Turbo Teen was an Animated Series created by Ruby-Spears that aired Saturday mornings on the ABC Network for twelve episodes between 1984 and 1985. The visual design was developed by comic book great, Jack Kirby. The series was once rerun on the USA Network's now-defunct USA Cartoon Express block.
The series is about a teenager named Brett Matthews, who swerves off a road during a thunderstorm and crashes into a secret government laboratory. There, he and his red sports car are accidentally exposed to a molecular beam invented by Dr. Chase and the two become fused together. As a result, Brett has the ability to morph into the car when exposed to extreme heat, and reverts back into his human form when exposed to extreme cold. With this ''amazing'' new super hero power, Brett and his friends (who call him "TT") go on crime fighting adventures and thwart evildoers. As a subplot, Brett constantly searches for a way to return back to normal with the help of the scientists responsible for this.
A reoccurring villain is the mysterious, unseen "Dark Rider", who drives a monster truck and seeks to capture TT to find the secret behind his abilities.
The concept of a person changing forms when the temperature changes isn't unheard of but this show predates Ranma ½ by several years. It was very likely influenced by Knight Rider, as the car looks a lot like the Pontiac Trans-Am used for KITT.
Turbo Teen provides examples of:
- Black Best Friend: Alex the mechanic.
- Blessed With Suck: Some of Brett's transformations occur at very bad moments.
- Body Horror: The transformation sequence from boy to car. They show everything.
- Car Fu: Turbo Teen's capabilities include driving sideways on his wheels, spinning around and jumping on one wheel, launching himself at a helicopter and grabbing on, opening and closing his hood to pick things up and use them, and many more.
- Cool Car: The car looks like a slick, red Pontiac Trans-Am.
- Epic Race: The "Daredevil Run" from the eponymous episode, a cross-country road race the crew enters to transport an eyewitness to the case she's to testify in. Oddly enough, the episode in question is not a Whole Plot Reference to The Cannonball Run.
- Freak Lab Accident: Those darn molecular rays hitting poor teenagers.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Brett is working with scientists to reverse the transformation inflicted on him.
- New Super Power: Brett struggles with his power when near heat sources and tries his best to figure out all the functions of his new form.
- Opening Narration: "It was a stormy night when a bolt of lightning forced me off the road..."
- Required Secondary Powers: The fusion process apparently imbued his car form with a small supercomputer to house his mind. That's not snark—in car form, he was essentially KITT.
- Shapeshifting: Usually of the Involuntary variety. The closest he could do to Voluntary Shapeshifting was to intentionally expose himself to heat or cold, respectively.
- In one episode, he wakes up in car form and somehow gets into the bathroom and turns on a cold shower to turn himself back into a human!
- Super Hero: Brett, the Turbo Teen.
- Super Hero Origin: The first episode, which shows how Brett got fused with his car and decided to fight bad guys.