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Western Animation / Turbo Teen

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"I'm Bret Matthews. It was a stormy night when a bolt of lightning forced me off the road! My car skidded into a government laboratory where a top-secret experiment was under way! I swerved into the path of Dr. Chase's molecular-transfer ray, causing me and my car to become one! The incredible Turbo Teen!"

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 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 Tropes:

  • 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.
    • Gets more wince-inducing when you realize that the sequence of transformation - warping hands, then feet, then dropping to all fours, then elongation of torso and expansion of face - is nearly identical to the agonizing man-to-beast transition of An American Werewolf in London.
  • 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.
  • Merging Machine: Dr. Chase's molecular beam becomes this when it merges Brett and his Car together in the freak accident the sets up the premise of the show.
  • 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.
  • Required Secondary Powers: The fusion process apparently imbued Bret's 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 Bret 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!
  • Sapient Steed: Brett, half-human, half car.
  • Super Hero: Brett, the Turbo Teen.
  • Super Hero Origin: The first episode, which shows how Bret gets fused with his car and decides to fight bad guys.
  • Token Black Friend: Alex, who is Bret's buddy and Turbo Teen's mechanic.
  • Transformation Ray: Dr. Chase's molecular beam.