the Road Assault Team.
  • Transformers: Universe Downshift (2004)
The original Armada Downshift was released as a Transformers: Universe toy, which sold individually with a "Tiny Tin".
  • Transformers: Energon Downshift
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.
  • Transformers: Cybertron Downshift (2005)
A recolor of Armada Mini-Con Downshift in a Tiny-Tin was released as a promotional item inside the boxes for Thundercracker and Dirt Boss as a Wal-Mart exclusive promotion. While this seemed like a novel way to keep Mini-Cons in the Unicron Trilogy toy and story lines, neither Cybertron’s Dirt Boss, nor Thundercracker had Mini-Con powerlink points on them. In fact, Mini-Con powerlink points would not return to larger Transformers until some figures released during the 2005 post-Christmas season were released.
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

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.

Animated series

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

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

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

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

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:
  • 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.
  • Several muscle cars from the 1970's shared the same hoodscoop design found on Downshift. Most prominently the Dodge Mopar designs.

Fun Publications

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.


  • Transformers: Energon Downshift (2004)
A homage to Generation 1 Wheeljack.
  • Transformers: Universe Downshift (2005)
A redeco of Energon Downshift.
  • Transformers: 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".
This toy was later redecoed into movie Big Daddy.


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